Words by: Sarah Ison
Image credit: Perthnow
The Barnett Government is currently working on laws which would open up footpaths to be used for cyclists of all ages, rather than only by children under twelve and pedestrians.
This move comes after Bicycling WA and The Main Road’s Cycling and Pedestrian Advisory Group called for restrictions against cyclists using footpaths to be lifted. The City of Stirling also expressed its full support of the proposal earlier this week.
According to surveys, 91% of cyclists fear riding on the roads, especially as frustration mounts daily between motorists and cyclists on the tarmac.
Efforts to lift restrictions on footpaths and move cyclists off the road, aim to appease both motorists and bicycle riders, and ease the war on the roads between the two.
However, unlike other states that have taken similar action, there are no plans to incorporate speed limits for cyclists using footpaths.
West Cycle’s Chief Executive Matt Fulton stated that cyclists will be able to choose an appropriate speed and adjust to whatever environment they are presented with, without a speed limit being provided.
While cyclists and motorists have expressed their full support for the plans, there has been notable apprehension on the part of pedestrians, who are concerned over the lack of a speed limit and the very real danger this presents to pedestrian safety.
In Fulton’s words, ‘mutual respect is key to successful path sharing’, however this doesn’t exactly instill confidence when we think about how the failure of this exact sentiment on our roads is what got us here in the first place.