Bicycle Queensland (BQ) welcomes today's report into cycling issues and sees plenty of positives in the report that, if adopted, will set Queensland up as the state that will be a better, safer place to live and ride a bike.
BQ supports the Minister's statement on the report that "...many of the 68 recommendations put forward by the Transport, Housing and Local Government committee would directly lead to safer road conditions for Queensland cyclists."
BQ is most impressed with the report's attention to planning detail with its call to strengthen existing cycling strategies and provisions that would see the delivery of a safer connected bikeway network across the state.
BQ supports the recommendation on bicycle rider protection through vulnerable road user legislation. This is a good step to reconsider the specific needs of riders, and for motorists to regard and look out for bike riders and treat then far more carefully as any collision is likely to be a catastrophe.
But it is the report's support for a strengthening of delivery of bicycle infrastructure through government planning and delivering strategies that BQ most applauds. Planning opportunities that are lost in new road developments kill off cycling for years and greatly reduce safety. Getting it right is critical, so bravo to the committee for recognising this and recommending the government find the money to build safe facilities.
However, on helmets, BQ can't agree with a relaxation of helmet laws as ample research shows the safety benefits of wearing helmets surpasses the no-helmet personal-freedom argument. The case for wearing helmets is arguably best safety practice. Sadly, our roads and bikeways are faster, more hostile places than European countries with the risks of collision between riders alone making helmets necessities.
BQ remains concerned that a measured overtaking distance in legislation has no evidence of success – internationally it has failed to change behaviour and its enforcement is a problem that may detract from more meaningful safety measures.
There are some other recommendations that BQ is grappling to understand, including having flashing lights displayed in daylight hours, and infringement penalties for children being tripled and brought in line with adult drivers.
BQ will now be working with the state government through the Transport Minister and his department (Transport and Main Roads) to see the report turned into positive action for all Queenslanders.
And given the Minister's statement below, BQ has a case for optimism:
"I note that many of the recommendations address issues with education and the design of cycling infrastructure. I'm pleased that many of these recommendations are designed to reduce the tension that can exist between cyclists and motorists on roads." (Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson.)