Liberals (LIB)

Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Emergency Services
Our ref: 30-36294
Your ref:
Mr Heinrich Benz
Dear Mr Benz
Thank you for your correspondence received in this office on 21 February 2013 to
the Hon Troy Buswell, Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Emergency Services
regarding spending on cycling infrastructure over the next four years.
As you may be aware, a State election will be held on 9 March 2013. Following an
election announcement on 6 February 2013, the Government assumed a ‘caretaker’
role, ensuring that decisions are not made that would bind an incoming government
or limit its freedom of action.
Given the matter you have raised is operational in nature, your correspondence has
been directed to the Department of Transport with a request that they attend to the
matter you have raised and respond to you directly. Should you wish to contact the
Department of Transport regarding your letter please contact the Office of the
Director General by emailing: or by writing to:
Department of Transport
140 William Street
Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the Minister.
Yours sincerely
Noemi Henzen
Correspondence Officer
Level 13, Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street, West Perth, Western Australia, 6005
Telephone: +61 8 6552 6400 Facsimile: +61 8 6552 6401 Email:



Second bite at the cherry:

From: Bicycle Transportation Alliance []
Sent: Wednesday, 16 January 2013 2:42 PM
To: ‘WA-Government’
Cc: ‘’
Subject: Cycling infrastructure spending for the next four years


Dear Premier,

We are encouraged by the effort that has gone into answering our suggestions.

The “in principle” support for the West Australian Bike Network (WABN) Plan is appreciated. You point out funding of $10mio per year for the next two years, plus and additional $7.5mio on CBD projects over the next four years. This amount is insufficient to complete the Perth Bicycle Network. A connected network of cycling paths will contribute to the reduction of congestion, mitigating the pressure created by 140’000 additional cars entering our road system every year.

Perth needs 140 km of Principal Shared Paths to complete the cycling projects described in the 1996 Bike Plan. To allow for proportional expenditure required in the regions and population increase, $340mio is required over the next ten years (Catalyst 2012), or about $34mio per year. Money should also be invested in the suburbs, where short trips to train stations, schools and shops would provide health and congestion benefits, and increase quality of life for local residents.

Since I wrote to you in November last year, a study into the economic benefits of cycling has been commissioned by the RAC. It provides accurate, timely and relevant information in regards to the benefits of cycling. The report has established that the Benefit/Cost Ratio for spending on cycling infrastructure is 3:4 to 1, and that each kilometre cycled yields 24cents in benefits, some of it to the individual cycling, some of it to the state.

This study, titled “A Business Case for Investment in Cycling in Western Australia”, easily justifies the spending of $34mio in today’s volatile economic environment. A connected safe bicycle network will contribute towards the targets set in The National Cycling Strategy 2011 – 2016 (to which your government is a signatory). The strategy calls for a doubling of cycling trips by 2016. The newest draft of the West Australian Bike Network Plan (WABN) aims for doubling cycling trips by 2018. To achieve this target, cycling trips will have to increase by 20% each year for the next five years.

This means increasing cycling by four million cycle trips each year, equivalent to adding 22 million cycle kilometres -with a corresponding decrease in car trips and car kilometres. At 24 cents per km this adds $4mio per year (cumulative) of benefits, with the total benefits of cycling in WA currently being nearly $20mio per year.

The value to the community of a person using public transport instead of a private car and the reduced road usage is represented by the public transport subsidy of $5.41 per boarding. People cycling to work contribute in the same way; they leave their car at home while they pedal to work, using the cheaper cycling infrastructure, and not occupying a parking spot at their destination. Using  the PTA subsidy figures, adding 4mio bicycle trips would indicate a value of about $24mio per year, with the current yearly value of trips done by people on bicycles is about $120mio.

Another way of looking at the $34mio per year needed to complete the Principal Shared Path network is to use the proportion of trips to work done by bicycle compared to other means of transport. The aim of the WABN to double cycling trips will mean that 3.4% of trips to work will be done by bicycle in 2018 (using participation figures based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics). 3.4% of the MainRoadsWA budget is $55mio.

The investments of today determine how the transport picture will look like in ten years. Considering that the Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) for cycling investments is a stellar 3.4 to 1, spending between $34mio to $55mio per year as one of the measures to reduce congestion would be a good decision, a decision sure to be noticed and applauded by the over 500’000 West Australians who rode a bicycle last week.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss investment in cycling and other cycling related concerns with you before the election.




