Proposed changes to legislation to allow cycling on footpaths

Letter to minister dated 20th March 2015

This is a copy of the letter sent to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure regarding proposals to change cycling laws

Hon Stephen Mullighan MP
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure
GPO Box 1533

Email: minister.mullighan@sa.gov.au;
Email 2: dpti.newcyclinglaws@sa.gov.au;

20 March 2015

SUBJECT: New cycling laws

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter dated 15th March 2015 in which you outlined the government's proposal to change cycling laws, and in particular to change legislation to allow cycling for all ages on the footpaths.

COTA SA has had a number of older people raise this issue with us. They have expressed concern that the proposed change will make walking unsafe for older South Australians, as well as for people with a disability, those with small children, and those with vision impairment.

Walking is the most significant form of physical recreation for older people. It is estimated that, for those aged 75 years and over, walking accounts for 77 per cent of their total physical activity. And as people age, and use their cars less, their access to local services, shops and public transport is through walking. Walking becomes increasingly important for not only health but also for social participation.

At the same time, COTA SA recognises that many older people are themselves bike riders and need to be and feel safe while they are cycling.

Therefore, before introducing legislation, COTA SA recommends that the government:

  • undertake a review that establishes the evidence on:
    o cyclist safety when on roadsides as opposed to footpaths
    o the impacts of cyclists using footpaths on pedestrian safety
  • consider other measures that will increase both cyclist and pedestrian safety that may be put in place instead of - or if the evidence supports it - alongside new legislation
  • consider options that allow, again if the evidence supports it, cyclist access to footpaths in some areas, but not in pedestrian-intensive areas such as city centre malls
  • work with local government to increase the number of bikeways and the number of two-lane shared pedestrian and cyclist paths across the metropolitan area and in country centres and mandate both in new developments.

COTA SA looks forward to ongoing dialogue with the government on this issue.

Yours sincerely

Jane Mussared
Chief Executive

Download a copy of the letter in pdf format