Bikes an issue in council polls

Victoria’s booming population of bike riders could play a decisive role in this year’s council elections.

More than 1.1 million Victorians ride a bike each week, forming a formidable voting block with a strong inclination to back candidates who support better facilities for riders.

To marshal support for pro-bike candidates, Bicycle Network Victoria has launched ‘Votebike’ — an online system that allows a candidate in the forthcoming local government elections to present their credentials directly to riders.

Votebike gives all candidates direct access to nearly 50,000 Bicycle Network Victoria members, and to all other bike riders in the State.

Candidates’ bike policies will be able to be scrutinised and assessed against the priorities promoted by Bicycle Network, which has no party affiliation but wants members to know who is going vote for bike riding measures if they become a councillor.

“Riders are eager to assess potential councillors for their attitude and policy solutions for Victoria’s rapidly accelerating population of bike riders,” according to Bicycle Network Victoria CEO, Harry Barber. “And improved local bike facilities is one of the top issues with voters this year.

“The next four years will determine whether local government can push hard on bike riding in order to tackle congestion, meet their health policies and do something practical about climate change,” he added.

Votebike enables candidates to fill in a web form that places their information in front of riders residing in that electoral area. Riders can then review the candidate’s statements and contact candidates if they wish.

Mr Barber said candidates were being encouraged to submit their statements on the site as quickly as possible.

The candidate form can be found on the Bicycle Network Victoria homepage and at votebike.com.au