PortBUG: Consider the Bike – Election 2018!


Hi Folks,  I promise – this is our last BUG-BLOG for 2017! We’re anticipating that once the Christmas and New Year break is over we’ll see public comment ramp up as our political betters prepare for the 2018 March election. I thought it might be worthwhile revisiting a couple of key paras from Adam Langenberg’s ‘mature politics’ opinion piece in the Advertiser back on Nov. 11th.

Here ’tis:   “An incredibly important element of a proper transport blueprint is how cycling and bike paths should be constructed to complement and take pressure off our road network. 

Often overlooked, cycling has been back in the news for all the wrong reasons in the last few weeks. Burnside Council slammed the brakes on its plan to create designated bike paths in the municipality, and cycling participation rates have plummeted.

Co-ordinated, well thought-out public policy on cycling and bike infrastructure is a crucial part of designing the road network of the future. And that requires the prospective state government to show leadership both before and after the state election.

It’s time for both major parties to get on their bikes and stop the shallow infrastructure wars that can be easily interpreted as shallow electioneering, because South Australia needs real leadership to get moving effectively.”

The PortBUG has repeatedly written to Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan over the last 2 years seeking an update on release of a new State Bike Plan. We have not received a single meaningful or informative response! SA’s last state bike plan, ‘Safety in Numbers’ concluded in 2010! As far as we know it has never been evaluated. There have been rumours that a new, updated Plan has been prepared and has been sitting on the Minister’s desk for the last couple of years! But – despite repeated queries – as 2017 winds down we’re none the wiser!

The Opposition appears to be just as unhelpful. Recent questions put to Shadow Minister for Transport, David Pisoni reveals what can only be described as a vacuous understanding of Adelaide’s Active Transport challenge and the issues bicycle users face on a daily basis – it seems his interest doesn’t get much beyond a tired and confused discussion of Australia’s helmet laws. Nothing solid about infrastructure investment, a more balanced cross-modal transport policy or leadership in promoting Active Travel!

An up-to-date State Bike Plan is important. It helps the community and Local Government know where they stand with regard to the State Government’s overall policy direction and annual funding strategy.

Burnside Council’s recent nonsensical tantrum is what happens in the absence of such a plan! A State Bike Plan would also helps build the positive community vision and support for Active Transport that is needed whenever new initiatives and infrastructure plans are proposed and activated. And most importantly it helps advance the political conversation beyond the mere point scoring and divisive ‘cars versus bikes’ dog-whistling we so often see in the media!

As you have a rest over the Christmas break and maybe ride your bikes for relaxation rather than commuting, maybe have a think about what you want to hear from our leaders in March 2018 and how that might guide your vote…

Sam, Your (definitely politically unaligned) Editor 😉


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