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Tas State Election 2014 and Cycling Policies

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ride-vote-buttonWell if you're (a) still tuning in and (b) believe the hype, then the upcoming Tasmania State Election is all about jobs, jobs, jobs and a few other things.
 
Whilst I don't know about that, from what I've seen it's pretty clear that cycling certainly isn't on anyone's "vote winning" radar.  Mind you after the big cash splash out on mountain bike trails in the north east at the last Federal Election that's probably no real surprise.

I'm not professing to have an encyclopedic coverage of bicycle related policies for this election, but here's a few announcements I've noticed.

Rather unsurprisingly, the Greens would appear to be the front runners having announced $23.3 million towards building part of the Battery Point Cycleway and in the only purely cycle-trail focussed announcement I've seen in this election, they have also announced $500,000 towards kick starting the North East Rail Trail development.  I guess the question is ... what will they actually be able to deliver?

The Labor Party has seen the light on the "a metre matters" campaign and pledged back in February to implement the minimum one-metre passing legislation if they get re-elected.  In the fine print however it goes on to say that it is only a trial that will be implemented.  

The Liberals have also announced an improved Road Safety policy where they sort of, kind of, promise to refer some ideas  about running a beefed up "Share the Road" campaign to improve road safety for cyclists, and there's mention of improving signage in high use areas and referring the "a metre matters" idea to the Road Safety Advisory Council for them to consider.  This particular election policy comes with no budget attached however.

You also have to wonder about the commitment to cyclists when you read their Infrastructure Tasmania which in its four glossy pages manages to talk all about how they will provide a coordinated approach to the planning and delivery of all major infrastructure in Tasmania, including rail, major roads, energy, ports, and water and sewerage ... but which has not one mention of the inclusion of cycling infrastructure in this grand plan.

But don't despair if you think this is a Liberal bashing, Green supporting diatribe because I'm now going to go out on a limb and award the most interesting policy commitment for cycling to .... the Liberals for their "Unlocking the Potential in our Parks".  Yep, a lot of people may see this as a terrible thing, but I'm an optimist and see this as an opportunity to potentially improve mountain bike access to our reserves and National Parks and having seen this done really well in other parts of the world, I can get excited about that idea ... which is not something i can really say about the rest of the election period.

But on that little (tongue in cheek) bombshell, I leave you to ponder how you will vote in the election on Saturday night ... knowing that it probably won't be cycling announcements that sway your vote anyway.

PS. If you want to actually read some facts about bicycling in this campaign, check out Bicycle Tasmania's slightly more informed information.

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