Bendigo Advertiser: Bike ban back flip
Central Victorian bicycle groups celebrated a victory yesterday with the reversal of the bike ban on country trains. Victorian Transport Minister Lynne Kosky announced the reversal of the policy to ban bikes on peak services on V/Line and Connex trains and further investigation into developing bicycle storage facilities at stations. The policy, which came into effect on January 1 this year, resulted in an outcry from regional bike commuters.
They argued the blanket ban across the state made no sense when V/Locity trains were equipped with bike storage areas and it was metropolitan services that were suffering from the overcrowding problem.
The government will develop a program to build 20 bike cages for longer-term storage at train stations, but it was uncertain if any of these would be for regional centres.
Castlemaine Bicycle Users Group convenor Jill Gibson said it was a great win for commonsense and people who had consciously made the move to more sustainable alternative transport.
‘‘I think Connex, V/Line and the minister were taken by surprise by just how strong the opposition to this policy was, how many cyclists there were and how passionate their response was,’’ she said.
Ms Gibson said the protests were also a great example of a community-driven campaign eager to see support for the lifestyle changes they had chosen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
‘‘What this also shows is just how strong the consciousness is of these issues and that people in our community are making the choices,’’ she said.
Bendigo Bicycle Users Group president Keith Longridge said commuters would be pleased with the rethink and looked forward to more support in the form of storage facilities from the new positive relationship between the government and bicycle user groups.
‘‘I’d like to give credit to the government for the reversal when the issues were brought to their attention,’’ he said.
He said the blanket ban might have been an easy contractual change for Connex to negotiate with the government, but its impact on those who used the service had been huge.
V/Line spokesman Daniel Maloney said he hoped the prominence of the issue would develop a culture of mutual respect between train users, particularly when there were more bikes than they had storage facilities for.