The Australian government has named the first projects that will benefit from its AU$40 million National Bike Paths Fund.
Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese said $5.4m would go to the Sydney cycle path network and $2.2m to Tasmanian projects.
In Sydney, the government will partner with 15 local councils to deliver $12.8m for 22 projects. Click here for a full list.
Six cycling infrastructure projects in Tasmania will benefit – in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, St Helens, Prospect Vale, Strahan and Tullah – with an extra $2.1m provided by local councils. Click here for a full list.
Mr Albanese said: "These projects are exactly what our Economic Stimulus Plan is all about. They will immediately support 281 local jobs while leaving a lasting legacy for the community through facilities that will encourage healthier lifestyles."
The news was welcomed by the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA), Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) and Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), who urged the minister to consider making the fund an annual programme.
CPF spokesman Stephen Hodge said: "This investment comes at a time of increasing awareness of cycling as a great way to increase our everyday physical activity. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. More bikes are sold each year than cars … we just need the paths to ride on and thanks to this government more will be built."
PHAA chief executive officer Michael Moore said: "This investment in cycle paths by the Australian Government will encourage physical activity in the community and thereby help to reduce the growing burden on health and hospital systems across the country."
In 2008, 1.93 million Australians rode a bike – a 21 percent increase on the year before – and bicycle sales outstripped motor vehicle sales for the ninth year in a row.
Census figures show a 28 percent increase in riding to work in Australia's state capitals, which tend to have superior levels of bicycle infrastructure.
More than half of all car trips in Australian cities are under 5km and 30 percent are less than 3km – ideal distances for travelling by bike.