Election and cycling: what's being offered and what shoud be offered?

What we are asking for?

BISA's 5 proposals to kick start growth in cycling in SA:
1. Invest $75 million each year for 4 years to fund priority cycle infrastructure
2. Complete SA bike riders’ Top 10 infrastructure priorities by 2022 (with councils)
3. Directly fund the Metropolitan LGA’s Cycling Strategy, and direct $10 million per year to local bicycle infrastructure
4. Commit a yearly budget to improve the safety of cyclists on DPTI roads
5. Delegate a DPTI ‘program’ to active transport. FUND it and REPORT on it

For all the detail, including why we came at $75 million, have a read of our letter to the political parties


What are your thoughts? Agree or have other ideas?

What have the parties committed to so far?


- have responded to our proposals and offered no support for any of BISA's 5 proposals. 

- Cycling - to increase bike cages at public transport stops. A group advocating for cycle park and ride has asked for $5.5 million. Labour has committed to invest $350,000.

 - Vehicles - Under Jobs not transport they have committed $1.3 billion investment for 7 grade separations of rail and road. Cost for one separation is approx. $200 million.

- Public transport - Committed to extend city tram network and reduce the cost of public transport

- Vehicles - will subsidise electric car purchases by removing rego and stamp duty for period of time

 - no complete cycling or transport policy released



- No response received yet

- Cycling - committed to 'the great Southern Railway' to connect Adelaide and Melbourne for tourism. No detail on the type of trail (looks like it travels on existing major roads?) however, very interesting it would include a access for bikes over the Goolwa Barages. Also Includes tourism loops in areas on the way that would help with local riding https://strongplan.com.au/policy/great-southern-bike-trail/. No costings provided.

- Cycling - Would support legislation to allow left turn on red light in certain circumstances

- Vehicles/Freight - Committed to develop business case to finish north/south corridor to gain Commonwealth funding. No costings provided however the Darlington upgrade cost $620 million, Torrens to Torrens $801 million. Would expect total for final 3 sections to exceed $3 billion.

 - Freight - Committed to develop freight corridor around Adelaide hills. Could help reduce truck traffic in the city, which is good for riders.

 - Vehicles - want to increase rural road speeds back to 110kms/hr where they have been dropped to 100km/hr

 - No complete cycling or transport policy released


The Greens

- have responded to our proposals and support all 5 BISA initiatives. They have also offered support after the election to help achieve these reforms.

 - have a costed cycle policy that includes a significant increase in funding to cycle infrastructure https://greens.org.au/sa/policies/cycling

 - have a developed transport policy https://greens.org.au/sa/policies/transport

 - have a developed walking policy https://greens.org.au/sa/policies/walkability

Dignity party:

 - Support our 5 proposals and are willing to meet to discuss post the election

SA best:

- responded and are committing to cycle infrastructure improvements in the Unley area. more info to follow. Also said they would ensure DPTI considers cycle needs in all infrastructure development. Will also push for the Mike Turtur bridge to be completed.

- cycling - has said he would support finishing the Amy Gillett bikeway 

- Vehicles - Improve Rural Roads -  Increase the share of arterial road maintenance budget to address the backlog of rural road repair and, in consultation with local authorities, reverse speed limit reductions on country roads. https://sabest.org.au/state-policies/renewing-our-regions

- No other transport policy released

More to come - still to work out all other parties contesting the election

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Peter, the reason I find it good to disagree with (smart) people is that it makes me think harder :-)... so,

A quick google search in English proved my point of the 'separate paths brigade'. All the results that came up were local stuff that advocate the need for more or better cycling infrastructure. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king...

So, I used "locatie fiestongevallen" which as you know is Dutch for 'location cycling accidents'. This would, and did, give me results from The Netherlands (i.e. cycling mekka), and the Flemish part of Belgium. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=locatie+fietsongevallen&ei=a...

I've popped links into google translate so you should be able to read through them

Basic data for Flanders/Brussels. https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&a...

2 links that reference government reports on the topic, one Dutch, one Belgian. They both do and do not back up my opinion.

Belgium: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&am...

The Netherlands (despite the country's reputation for cycling, 1 in 4 traffic fatalities is a cyclist): https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&am...

These are the links to the entire reports in pdf, which google can't translate



OK so here's what I take from these articles.

