If cyclists have their way, the Federal Government should pay them a $5 daily reward for commuting to work and taking the strain off roads and public transport.
The ridiculous suggestion comes in the lead-up to the Federal election from the Bicycle Network which claims to be Australia’s biggest bike riding organisation with more than 50,000 members.
Politicians usually give in to the strong cycling lobby, but if they do this time, then they should also reward motorcyclists.
After all, have they not heard of the Belgian consultancy Transport & Mobility Leuven study that found if 10% of all private cars were replaced by motorcycles, it would reduce traffic congestion by 40%.
If 25% went from steering wheel to handlebar, traffic congestion would cease.
We are all for a carrot rather than a stick approach to social problems, but the Bicycle Network suggestion is ludicrous.
For a start, who would qualify?
What about electric-assisted bicycles, scooters, skateboards, Segways etc?
And with the coming wave of electric motorcycles, should they also be included?
Where do you stop? Three-wheelers?
And how would the payment be made and monitored?
The Bicycle Network suggestion would cost the government $500m a year, but they say it would save more on road and transport infrastructure.
They also claim that for every kilometre cycled, society benefits up to $1.07.
“An average bike commute of around 10km contributes $10, but an average commute by car in Australia costs society up to $9.30,” they claim.
“Rewarding people who ride to work with a $5 bonus will encourage even more people to swap out cars for bikes.
“Keen bike commuters who ride every day could earn up to $1100 a year, while also saving on car and petrol costs.”
Motorcycle Riders Association of Melbourne spokesman Damien Codognotto says bicycles and motorcyclists have a lot in common and agrees that more riders would ease traffic congestion.
“So if pushbike riders are paid $5 per commute motorbike commuters who pay registration and insurance for both their cars and their bikes, should get $5 too,” he says.
“The difference between bicyclists and motorcyclists, in this case, is that we rarely ask for the absurd!”