Cycleways and the Future of Transport

As we welcome in another year, governments around Australia are looking at new forms of transport.

No longer are bicycles the only forms of transport wanting to use cycleways.

The Planning Institute of Australia, for instance, wants to open up these transport corridors to other modes of alternative transport including Segways and motorised scooters.

It believes these ‘perspiration-free’ modes of transport may be more appealing to everyday commuters than the humble pushbike and, therefore, reduce the numbers of cars used.

“[The] PIA says there are a number of personal mobility devices being embraced by countries around the world but their use in Australia is restricted by our design rules,” the group said in a statement critiquing the ACT’s latest cyleway plan.

However, these alternative forms of transport are generally seen as illegal, currently.

Councils, road authorities and police face a dilemma with these mobility vehicles as their prices drop and on particular issue is that the population is aging and more older people and those with disabilities are using mobility scooters to get around, usually on footpaths.

Adding to this is the growing popularity of electric bikes, which travel faster than regular cyclists.

The evidence in the ACT shows that even if you build it, they won’t necessarily come, with Canberra having the best cycling network of any Australian capital city, but the lowest participation rate, according to PIA ACT president Vivian Straw.

With The Cycling Promotion Fund estimating that swapping a car commute for a bicycle to commute would save a family approximately $10,000 a year, bicycles still remain a viable option if the appropriate infrastructure is in place.

This is sure to be an issue for governments to ponder in 2013 as they look to develop cities of the future.

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