Article #1 (Brussels) (site is a very new radio station; reads more like an opinion piece): Has a graph showing bicycle use and number of bicycle accidents going up from ~2013. However it points out that the ratio (accidents per usage) is going down. It draws the conclusion: "The explanation is simple: the more cyclists, the more alert the other road users are. This has little to do with the presence or absence of cycling infrastructure."

Article #2 (Belgium) (looks like the results from a government report): lots of bicycle accident data, e.g. about 1/2 of accidents are at intersections; "mixed" (car+bike) roads are the safest, though it notes that might be because of the low speeds. Its main recommendation appears to be "Choose as much as possible for separate cycle paths, but pay attention to the construction at intersections".

Article #3 (Netherlands) (appears to be a news article about a government report): "Almost 190 cyclists die every year in the Netherlands. That is a quarter of all fatalities in the Netherlands. In fact, more than half of the serious road injuries are cyclists (55%)". And a few other stats, but no recommendations, only questions. (There might be more info in the links).

Unless I've misread article #2, I don't see anything against separated paths, though article #2 believes that the intersection of paths and roads is critical.

If anyone else is interested, the 2nd article (the Belgium one) is especially worth a read, because it appears to have gone over a lot of detailed accident data.

Peter, a lot may have been lost in translation, I didn't look in much detail at the English pages. I did note on the #2, the Police report, that I would have translated the first recommendation different (i.e. they recommended untangling the different mode of transport, haven't read the entire report yet so I'm not sure what that looks like in reality).

Article #1, whether it was or wasn't a new radio station is something I didn't pay attention to, but it was more an overview of a report than an opinion (I think it referred to the report mentioned in the other Belgian article)

#3 was indeed a news article about a Dutch government report, the link to the report was provided below the article. I also provided links of the actual reports mentioned in both article #2 & #3

As for conclusions, going of the top of my head (on the Belgian Police Report)

- accidents are lowest on mixed use roads (they do suggest this may be due to lower speeds). I'd also refer back to the other research I provided about how obstacles in the road, or the width of roads relates to safe roads; as such a mixed road would both be narrower and have obstacles (including cyclists, pedestrians etc) which would reduce speeds. So the possibility exists that the higher safety on mixed roads is due to lower speeds or the layout of the road, or both, or the lower speed is a result of the mixed use (I think there may also be some 'separate cycle path brigade' to that speed comment).

- intersections of separate cycle paths are dangerous... exactly what I described

- roundabouts are dangerous.... exactly as I described

- Yes, separate cycle paths are a recommendation. However, if mixed use roads are the safest I fail to see why separate cycle paths would receive a higher recommendation (again see my comment about the separate path brigade...).

We obviously read the same articles in different ways. I will skim through the actual reports and see if a deeper understanding can be provided.

Hey guys, just luv the street webcams from the Netherlands, really shows it:

both times I've looked at this video it hasn't been extremely busy, which it can be. Love Amsterdam, and I've never even cycled there.

The interesting thing, I think, about comparisons Australia (& other car-centric countries/cities) makes with, or tries to learn and copy from Amsterdam and other cycling cities, is that their sole focus is on the separated cycle paths and try to incorporate that into the car-centric city designs. And then end up concluding it doesn't work, doesn't increase cycling participation and doesn't increase cycling safety. Whereas the lesson to take away from Amsterdam, this square, and from other cycling examples around the world is that the whole transport system is integrated and focused on people, not cars. Note how few cars you see in the video.

An interesting, but technical article on the topic was featured in The Fifth (note one of the comments added below from someone who appears to be professionally involved in the Melbourne city planning, stating Melbourne's approach to be people centric - would explain why cycling participation is high in Melbourne) Estate https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/columns/spinifex/movement-and-pla...

Hi Wayne,

I agree with you. I do think discussion that attempts simplistic comparison between Australia and the Netherlands will always be fraught and needs to acknowledge historical and cultural differences which run deep. I personally think it's a bit pointless. Australia did not experience the 2 decades or so of shocking post-war poverty and fuel shortages that otherwise-wealthy Holland experienced after 1945 and that drove the creation of their national bike plan and subsequent bicycle networks in the '60s and '70s. Our historical and geographic experiences and perspectives have been completely different.

However the jarring fact is that if you dig below the superficial in any of the Australian state transport plans you'll find that they already all focus on the same 'integrated approaches' based on concepts of 'people mobility'. Have a look at SA's 30 Year Plan and ITLUP - these are not a new ideas to Australian planners.

