In response to calls to allow teenagers and adults to cycle on footpaths, Victoria Walks commissioned transport consultants MRCagney to review research on footpath cycling. Currently in Victoria only children under 12 and accompanying adults can ride on footpaths.
The report concluded:
- “Advocacy for footpath cycling appears to be based on the misconception that it is safer. Footpath cycling is accompanied by a distinct set of safety risks for cyclists, particularly associated with visibility between motor vehicles and cyclists at intersections and driveways.”
- “There is no clear evidence that cycling on footpaths is safer than cycling on the street”
- “… crash risks for cyclists may be higher on the footpath than on the road.”
- “…the presence of cyclists on footpaths is a real concern for people walking, particularly for elderly or other vulnerable users such as the vision impaired.”
In a survey of 1,128 Victorians aged 60 or over, 39% identified bicycle riders on shared paths as a moderate or major constraint to their walking (Victoria Walks, 2015).
Older people are particularly vulnerable on footpaths that are shared with cyclists. We want to encourage older people to walk, and as people age walking and accessing public transport becomes increasingly important. The issue of cycling safety is a concern for COTA Victoria, but solutions should not be at cost of safety for pedestrians. Riding infrastructure must be prioritised.
For media coverage of this issue see: