WALGA supports Cycling on footpaths –
In response to the Cycling Safety Roundtable workshop hosted by the Premier and Minister for Road Safety in March 2015, the Western Australian Local Government Association (the Association) developed a discussion paper on the implications for Local Government of amending regulation 216(1) of the Road Traffic Code 2000 to allow cyclists of all ages ride bicycles on footpaths in WA. The Local Government sector was provided an opportunity to provide the Association with feedback.
At its meeting on 1 July 2015 the WALGA State Council considered feedback from the Local Government sector and passed a resolution to support the amendment of regulation 216(1) of the Road Traffic Code 2000 to allow cyclists of all ages to ride bicycles on footpaths subject to the implementation of an appropriate speed limit for riding on a footpath. The State Council also resolved that any amendment to the regulation be accompanied by a comprehensive public education campaign.
In addition, the Association considers it critical that any amendment to regulation 216 includes the ability of a Local Government to pass a local law to prohibit cyclists riding on footpaths in specified areas due to environmental or public use factors e.g. alfresco dining areas, seniors’ areas, shopping precincts or pedestrian malls.
In its advice to the Association, Local Governments highlighted the following key matters that should be considered if the proposed amendment to the Road Traffic Code 2000 proceeds:
- A comprehensive public education campaign that includes the rationale for amending the legislation; cycling at safe speeds; and responsibilities of both cyclists and pedestrians when sharing a footpath.
- Adequate signage is erected advising path users that cyclists can use the footpath.
- Consideration of a speed limit be introduced for footpath cycling for the safety of all footpath users; and enforcement of any speed limit.
- Standards be applied to cyclists when riding on a footpath i.e. bicycles must be fitted with a bell for warning pedestrians; cyclists wear high visibility clothing; cyclists give way to pedestrians; and cyclists keep left unless overtaking.
On 21 July 2015, the Association formally advised the Road Safety Commission by letter of the State Council resolutions.
Comment: The issue has been aired in the press in May 2015, with the predictable mixed response one expects on these issues. In reality, on the footpaths in Western Australia, changing the regulation will have little practical impact. Kids, less confident bike riders and older people will continue to use the footpath occasionally. Commuters on skinny tyred road bikes will use the roads.