Tasmania’s first public, free e-bike chargers were activated in Hobart last week.
The City of Hobart council has installed two e-bike charging bays at the Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre, as part of a reconfigured parking space for regular bikes near the centre’s entrance.
Hobart’s Sustainability in Infrastructure Portfolio Chair, Councillor Bill Harvey, said the aquatic centre was chosen as the location for the first charging stations, to encourage a more diverse range of transport to the facility.
The council says usage of the e-bike chargers will be monitored and will guide decisions on further installations of stations.
The stations can be used to charge bikes, e-scooters and other personal mobility devices and Bill says their introduction to Hobart is another positive step in the Sustainable Hobart Plan and the Hobart Transport Strategy.
“Projects like this give another reason for residents to leave the car at home and make it easier to use alternative transport,” he said.
“This helps free up our arterial roads from traffic congestion and provides a viable, healthier alternative to driving.
“From our research from the recent e-scooter trial, more than 20% of car journeys in some of our most congested suburbs are travelling under one kilometre, which makes e-bikes, e-scooters and other personal mobility devices perfect alternatives.
“The chargers will be connected to our network, where we will be able to record data of its usage, and which will assist us in determining if further e-bike chargers will be installed in the future.”
Cycling advocacy group Bicycle Network says the new charging stations are a welcome step in encouraging more people to ride for transport.
The group’s public affairs manager – Tasmania, Alison Hetherington, said while most e-bike trips can be made without extra charging, the stations will be useful for people who forget to charge their bike, commuters and tourists riding long distances and bikes with low battery capacity.
“E-Bikes could be an alternative to some car travel but we need separated cycleways and secure bike parking if more people are going to make that choice,” Alison said.
Cycleway First for Hobart
Hobart residents have until Monday (22nd May) to provide their feedback on the proposed introduction of Hobart’s first bollard-separated cycleway.
City of Hobart has lodged a development application for a separated cycleway on Campbell Street, between Brisbane and Davey streets and including two connecting separated cycleways on Liverpool and Bathurst streets, between Campbell and Argyle streets.
The bollards will be complemented by painted buffers to provide separation between traffic and cycleway users.
Under the proposal, Argyle Street will also get a few short sections of separation but hospital and car park entrances prevented any infrastructure between Macquarie and Liverpool streets to create an all ages and abilities route like Campbell Street.
A statement by the council says on-street parking spaces will become clearways during peak-hour traffic to make way for the cycleway.
It says the cycleways are the “first step in a plan to encourage less confident riders to move through the city”.
“They have been designed to an all ages and abilities standard, rather than the painted lanes typically used elsewhere in Hobart.
Plans for the separated cycleway were first released by the council in December 2019 but were delayed by the Covid pandemic, as well as funding and design requirements.
Bicycle Network strongly supports City of Hobart’s moves to introduce the first on-road cycleway in the city but says there are a few elements of the plan that could be improved, including:
- Realigning the cycleway at the Collins Street intersection to mitigate a conflict with buses frequently turning across Campbell Street
- Improving links to Rose Garden Bridge