Victorians will go to the polls on Saturday, and so Bicycle Users Geelong has contacted the candidates up for election in each of the districts in the Geelong region.  Each candidate was asked about their position on cycling issues so that we could present the responses to Geelong region cyclists, allowing them to make a more informed choice on Saturday.

Candidates were asked two things:

  1. What would they do to promote cycling for transport, sport and recreation if they were elected.
  2. Would they support legislation to modify existing sections of the Victorian Road Rules such that a motorist must maintain a minimum safe distance of one metre between their vehicle and a cyclist whilst overtaking, as is advocated by Safe Cycling Australia.

The responses from the candidates are listed below.

Bellarine District
Candidates Response
Klaus Clapinski
Issue 1: You have given some good reasons why cycling should be promoted in the community. The very young and very old could not be expected to participate in cycling daily to the extent that most could. DLP policy is to have free public transport and this would certainly free up the roads for cyclists but there will always be particular reasons why cycling would be inappropriate for different people at one time or another. I do agree that recreational cycling is great for physical well being and fitness (it is not as damaging on the joints as jogging or
marathons) and should be encouraged by building and maintaining bike paths. Perhaps free public transport and bicycles could share a fixed time slot on particular roads which are then car free? Have ideas like that been tried anywhere and if so, how do they work? Basically, my answer is yes, I would support laws which promote cycling but with as much investigation of any side effects as possible so we can all be assured that the cost of any changes is outweighed by the benefits.Issue 2: There was a study done by one of the Victorian universities and the results released very recently showed that in 90% of bicycle/car collisions, the car was found to be at fault so clearly drivers need educating and it certainly seems necessary to legislate for a legal minimum car/bicycle separation when cars pass bicycles.
>From a cyclists point of view, the ideal would be for cars to change
lanes if safe to do so whenever passing a cyclist because even if a cyclist falls into the traffic lane it would not be fatal.
It seems to me that the study I mentioned above could shed a lot of light on ways of making the roads less hazardous for cyclists while not making it unnecessarily more hazardous for motorists.
One metre separation, as mentioned in your web-site, is not always safe.
There should probably be a larger margin when the difference in speed is greater and less when it is smaller but that is getting a bit complicated but maybe 1 metre in 60kph, 1.25m in 80kph and 1.5m in 100kph zones might work (depending on the physics). The main thing is to make drivers aware that a real gap is necessary. By the way, there is good physics explaining why a bike actually gets pushed into the path of a car/truck if it passes at high speed. I would support legislation of this kind.
Lara Duff
No response.
Lisa Neville
No response.
Stephen Juhasz
No response.
Judy Baldacchino AUSTRALIAN GREENS No response.
Mitch CherrySOCIALIST ALLIANCE No response.
Kurt ReiterLIBERAL Kurt indicated that we had not allowed much time for a proper response, particularly in the last week before an election when candidates are so busy.  We agree we should have contacted candidates sooner, and appreciate how busy candidates must be.
Kurt went on to say:
A response to these questions ought come from the Coalition and not individual Candidates.
That said – please feel free to speak to Barton van Laars
(Bike Safe) or Tom O’Connor (Bike Safe) with regard to my personal commitment to cycling in the Bellarine. I am confident you would be very happy with my personal views but again, I am not able to respond to this given the format nor timeframe. Sorry.
Nick McCallum
No response.


Geelong District
Candidates Response
Alastair ThomsonLIBERAL No response.
Bruce LindsayAUSTRALIAN GREENS In response to your questions below, I’ve attached the media statement I put out recently (and was reported in the Advertiser) regarding the Greens support for more cycling infrastructure and support in Geelong. Specifically, there are a few key measures that I think are needed to provide real support for cycling, especially as a general form of transport. These include:
– establishment of an integrated and as far as practicable segregated bicycle lane/track network throughout Geelong;
– creating safer areas around schools, especially primary schools, to encourage children to ride;
– as part of a wider overhaul and expansion of PT in Geelong, provide buses that can carry bicycles and thus assist to integrated bike and PT networks;
– provide more publicly-available secure bike parking.
I am more than happy to support amendment to roads legislation along the lines you mention, although development of separated bike lanes would be preferable over time as a means of ensuring greater safety.
I am a regular cyclist myself, including as an everyday means of transport.
Ian TreziseAUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY No response.
Samantha SchultzIndependent No response.
Len LengyelFAMILY FIRST No response.
Matthew SchmidtCOUNTRY ALLIANCE No response.


Lara District
Candidates Response
Glenn Colla
As a cyclist myself I can relate to your passion for cycling and I also experience the frustration due to dangers of sharing the road with other vehicles.
1.       I’m certainly a supporter of cycling for transport, sport and recreation.
2.       I would support a one metre safety distance between a cyclist and motor vehicle when overtaking.
Some other related transport issues you may be interested to know:
FAMILY FIRST recognises the different transport needs of metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria as well as the increasing inequity between inner city residents
and Victorians in the outer suburbs and regions. Families in the outer suburbs and regions have fewer transport options and scarce public transport services are
spread over wider geographic areas.
FAMILY FIRST wants Victoria’s rail network improved so that key growth corridors have a viable and safe alternative to road transport.

