Bendigo becomes Australia's first Bicycle Friendly Community
Greater Bendigo has become the first community in Australia to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, accredited by CycleLifeHQ.
Bendigo’s silver accreditation recognises Bendigo's community engagement and bicycle education, the inclusion of bicycle facilities as part of road infrastructure projects, maintenance of off-road cycling facilities and the integration of bicycle planning with community facilities.
The Bicycle Friendly Community accreditation program has been run in the United States for more than two decades by the League of American Bicyclists, with more than 430 Bicycle Friendly Communities recognised in the US. Canberra cycle tourism business CycleLifeHQ is responsible for Bicycle Friendly certification in Australia and New Zealand.
The accreditation report recommends the establishment of a Bicycle Advisory Group, the introduction of a Bicycle Friendly Business scheme, the implementation of additional policies and regulations to improve cyclist safety, and improved safe and separated cycle infrastructure.
City Regional Sustainable Development Manager Trevor Budge said the City aspires to lead the way as Australia's regional cycling capital.
“The City has worked hard in recent years through the development of the Connecting Greater Bendigo: Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy (ITLUS), creating shared walking and cycling paths and providing bike parking facilities,” Mr Budge said.
“We have created a number of bike underpasses to link our suburbs together with off road bike paths as well as constructing the O’Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote in the last few years.”
CycleLifeHQ Global Operations Manager Anna Gurnhill said Bicycle Friendly accreditation helped towns and cities to benchmark themselves and track their progress.
“It also provides a competitive advantage for branding and marketing purposes to encourage more locals to ride bikes, and also to attract more cycle tourists,” Ms Gurnill said.
Bendigo will also host two major cycling conferences in 2018, cementing its reputation as a leading bike-friendly destination. In October it will host the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference and the Bicycle Tourism Conference sponsored by CyclelifeHQ, both of which have never been hosted in Victoria before.