Safe bike path presentation resonated with council

Realistic rider: Cycle Club president Min McDonald is being realistic about the push for a safe designated bike path network in Tamworth, particularly with the city about to receive a state of the art cycling facility at the Sports Dome.
Realistic rider: Cycle Club president Min McDonald is being realistic about the push for a safe designated bike path network in Tamworth, particularly with the city about to receive a state of the art cycling facility at the Sports Dome.

Three years ago Tamworth Regional Council drew up and published a Regional Bike Plan, and Mayor Col Murray believes “there is now an appetite to progress that plan”, both within council and the community.

The plan was put back in the spotlight by local campaigner Greg Johnstone, who took a presentation to TRC’s Community Forum on Tuesday night following an incident which saw his 77 year old mother, Judy, hit by a truck in Westdale, suffering serious injuries.

Mr Johnstone asked Council to roll out an educational program for all road users based around the A metre matters campaign, as well as to consider putting the safe bike network on the agenda.

The 2014 plan was developed as a “long-term strategy for the development of safe cycling within the Tamworth region in a coordinated and strategic approach that provides cycling infrastructure and promotional programs to the community.”

“Greg’s presentation was very good and it resonated with a few of the councillors,” Mr Murray said.

“The discussion has been around for many years, although it hasn’t reached that level of being the hottest priority with council for the time, although now times have changed again and there is a bit of an appetite to progress it.”

President of the Tamworth Cycle Club Min McDonald said that while the club is right behind the movement, and would love to see it implemented, they understand that the cycling community needs to be realistic.

“It is great to see a community member like Greg (Johnstone) take a proactive approach to cycle safety. The awareness and education campaign is a great initiative in that regard,” Mrs McDonald said.

“We understand that council have a number of priorities to balance. They have invested a lot into the new cycle facility going in at the Sportsdome, which will be open to the general public and provide a great space to develop skills and education.” 

Mr Murray said that while it is a fairly complex idea, the next step will be for TRC to have an internal discussion, before looking at resources for grant applications.