Research calls for government funding to boost NSW cycling
12 October 2011
In the lead up to today's national Ride to Work Day, researchers from the University of Sydney are calling on the NSW government to increase its support for cycling.
The Prevention Research Collaboration group in the School of Public Health says at least 1 to 2 percent of the roads budget should be used to fund the State Cycling Plan and its target of increasing trips made by bike in Greater Sydney from the current 1 to 5 percent by 2016.
"The NSW government must commit to strategies promoting active transport, including cycling," said Chris Rissel, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
"We know around half of all Australians don't get enough exercise. This has huge implications for health and health care costs. It also means many people aren't getting out enough and being part of their community," he said.
"Ride to Work Day is a good reminder that government should promote cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around your local community. But it's just one day. If the state government funded strategies and infrastructure to promote cycling all year round we would see a real difference socially, economically, environmentally and, of course, in community health," said Professor Rissel.
"It's not just about more bike paths. It's about 'invisible infrastructure' such as 40-kilometre-an-hour zones in areas with high cycle use, linking infrastructure to workplaces, schools and public transport, and making cycling more attractive and enjoyable by providing showers and safe bike parking in workplaces," he said.
"Cycling courses for children and adults, ride-to-work schemes and public cycling events all encourage cycling and get people participating in their local community. It's really about making active transport the easiest, quickest and simplest option," said Professor Rissel.
A number of organisations support active travel including the Australian Local Government Association, the Bus Industry Confederation, Cycling Promotion Fund and the Heart Foundation.
The University of Sydney hosted a Ride to Work breakfast for all staff and students cycling to campus on Wednesday. Cyclists arriving at Eastern Avenue on the Camperdown Campus enjoyed a healthy breakfast, coffee, and bicycle maintenance workshops run by the Student Environment Action Collective. Cumberland Campus, home to the Faculty of Health Sciences, also hosted an event.
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