– FAMILY FIRST calls for a feasibility study for a tunnel connecting the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway.
– FAMILY FIRST wants Victoria’s most dangerous and congested intersections and railway crossings improved.
– FAMILY FIRST calls for more incentives and strategies to encourage families to use the metropolitan transport system Metlink, particularly on weekends.
– FAMILY FIRST wants guards on trains for safety and security.
– FAMILY FIRST wants conductors on all trams for safety reasons and to reduce fare evasion.
– FAMILY FIRST wants Zone 2 tickets in the Metcard system abolished with a new one zone system implemented, making public transport cheaper for people in the outer suburbs. This would reduce traffic congestion, cut pollution and lead to fewer road accidents.

Rob LeachAUSTRALIAN GREENS No response.
Keith McDermottCOUNTRY ALLIANCE No response.
Robert EytonLIBERAL Robert has replied to indicate that he will be responding.


Polwarth District
Candidates Response
John ModraFAMILY FIRST No response.
Garry KerrCOUNTRY ALLIANCE No response.
Terry MulderLIBERAL No response.
Brian CrookAUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY No response.
Natalie AtherdenAUSTRALIAN GREENS On question 1:
I would do whatever was in my power to increase the number of bike lanes in urban areas and bike paths, in urban areas and between small satellite towns in rural areas. Many rural workers and students would ride to work or school if they had access to safe paths on which to do so.I would take a leaf out of the Greens “people plan for Melbourne’s” book applying the following where they are relevant to Geelong and the rest of Polwarth. The people plan calls for;More publicly funded research into bicycle network infrastructure options, as a basis for supporting investment decisions;
Planning bike routes to be well-integrated with main transport routes;
Proper separation between bikes and cars across the whole bike network. This means making many on-road bike lanes wider, painting them green, and separating them from other traffic by ‘rumble edges’;
Ensuring that bike lanes do not disappear at intersections;
More early-start green signals for bikes at intersections;
The building of more bike cages on popular commuter routes, especially near train stations and schools.

I would aim to be an advocate for cyclists not only in Polwarth but anywhere in Victoria.

On question 2:
This distance would appear to be ideal for ensuring cyclist safety on shared roadways and as such I heartily endorse it.

Grant BealeIndependent No response.


South Barwon District
Candidates Response
John Dobinson, Independent No response.
Alan BarronD.L.P. There is enough emphasis on using bikes both at a state and local level. (I ride a bike myself). To be frank, the Geelong Council pushes this issue for all its worth. I’ll leave it to them. I don’t agree with Copenhagen style bike lanes and am totally opposed to them.  My focus is on providing free public transport (not everyone is fit enough to ride a bike – don’t forget that).  People should be allowed to make up their own mind as to how they want to get around. The government is getting very intrusive, it now tells us what we can eat, how to more environmentally friendly at home etc. People are being manipulated in so many ways and I don’t intend to add to that list.
(In response to the question of 1 metre minimum passing distance becoming law…)
I’d be prepared to look at this issue. It all depends how the laws are framed. In essence I support it yes.
Keith OakleyIndependent No response.
Andrew Katos
No response.
Kathleen O’ConnorFAMILY FIRST No response.
Michael CrutchfieldAUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY Yes to question 2 and as a irregular rider myself I understand some of the issues. I have been in constant contact with Barton van laar (Bike Safe) and Gerrard Mulally (Bike Barwon) about your issues and progress is being made. The criterium track, moorabool st bridge, a recent commitment to the linking of 13th beach rd and blackgate rd and additional signage are tangible projects and of course there are many others that i am working on. happy to keep working with cycling groups if lucky enough to be re-elected.
Heather WellingtonIndependent I strongly support healthy sport and recreation.  I would generally support programs and policies which promote such activities.
I have just returned from Oxford which is the most amazing bicycle city.  I can see how it works much better than it does in Melbourne and Geelong.
I think leaving a metre between a car and a bike when overtaking seems like basic common sense to avoid accidents, and I would have no objection to such legislation.
I believe some cyclists do not act responsibly, and I would support ongoing education about safe cycling.
Tony LeenCOUNTRY ALLIANCE No response.
Simon NortheastAUSTRALIAN GREENS I understand that Bruce Lindsay, Greens candidate for Geelong has responded to your email and essentially outlined the Greens position on cycling.
I am also particularly interested in supporting Bike Safe’s efforts to bring attention to the need for investment to address recognised hazard roads along the proposed ‘Great Coastal Cycling Route’.  Parts of the route are used by all major cycling events including ‘Round the Bay’ ride, “Amy’s Ride on the Bellarine Peninsula’, the ‘Ford Otway Cycling Classic’ and ‘2XU Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride’ to name a few.  The quality and reputation of cycling friendly roads along the route is critical to attracting major cycling events, and the economic spoils, to our region.
This popular, on road cycling route takes in some of Australia’s most iconic attractions; the Great Ocean Road, Bells Beach, Waterfront Geelong, historic Queenscliff, the Surf Coast, Lorne and Apollo Bay – all hugging our magnificent coastline. Development of the Great Coastal Cycling Route will ensure it is a world renowned cycling destination, creating Green jobs in all levels of the tourism industry.
Bike Safe needs funding of $5 million from both the Federal Government and State/Local government.  It will be a great boost to the South Barwon electorate as it will improve the roads for both cyclists and motorists.
In regards to your point on legislation, we would support such a move but also, as Bruce points out, we also promote separated bike lanes.
Once we have a safer environment for cyclists, cycling will increase and this will be a great thing.

Bicycle Users Geelong would like to thank all the candidates that replied for their responses.

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