As the year winds up and as our next In the Loop won't be published until 1 February, it's a good time to look back on the cycling advancements in Tassie over the past year.
This feels like the year when the Coastal Pathway has finally come together.
Paths from Leith to Tuners Beach, Ulverstone to West Ulverstone, Don to Leith and through Penguin to Sulphur Creek have all been delivered.
The missing path in this section through Turners Beach has been designed, and bike riders will be able to travel for around 36km on shared paths from Latrobe to West Ulverstone.
And work has started on the much-anticipated Wynyard to Cooee section on the old rail line.
Kingborough starts fitting together
Kingborough Council’s vision for an off-road path network also came to fruition in 2023.
The upgraded three-metre-wide sealed Whitewater Creek path between Summerleas and Huon roads opened at the start of the year and included the underpass under Huon Road.
Planning and design of an underpass at Summerleas Road is nearly complete and construction is due to begin in 2024. When it’s finished, people will be able to ride between Huntingfield and Kingston without having to cross a road.
State government funding was also announced recently for a compacted gravel path that will connect the Whitewater Creek path with the sports precinct and for wider bike lanes on Channel Highway through Taroona.
State government funding started to flow
This year saw around $7 million delivered in the first rounds of the state government’s Better Active Transport grant programs for Hobart and the rest of the state, and the announcement of the Open Spaces grants.
These grant programs provide funding to local councils to build All Ages and Abilities (AAA) cycling infrastructure on local roads. The second round of funding is open and more funding will be announced in 2024.
Back on your Bike re-funded
Our popular and much-needed adult bike education program, Back on your Bike, has been refunded for part-time operation for another two years.
Bicycle Network has proudly worked with hundreds of people and the support of organisations including RecLink, the Women’s Friendship Circle and local councils to get more people riding again.
The Back on your Bike work was one of the reasons Bicycle Network was awarded a Tasmanian Community Achievement Award this year.
E-bikes get the nod
The Tasmanian Government responded to our call for e-bike support to be part of its climate change action plan with the launch of a $200,000 rebate scheme for e-bikes and e-scooters.
The e-bike rebates are being offered in four rounds of $50,000 from 17 November 2023 to 17 February 2024.
What wasn’t so rosy
The Tasman Bridge project was held up by the federal government’s review of infrastructure funding around the country. It’s now been given the tick of approval but is several months behind schedule.
Four years after they were approved by Hobart Council, we are still waiting to see the separated bike lanes on Campbell Street and connecting streets. Work has finally started and we should see the lanes finished and opened in the new year.
The North East Rail Trail was delayed again by a second planning appeal and we are waiting for the council to announce the next steps. The trail has been listed as one of the council's priority projects in 2024-25.