What does seem to be missing from the equation - from a lay-person's p.o.v - is political and policy understanding and any sense of proportion or even urgency at a political and community level. We've seen little of the implementation of Active Transport strategy at the scale or in ways that are appropriate for the sheer size of our cities.

The elephant in the room which is rarely acknowledged is that Australia's state capitols are enormous for their population density! I know my initial statement about this was a decimal place out, but if you forgive that, I think you have to acknowledge that for a smallish city (in population terms) of 1.2M people, for Adelaide to sit at #361 in terms of urban footprint out of 4,500 cities world-wide is remarkable. I know that reading this on Wikipedia shook me up!

It's this enormous spreading footprint that has driven our car dependency along with decades of cheap fuel and car availability. Dependency also makes us very vulnerable, a situation which we - unlike the Netherlands - are yet to experience and appreciate!

For instance in NSW and Queensland, while they talk about 'people mobility', the pressure from catering for motor vehicles, and especially freight transport, is so great that it vacuums up most of the funds available for freeways etc. Much the same has occurred in a somewhat more restrained manner in SA.

So we have $700M or so per annum spent on vehicle movement in SA with Active Transport receiving on average only $2M of so! How can we talk about active transport strategies working or otherwise when they are not funded appropriately? It just seems silly to try to judge outcomes when specific strategies have not even been implemented properly and we do not as yet have a comprehensive and connected Active Transport network to compare with our already comprehensively developed motor vehicle routes.

In evaluating the nascent value of separated Active Transport routes - for my money - seeing is believing. My main personal focus for the last 10 years has been the Outer Harbour Greenway in Adelaide (I can't speak for the several other Greenways around Adelaide). The OHG is not even finished yet, but stand at any of its main road crossings for 5 or 10 minutes in the morning and you'll see at least a half dozen cyclists, pedestrians, mothers with prams and pedestrians using the pathway, I think for inter-suburban travel (between adjacent suburbs) as much as cross-city movement.

I think the OHG is already overcoming what would otherwise be major barriers to such movement. This to me proves that the modest investment thus far has already been worth it - it is already effectively facilitating people movement even if it has yet to have a major impact on modal choices.

Whether such provisions in Australian cities are creating significant modal shifts seems a premature discussion and neither here nor there. We know that modal shift is driven by many variables including cost of vehicle use (ie; fuel prices), income variations and specific trip distances (often dictated by trip purpose and destinations).

What seems obvious to me - and at this stage, most important and most worthy of note - is that this particular, partly finished route is already meeting the needs of previously 'disenfranchised' users. People who would prefer to ride or walk off-road rather than on-road and whose needs have not been provided for in the past!

Incidentally I use the word 'urgency' above for good reason. At any one time Adelaide has at most only 14 days fuel storage, much of that being held in the supply chain (tanker trucks on the road) rather than storage depots. And all of our liquid fuel in SA is now imported from overseas! We have to bid for it competitively in the same markets that China and India do. They can outbid us any day of the week if they choose to. And conventional oil production around the world continues to decline at around 5% p.a. with the current so-called world 'fuel glut' being purely down to artificially boosted unconventional production, marginally more efficient fuel consumption and some specific patterns of declining vehicle use. The market 'glut' can't last forever!  

To my mind such factors make our car dependency a very real point of vulnerability. At the very least, a comprehensive active transport system would provide this city with a real margin of resilience and security, at least with regard to personal transport and should be treated as an issue of urgency.


Yes Sam, ADL is an urban sprawl, as are most cities in Australia, and I agree with the need for urgency. I think Australian cities will start to loose their high liveability rankings if they don't start building the active shared transport infrastructure of the future.

Heather, we haven't even bought a car since moving back to AU. Living in Nth ADL we had everything in walking or cycling distance. Sure going to the shop required a little more planning, but even since we've moved to Sydney we're closer to all amenities than we were in Nth ADL.

I did almost get doored the other day, first in my lifetime. I swerved instinctively, but checked the next day and realised my standard distance to cars is no where near close enough to be in the danger zone.

International Women's Day also focused on cycling today...


There is a tendency towards a myth that Australians require private transport at all times. This does not take into account that the majority of Australians live in cities and towns. That in most capital cities, half of all trips are under 5 km, an easy cycling distance.

