National cycling safety charity the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) received $6 million in last week’s Federal Budget, after flagging several initiatives to improve cycling infrastructure and mapping.
The Melbourne-based organisation outlined four recommendations in its pre-budget submission, including updating road design guidelines, training for local decision-makers and practitioners to deliver best-practice cycling infrastructure, improved road mapping for safer cycling and greater knowledge shared between State and local governments to achieve safe cycling improvements.
The recommendations represented an investment totalling $12 million.
With $6 million now on the table as part of the 2022-23 Federal Budget, the AGF says it is liaising with the Government to determine its program.
“We are now embarking on the detailed program design and phasing, and will be engaging with our partners, supporters and others in the sector to make sure we have the right balance and can achieve the impact we’re aiming for,” AGF CEO Dan Kniepp said.
“The commitment made through the 2022-23 Budget is a great vote of confidence in our approach, and we are very excited about how it can make a difference to cycling safety across the country.
“This is a great moment for cycling advocacy in Australia, and the beginning of some crucial long-term programs to reduce road trauma and get more people riding bikes.”
He said each of the submission’s recommendations primarily sought to deliver safer cycling by incorporating better designs into broader infrastructure projects.
“There is so much opportunity to improve the bike safety dividends from the current transport funding that will happen anyway,” Dan said.
“This budget has billions of dollars in road infrastructure, the next budget will also and so will the one after that, so what we can do here is make cycling safety a component of those road works.”
Recommendation 1 in the submission seeks to deliver a skills package that trains engineers, planners, designers and decision makers on the specifics of bike safety, and how to leverage opportunities to build safe roads in their communities.
The submission proposed a $6.1 million budget to train 8,000 to 10,000 officers by 2025, in collaboration with local governments.
Recommendation 2 proposes reviewing and updating national road design so cycling safety is central to construction of new streets and upgrades to existing roads.
The submission allocated $1.2 million to the project, to have the revised standards in place by 2024.
Recommendation 3 looks at improving road mapping for enhanced ride safety by guiding better infrastructure decisions and investment.
The submission says the improved mapping would enable a more evidence-based approach to cycling project selection and design.
With a budget of $2.5 million, the project predicted the data and analytics could be in place by 2024, setting a baseline that could then be used to measure further improvements.
Recommendation 4 – improved collaboration – comprises the creation of an online centre for excellence for cycling infrastructure design information, policies and tools, accessible for all transport and built environment professionals. It was budgeted at $2.2 million in the submission and scheduled to be implemented in 2023.
Dan said AGF will be looking at how it can progress each of those four initiatives during the next term of government, based on the announced funding, with a view to complete their full scope as additional funding becomes available.
“This is a really good development in our sector. Never before have the Feds given the thumbs up to these ideas, so we’re hoping it’s a watershed moment,” he added.
“We will use this money to really prove the concepts and build the case for more funding.”