The Shaolhaven Bicycle User Group(SBUG) has welcomed the decision by Shoalhaven City Council to develop the Shoalhaven Bike Plan. The decision was made by council’s Policy, Resources and Reserves Committee at their meeting on Tuesday 12 June 2012.

Vice President of SBUG, Bob Lavender said, “That a Shoalhaven Bike Plan will provide a prioritised approach to cycling planning, particularly the development of bicycle route networks and cycling tourism”.

The Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group has worked with Shoalhaven City Council staff for many years on the development of the Shoalhaven Bicycle Strategy (1997) and the Shoalhaven Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan (2001) to enhance cycling facilities with the area. With the implementation of the NSW Bike Plan in 2010, the SBUG have been promoting the notion that council needs to align it planning with this state plan (PAMP does not really achieve this!) and that the council take a more strategic approach to catering for cycling for transport, recreation, health, tourism and sport.

In recent representation to Council by the Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group, they have expressed the following reasons why Council should have a Bike Plan: to provide a holistic and prioritised approach to cycling planning, including supporting infrastructure, education and benefits to local business/tourism;

• to attract greater grant funding to develop the Shoalhaven bicycle route network;

• to encourage community input and ownership and greater use of the Shoalhaven bicycle route network; and

• to improve the current level of maintenance and infrastructure appointments (i.e. signage, line marking, etc.) of the Shoalhaven bicycle route network.

The Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group supports the VISION and OBJECTIVES outlined in the Shoalhaven City Council discussion paper. The vision is to create a safe and accessible bicycle route network that where possible builds on existing assets and works towards connecting key cycling destinations and encourages people of all ages to use their bicycles for everyday transportation and recreation. While the objectives are;

• to encourage community input, ownership and greater use of the Shoalhaven bicycle route network;

• to provide a safe, continuous and convenient bicycle route network with supporting infrastructure;

• integrate with other key planning documents;

• to promote bicycle route networks with land use planning and other modes of transport;

• to foster bike riding as an alternative and active transport option for short trips and a tourism feature of the Shoalhaven; and

• to guide and prioritise development of the Shoalhaven bicycle route network.

The Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group strongly supports the key stages to develop a Bike Plan outlined in this report.SBUG particularly endorse the need for strong, ongoing and meaningful discussion with all community stake holders across the council area. SBUG also believe that a whole of council approach and 1-3 year strategic cycle will be significant in developing safe and coherent bicycle route network.

“Taken that Shoalhaven City Council has limited resources and you are beholding to spend your rate monies wisely, we believe that this strategic approach, with its objectives and specific short term goals will have ability to create a cycling infrastructure and culture in the Shoalhaven that will have real benefits for our residents and businesses for many years to come”, said Mr. Lavender.