Published on Mar 7, 2016

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More cycling opportunities might be on the cards for residents and visitors. Cessnock City Council is inviting public comment on the draft Cycling Strategy recently placed on exhibition.

Australia has seen a significant growth in bicycle ownership and use. Australians are enjoying the convenience, enjoyment and widespread health and environmental benefits of cycling for health, recreation and transport. As a result, initiatives to promote and increase this activity have been incorporated into many government agency programs within the portfolios of Health, Roads and Transport, Education, Environment, Tourism, Sport and Local Government.

Cycling is indeed getting serious in NSW, as of last week (1 March 2016) new bike laws have increased penalties for cyclists not wearing a helmet, running red lights, riding dangerously, night riding without lights and bikes without a bell as well as not stopping at pedestrian crossings.

With a strong plan directing the future of cycling networks Cessnock City and the Hunter Valley are also well positioned to become a great cycling destination!

An estimated one per cent of the current 1.15 million visitors to the Hunter Valley Wine Country each year are cyclists, directly contributing around $5.92 million into the local economy—a figure which could more than triple with the construction of Cycleways linking key destinations. New Zealand has paved the way for destinations (including wine regions) to link up and offer cycling as a key mover and experience – and visitation is booming. If cycling can be enhanced here, a whole new segment of visitors can be attracted to Hunter Valley Wine Country.

Cycling can also directly benefit local business in town centres. The $950K grant attracted for the Cessnock CBD Revitalisation project includes bicycle lanes and parking in and around the busy commercial district. Bicycles are seldom affected by traffic congestion around shopping centres and car parks, creating a more enjoyable experience and encouraging patronage in central business areas.

Cessnock City Council’s draft Cycling Strategy is on public exhibition until 25 March 2016. If you have any comments on cycling within the region or have a point of view on how it may affect your business, please consider making a submission. For more information or to view the plan, visit: http://www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/community/exhibition/cyclingstrategy

Cycling facts