Heinrich Benz

Chief Executive Officer

Bicycle Transport Alliance

(0400 047 349) on the web, and on


Response by the party

Colin Barnett response to our suggestions



Premier of Western Australia

Our Ref:            24-136812

Mr H Benz

Email address: bta@multiline,

Dear Mr Benz

Thank you for your email regarding cycling matters related to the 2013 Election. Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to you.

The State Government is committed to the implementation of the draft Western Australian Bicycle Network (WABN) Plan. The State Government runs a range of initiatives to fill in missing sections of the network including grant funding programs run by the Department of Transport (DoT) that provide financial assistance to Local Governments in the development of cycling infrastructure, Additionally, the State Government is committed to the completion of the missing sections of principal shared paths (PSPs). However, due to the large amount of construction required and the complex nature of delivering PSPs, the completion of the network will have to be delivered in stages based on priority and opportunity. The draft WABN Plan identifies priority PSP links within 15 km of the Perth CBD.

In regards to your question on 30 km/h speed limits on selected roads, Main Roads Western Australia’s (MRWA) primary objective is to ensure a high level of road safety is maintained for all users. With this in mind, it uses best practice standards and guidelines to determine the most appropriate speed limits to be applied across the state.

The current default speed limit in Western Australia is 50 km/h for built up areas. While a blanket lowering of the built up area speed limit is not supported at this time, MRWA recognises that a lower speed limit than 50 km/h may be appropriate in specific precincts with high traffic volumes and significant numbers of vulnerable road users. Trials of these lower limits are currently underway at six locations in the metropolitan area, including a 30 km/h speed limit along Oxford Street in Leederville. The trial results will assist MRWA to determine the most effective and appropriate treatments for specific locations. Additionally, it should be noted that MRWA does not appoint representatives to the Road Safety Council and, as such, this matter is best addressed by the Office of Road Safety.

1 Parliament Place, West Perth, Western Australia 6050

Telephone: +61 8 6552 5000 Facsimile: +61 8 6552 5001 Email: www. p rem le rwa .gov.a LI


In regards to a legalised safe passing distance of one metre when cars overtake bicycles, a minimum passing distance law for motor vehicles overtaking cyclists would be problematic and difficult to enforce. The State Government’s preferred approach is for motorists and cyclists to share the road space with respect and courtesy. This is clearly explained in the DoT publication for new drivers Drive Safe. A Handbook for Road Users, which states “keep a safe distance from them (riders) and give them at least one metre clearance from the side of your vehicle when you are overtaking.” (Section 1.8.3).

DoT also supports continued use of messages such as “A Metre Matters” from the Amy Gillett Foundation, which aims to reduce the incidence of injury and death caused by the interaction between cyclists and motorists. A recent study of this issue indicated that a mandated passing distance was poorly complied with and improved infrastructure was more effective at improving passing distances. This can be found at: 2012 AAP 3ft-study.pdf

The carriage of bicycles on all forms of public transport (except fold up bicycles and unicycles) on trains travelling to Perth between the hours of 7.00am and 9.00am on weekday mornings and away from Perth between the hours of 4.30pm and 6.30pm on weekday afternoons, is prohibited. These regulations have been put in place for the safety and comfort of all passengers travelling on trains and accessing platforms which may be crowded during peak periods. The Public Transport Authority (PTA) has no current plans to change these core hours.

The draft WABN Plan lists a range of initiatives aimed at improving cycling in Western Australia. These initiatives include a review of traffic management on local roads, the review of local bicycle routes, a connecting stations program and the development of an online journey planner. However, one of the key initiatives in the draft WABN Plan is to develop a pilot program to increase cycling to school for both primary and secondary age students. This program will be led by the DoT with the main aim to change drive behaviour by informing teachers, parents and students about cycling options. Local government and schools will be key partners in the program to ensure that an infrastructure gap analysis is undertaken to determine any shared path or on-road cycling improvements, end-of-trip requirements, crossing points and access improvements as well as cycle journey way finding. An evaluation of the pilot program will be undertaken to determine the benefits in rolling out the program to schools across the metropolitan area and in larger regional cities and towns.


To best support cyclists in recognition of the contribution they make towards a cleaner environment and healthy community, the PTA is integrating cycling with public transport services. It is actively improving secure bicycle parking at train stations by installing high tech bicycle shelters which are the first free shelters of their kind in Australia. Each shelter has a wireless and solar-powered card swipe machine which provides 24 hours access. These new lock and ride systems allow the shelters to be accessed only by registered SmartRider cards. To date, the PTA has installed 47 of these secure bicycle parking shelters at 37 stations and will continue to install more as demand grows across the network.

