VicHealth welcomes plans to support Melburnians to ride more in new COVID-normal
Health promotion foundation VicHealth has welcomed Victorian Government plans to deliver 100 kilometres of new and improved cycling routes in and around Melbourne to make it easier for locals to travel to work, school, the shops and other commitments when coronavirus restrictions ease.
Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll today announced $13 million for pop-up bike lanes to be installed in the coming months to help more people safely travel in the new COVID-normal.
Minister Carroll also announced that Victoria will also introduce mandatory minimum passing distances in 2021,requiring motorists to give at least 1 metre clearance between their vehicle and cyclists when overtaking on roads less than 60km/h, and 1.5 metres on roads with speeds over 60km/h.
VicHealth Executive Manager Programs Kirstan Corben said the changes are a win for the mental and physical health of Victorians.
“It’s fantastic to see the Victorian Government commit to installing more bike lanes and mandatory minimum passing distances to support the health of our community at this challenging time,” Ms Corben said.
“Bike riding is so good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and during lockdown we’ve seen a surge in the number of Victorians jumping on their bikes and reaping the health benefits.
“Having more bike lanes, combined with new mandatory minimum passing distances will help people feel more comfortable riding their bikes around Melbourne. The additional bike lanes will also make it easier for people to maintain at least 1.5m from other people.
“If we can support more Victorians who are able to travel by bike to do so, it will help keep our roads and public transport system free for those who need them.”
A recent survey from VicHealth revealed 3 in 4 Victorians want local and state governments to adapt infrastructure so more people can walk or ride.
The survey of 1,000 Victorians also found that when restrictions ease, 1 in 3 planned to travel more by foot or bike than they did pre-coronavirus, but safety was a barrier for many.
Many Victorian councils like the City of Moreland, City of , City of Melbourne and City of Greater Bendigo have been making upgrades so residents and commuters can easily walk, ride or scoot around their communities for enjoyment and travel in lockdown and when restrictions ease.
This includes converting carparks and local streets into bike lanes, as well as installing more zebra crossings and reducing speed limits so more people can comfortably walk.
“Local councils, the state government, workplaces and individuals can all help make it easier for Victorians to travel by bike and foot when restrictions ease. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support people to keep up the riding and walking beyond lockdown,”Ms Corben said.
VicHealth – Shannon Crane 0432 157 270[email protected]