The West

Phone app shows crash black spots
Phone app shows crash black spots

Building bike paths is one thing, maintenance is another.

A map-based interactive technology has identified dangerous flaws in Perth's cycling network - including paths that end abruptly or are cracked or covered with vegetation.

Greens WA launched its "bike black spot" smartphone application this year, allowing cyclists to send photographs and descriptions of unsafe conditions to a website and Transport Minister Troy Buswell.

Almost 600 sites were identified with most considered dangerous for cyclists.

As a result, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam wants a dedicated State Budget allocation for the maintenance of bike path infrastructure, especially for the biggest concern - 149 "danger zones".

These are where paths end abruptly (for example, Curtin Avenue, Mosman Park, and Railway Parade, Cannington) or are poorly designed, with blind corners and sharp turns (Berrigan Drive, South Lake or at Langford Sports Centre).

There are also intersections and roundabouts that are difficult for cyclists to cross safely (Hepburn Avenue, Sorrento, and The Boulevard, Floreat).

The second-biggest concern is the lack of a cycle path.

The 89 notifications include Curtin Avenue, North Fremantle, Canning Highway and South Terrace, Fremantle, William Street, North Perth, and Scarborough Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn.

A lack of maintenance was the third big concern with 87 notifications, including paths with cracks, potholes, vegetation, pools of water, sand and broken glass.

There are also concerns about poor signs and obstacles on bike paths, including fire hydrants, parked vehicles, power poles and kerbs.

The last WA Budget allocated $28 million for cycling infrastructure over two years.

But Senator Ludlam said there was strong evidence of serious maintenance problems on the network that indicated a history of neglect. In its pending cycling strategy, the Greens will argue for 3 per cent of WA's transport budget - or $64.2 million - to go to cycling infrastructure, including about $1 million on maintenance.

Cyclists' Action Group president Bruce Robinson said broken glass on roads and bike paths was a major problem.

Regular cyclists carried a spare tube, tyre levers and a pump, so a puncture was a nuisance and a delay.

Less regular cyclists might not know how to repair a tyre and punctures were a big reason many gave up cycling.

He said broken glass was also a serious safety risk.

Mr Robinson said bottle deposit legislation would reduce broken glass on roads, as it seemed to in South Australia.

The West Australian

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