Finally, in regards to the funding of the above commitments, in May the State Government committed an additional $20 million over 2012-13 and 2013-14 for the implementation of the recommendations in the draft WABN plan. A significant portion of this funding will go towards key missing links in the PSP network within a 15 km radius of the Perth CBD. An additional $7.5 million has been secured from the Perth Parking Fund for the construction of cycling facilities in the Perth CBD between 2012-13 and 2015-16.

I appreciate you writing to me about this matter and trust the information provided is of assistance to you and members of the Bicycle Transport Alliance.

Yours sincerely


Colin Barnett MLA PREMIER

I 4 JAN 2013

Summary of policies


Liberals Greens Labor Nationals
WA Bike Network Plan (WABN) (Draft), Letter 14.1.13 Bike Vision Letter 21.11.12
Infrastructure  –     How many km of Principal Shared Paths will you build-     How many km of Recreational and other Shared Paths will you build

–     How many km of roads in the suburbs will be prioritised for cycling and walking

–     How many km of routes to schools, shops and train station will you build

–     Will you legislate for End of Trip Facilities to be compulsory in new buildings in the CBD and in activity centres


–   Identifies 134.7 km of missing PSP’s, 

–   Pilot safe routes to schools


–    300 km PSP’s-    5800 km local protected safe routes to local destinations, schools and train stations

–    120km Greenways

In principle support for the WABN
Safe cycling environment  –     Do you support a 30kmh speed limit on selected urban and suburban roads to create a safer environment for kids riding to school, and for people to reach train stations and shops-     Will you support a direct cycling representative on the Road Safety Council

–     Will you support a legalised safe passing distance of one meter when cars overtake bicycles

–     Do you support the 40 recommendations from the OLA/RAC Cycling Safety Forum


–   Trials 30kmh speed limits,-   Opposes a legalised safe passing distance

–   No cycling rep on the Road Safety Council

–    Introduce bicycle representation at all levels of government-    Introduce legislated safe passing distance, penalties for dooring, and lower speed along suburban bike routes Not known
Increasing cycling participation  –     What is your position on the carriage of bicycles on all forms of public transport-     How will you increase the number of children cycling to school

–     Are you planning any other initiatives that will improve cycling in West Australia, what are they and where will they be initiated.


–   No plans to allow bicycles on trains during peak hours, or on buses at any time –    Funded programs aimed at kids, women and adults. Funding for Bike-Ed and Travelsmart No bikes on trains in peak times. No other details
Funding  –     What is your budget for the above commitments, and how will they be funded.-     Can you make a list of timed and costed individual cycling related projects available.


–   $12.66 mio per year for the next two years, total of $25.2mio-   No costing of projects –    $80.89mio per year for the next 16 years, total of $1294.24mio-    Routes are quantified and costed No funding commitment
Targets and Vision  The WABN will aim to double cycling trips by 2018. 29% of all trips to be done by bicycle by 2029 (15% of trips to work).Identified and costed 61 initatives to make cycling safer Not known


Our comments

The answer by Colin Barnett follows the outline of the WABN, but without the funding necessary to do the job. The answer refers to the MainRoadsWA trials with lower speeds in places such as Oxford Street, not a very encouraging approach. In regards to a safe legalised passing distance the letter wrongly asserts that it does not work, based on a mis-read of relevant research.


Name and or contact details of candidates Mr Barnett Dr Hames Mr Abetz Mr Alban Mr Blayney Mr Britza Mr Buswell Mr Castrilli Mr Cowper Ms Harvey Mr Jacob Mr Johnson Mr Krsticevic Mr McGrath Mr Marmion Mr Miles Ms Mitchell Dr Nahan Mr Porter Mr Sutherland Mr Simpson Mr Moore Mr O’Brien Mr Baston Ms Behjat Mr Chown Mr Collier Mr Ellis Ms Faragher Ms Hayden Mr Goiran Mr Hallet Mr House Ms McSweeney Mr Mischin Ms Morton Mr Morton Mr Norberger Mr Hatton Mr Albert Mr Nalder Mr Cosh Ms Cheung Ms Creado Ms Evangel Ms Godfrey Mr Parasiliti Mr Marks Ms Maitre Mr Jacobs Mr Wilkins Mr Solin Mr Goode Ms Webster Ms Price Mr L’Estrange Ms Aitken Mr Hanssen Ms Bloom Mr Levissianos Mr Strange Mr Colyer Ms Motion Mr Halligan Mr Barrett Mr Blight

Individual responses by candidates

About the Author

Promoting everyday cycling