Labor will end the phoney war on cyclists.
Despite naming his new cycling package “Go Together,” the Roads Minister Duncan Gay has opened a new battle in the phoney war between cyclists and motorists.
The people of NSW might expect our Roads Minister to be an impartial defender of everyone’s right to access our tax-payer funded roads, however, the reality is he has unashamedly been on one side of a divide that he’s done his very best to widen.
This is a Roads Minister who refers to himself as the “biggest bike-lane sceptic in the government.”
True to his word, he tore up the popular College Street cycleway. He deferred the construction of new cycleways and appears to revel in pitting different road users against one another, creating rhetorical divisions that put people’s lives at risk.
Roads are there to be shared and we need a Roads Minister that understands that.
We also need a Roads Minister that recognises different road users need different infrastructure to safely and fairly access our roads. After all, that’s why we have pedestrian crossings and footpaths and traffic lights – to protect pedestrians who are significantly more vulnerable than those travelling at high speeds in solid metal boxes.
But this package isn’t about building new cycling infrastructure, nor is it about improving cyclist safety. So what is it about?
Asking adult cyclists to carry identification might seem like no big deal, but the fact is it appears to be policy made in the absence of evidence.
Similarly, the increased fines for cyclists are arbitrary and unfair.
The Government’s support of the Metre Matters trial is a positive step and will undoubtedly save lives, but Minister Gay’s other measures are ad-hoc, inexplicable and based in no evidence whatsoever.
Mr Gay has missed the point.
We know that the best thing we can do to improve cyclist safety is to encourage more people to ride. That will take separated bike lanes and a properly integrated cycling network. It also requires a Government that understands and appreciates the benefits of cycling, whether it is improving public health, helping the environment or reducing congestion on our streets. It’ll take a Government that stops dividing road users.
Instead of blatant revenue raising, Labor would instead be focused on building the cycling infrastructure that we need.
We’ll also build the GreenWay in the Inner West and Rail Trails in regional NSW. We’ll work to educate road users about their mutual responsibility for the safety of others and we’ll do the best thing a Government can to curtail bad behaviour by cyclists – we’ll build cycleways to get riders off footpaths and out of the way of cars.
Labor isn’t in the business of pitting cyclists against motorists in a phoney war.
We understand that everyone has a choice about how to get around and that Government has an obligation to make the roads safe for everyone, whether they choose to drive a car, walk, or ride a bike.
The Roads are there to be shared. This latest package was delivered by a Minister that will never understand that.