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The City of Fremantle will spend more than $2 million in the next four years to transform itself into Australia's most bike-friendly city - a "Copenhagen of the south".
Fremantle's bike plan, which the council passed this week, will mean a major investment boost in infrastructure including paths, end-of-ride facilities and more bicycle hire.
Mayor Brad Pettitt said the city aimed to make cycling safer and easier with the hope of doubling participation rates to 5.8 per cent by 2017 and making Fremantle the top cycle city in Australia.
Fremantle has a bicycle participation rate of 2.9 per cent of residents, well above the national average of 1.7 per cent. No council in Australia has participation rates of more than 5 per cent.
Fremantle will also double the kilometres of bike paths, with an extra 44km to be added by 2017.
"Fremantle plans to have around 100km of bike lanes and paths by 2017 - a large percentage of Perth's 700-odd kilometres of cycling routes," Dr Pettitt said. "Our aim is for cyclists to be able to ride east to west, north to south through the city without ever leaving a bike path."
The city will spend $500,000 over the next year implementing the plan - between $15 and $20 per ratepayer - almost double its spending last year.
The Bicycle Network's bicycle expenditure index revealed the City of Fremantle spent $8.95 on cycle infrastructure per ratepayer last year, well above the organisation's target threshold of $5.
Dr Pettitt said high-quality infrastructure and a change in community behaviour was needed.
He said free or affordable bike-hire initiatives would be encouraged to enable everyone in the locality to have access to a bike.
Bicycling WA chief executive Jeremey Murray welcomed the commitment and commended its bold vision.
"While participation rates as high as 5 per cent is a high figure, I think given the city's demographic, location and street layout that it could be in a good position to achieve this," Mr Murray said. "BWA would like to see cycling participation in WA increase to 10 per cent over the next 20 years."
I cringe a little when I hear people claiming to be Australia's cycling capital. It may be an involuntary response to a certain past premier of another state who liked the label without doing anything about it. Others occasionally make such grand claims too. I expect that Freo will do more to justify it than inviting the occasional celebrity to town.
When I joined in a ride through the streets when the local BUG was being formed there was not a single lycra rider. Later someone ho was obviously a part of it did arrive later from work in suitable serious commuter bike and clobber. (Not that I object to the maligned "lycra clad brigade". Just observing that what I observed seemed closer to what biking used to be in days before it became an "Industry".)
44km of path to be resourced within $2m that will cover other things as well suggests that there will not be a lot of new hotmix. I hope Freo does more than just add white lines to existing roads and I imagine they will. I hope and will not be surprised if Freo delivers on it's promise.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
Freo would be an ideal place for a bike hire scheme. Plenty of times I've gotten off the train and thought that a bike down to e.g. Wray Ave would be great.
I recently stayed next to one of Dublin's bike hire stands, the bikes are fantastic, and the patronage is stellar.
There's bike hire and then there's bike hire scheme That one extra word makes a world of difference.
One word - Spot on.
A "scheme" would be built around places like the train station and the places that people want to get to and would have a multitude of those points.
The Bike Hire alluded to is, afaik, a single point place and that place is a car park in a tourist precinct and not geared for regular users and commuters.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
I believe the City of Fremantle offers free bikes for use around the City. They are located at the Tourist Centre. Also Little Creatures has bikes for use as well.
Yes, I was aware of that, but as I haven't lived in Freo for a while, this was the only bike hire I knew about .
That isn't taking effect for nearly two years, so there's a decent amount of time to do the work.
More broadly, the amalgamations should enable the bike network to be planned and built better, instead of the current system of small councils having very disparate ideas and implementation.
The word is that Freo Council will now move to spend or allocate all available funds in the lead up to merger on projects such as this. I suspect other councils/mayors will also follow this path to ensure their legacy and vision continues as much as possible.
Ha ha .....you want to hope none of the personnel from Melville are retained.
Two sections of the path along the river in CofM have been closed for a ridiculous amount of time.
The boardwalk behind the Raffles old site for near on 3 months now, and the wash out near Point Walter for over a year.
And this is the council that tells tradesmen it is ok to park on the footpath, bike path or bike lane if you need to.
It is a fair warning......cycling is way down the list on any CofM agenda...be it staff or councilors
Agree, I ride this road quite often and its a joke when the bike land ends just before the intersection with High rd, when heading north.
From Sam Wainwight, a Freo Councillor ...
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