made to the Mayor and Council, City of Greater Geelong, by Cycling Geelong Inc.
22 February 2014
This submission has been written by the President and the Secretary of Cycling Geelong Inc.
Our contribution to debating and planning cycling infrastructure in the Geelong region is that we consider this in a context of developing the region as an important cycling destination for local people, for people across Australia more broadly, and as part of our international tourism strategy. We would like to encourage more systematic focus on establishing the business case for this, and for planning infrastructure to support the development of a strong image of the region as a safe and enjoyable place to cycle. We suggest there is value in Council considering developing such a business case and planning details for the Greater Geelong LGA.
Our contention is that there is a strong business case for Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsular to position itself as an important cycling destination both nationally and internationally. Our contention is based on:
- We have an interesting and scenic region where the terrain is friendly to cycling;
- We already have a strong cycling infrastructure in the region that can only get better, and on which we could base a much broader cycling strategy;
- We have a large number of eating establishments, wineries and accommodation options for cyclists;
- We have small towns and villages that are not far apart for cyclists;
- We have a good cycling climate in all seasons, but one that provides northern hemisphere cyclists with cycling touring options during their winter.
- We already have a national and international profile in cycling with a number of high profile champions over the years and the successful UCI event in 2010.
There is evidence that cyclists as tourists are good spenders since they move slowly enough through a region to make good use of eating and accommodation businesses as they go, and since cyclists can carry only a limited amount on their bicycle such that they need to source most of their supplies locally.
The UK-based CTC report at http://www.ctc.org.uk/sites/default/files/file_public/economybrf.pdf provides some excellent examples of economic value of cycling to rural and regional communities, and how that value can be strategically leveraged. The evaluation of economic value of cycling to communities in Europe and the US is also provided in a number of reports available at http://cyclingresourcecentre.org.au/page/evaluation_monitoring/cycling_benefits_economic.
In short, strong cycling participation by local people and by tourists adds considerable value to a local economy.
Accordingly, our suggestion is that in our region we should be planning bicycle infrastructure in a strategic context to position and promote the region as a highly attractive destination for safe, enjoyable, and well supported cycling tourism and participation. We further suggest that funding a process to develop a business case and a planning process would be an investment well made in our community.
Peter Smith David Jones
President, Cycling Geelong Secretary, Cycling Geelong
Editor’s note: This is Cycling Geelong’s official response to the Mayor and Councillors of The City of Greater Geelong who will vote on funding for the Principal Bicycle Network at next Tuesday evening’s Council Meeting.