There is the potential for more people to ride a bicycle with panniers, catch public transport to work, or walk to the local shops with a shopping cart. Reduce car dependence, road congestion and pollution. Improve personal fitness and bank balance (or spend on more interesting items than petrol and car maintenance).

There are good reasons for the government to support active transport, but the political will tends to be lacking.

Wayne, there was a time when I needed car transport. Then I changed employment and housing so public transport became a viable option. A study indicates this is when people are more likely to reconsider their transport options. Then I realised cycling short distances was better than public transport, if I could cope with ‘sharing the road’ with hazardous vehicles. Now I drive no more than 20 times per year. I would find it hard to be car-less, but believe there is the potential for many city dwellers to drive less.

Your link again states that the women are the indicator of cycling infrastructure quality.
An article published by The Guardian in Jul-2015
Six countries and percentage of cycle journeys by female gender:
Denmark 55%
Netherlands 55%
Germany 49%
Canada 30%
UK 27%
US 25%

AC members are not the Australian norm, in that a strong interest in cycling.
I coordinate 5 AC groups with 656 unique members (some are members of more than one group).
Female 21.8%
Male 74.4%
Gender not disclosed to me 3.8%

The Australian cycling rate could increase, if only our governments (federal, state and local) had the political will to install good cycling infrastructure.

Heather, you'd be surprised how many city dwellers in Europe have cars. We did (and probably will again soon), and compared to Adelaide, we lived somewhere near the Convention Centre (around the corner from the central station & a park, close to all amenities). Most of the people around us owned a car, one neighbour had a car they did less than 10k/yr with & that included a round trip to their home in Ukraine & a round trip to the Riviera. Another family had two cars, including one executive fully maintained company vehicle, and he would take his daughter to school on the bike in the morning and then catch the train to work. Which is do-able when home & work are both less than 500m from major rail stations. For his wife & I, who worked in similar areas that were harder to get PT to, meant as much time to cover the 3km to the nearest Ring/Freeway entry, as it did to cover the rest of my 35km commute. Yes, Nth ADL was convenient, and where you live too, but that is part of the problem/solution of commuting and car dependency.

Cycling infrastructure is great, and more is needed in Australia, but as Sam pointed out, Adelaide (and all Australian cities) are massive urban sprawls. Where one chooses to live has an impact on usage. One of the last news bits I saw to come out of Adelaide, was the bid for a fast train from Mt Barker to the CBD. I've understood this would be just one station in a fast train that extends further to the coast (which may have merit), but if not for the extended route I fail to see why tax payers should be paying for a line to Mt Barker that wouldn't be needed with better planning. Adelaide's strategic plan out to 2040-45 is for an additional 550k residents, with only 85% of that being housed through infill, which basically means that new suburbs outside the current urban sprawl need to be created for 80-100k people, who then all need to clog the roads to get to where they earn & spend money.

So yes, more & better cycling infrastructure will benefit cycling participation, both for males & females, but as Sam also pointed out, when comparing Australian cities to other cycling cities (in Europe) we need to take into account culture & history, and I would say that urban planning is a major part of that.

Most of the limitations of cycling as a component of the transport systems in Australian cities stem from an absolute paucity of proper 'people planning'. We've planned to standards rather than spatial form. One absolutely key solution that Adelaide must confront if it is to survive is the need for 'planned localisation'. We all suffer from what John Whitelegg refers to as a 'mobility fetish' - our normal default assumption has been to assume that all the challenges of urban living can be met by personal mobility, specifically by car. This besets even our Gov'ts current obsessions with public transport. It has led our planning agendas up the garden path. It's been the wrong assumption to make and an unhealthy obsession to have. We now need to adopt some of the approaches of Alec Ramsay and the other people around in the early days of the SAHT, who proposed the rather novel (actually highly prescient) notion that one should not have to mortgage oneself to 'happy motoring' just to get an education, hold down a job or run a home and family! I grew up at Elizabeth from Dec 1959 onwards. Yes - my Dad (who was a research scientist) worked on the other side of the city in a 19thC institution, but most of my friends parents worked very locally - the doctor, the ambulance driver, the machinists, car makers etc. We all did our shopping very locally. We all went to kinder and school locally and had fantastic gardens where we spent a great deal of time. No - there wasn't much bike riding (that I remember) but with proper infrastructure, bikes could have easily been a major component of the transport system - at least locally up to 5km or so. Government must have a much (MUCH!) stronger localisation agenda!


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