A PROPOSED bike path linking Mornington Tourist Railway at Moorooduc with Civic Reserve at Mornington would be ideal for walking and running as well as cycling – all healthy pastimes in an increasingly frenetic world.
Backers of the aptly named Mornington Safelink want support for their project which they say is “shovel ready”.
“Most of the work has been done – it just requires lots of public encouragement to get up and going,” proponent Graeme Rocke said.
Backers of the path see it is a logical extension of the PenLink trail that now ends at Moorooduc. The aim is to link Mornington’s shops, schools, sports fields, residential areas and commercial precincts and provide active and healthy recreation options.
Cross-over points on Bungower and Mornington-Tyabb roads will give school children and the elderly or disabled extra safety.
“The peninsula is growing, both in young families and an ageing population,” Mr Rocke said. “We experience an extraordinary number of visitors every year.
“Obesity rates are rising, and the technology age is having an impact, particularly in school children. Roads are busier than ever, often reaching capacity during the day, and this makes them unsafe for any road user other than a vehicle.
“Frustration levels are rising. Mental health is having its highest impact on society ever.”
To ease these issues communities need to be more connected, Mr Rocke said. “People need to be able to move between areas safely to catch up for a walk, teach the kids how to ride a bike, or walk the dog. Community groups need to be able to operate in a safe environment.”
Mr Rocke said the obvious benefits of cycling were fitness and improved health. “The benefits go well beyond the fitness of the individual,” he said. “Riding bikes is now a family activity and covers all age groups. Off-road pathways have made cycling for families a regular weekend ‘must do’.”
Advances in technology over the past 10 years had seen the sales of electric bikes soar. More people can participate and be part of the bike-riding community.
“The feeling of wellbeing from riding bikes lifts people emotionally,” he said. “Riding in groups builds social inclusion within the community.
“Bike riders are a friendly lot: when we stop for a coffee or drink at the top of a hill inevitably we talk to other riders about the journey we have been on, which extends beyond the track or trail of the day to sharing life stories.
“If you want fitness, health and wellbeing and like meeting new people, then bike riding on our community paths is your must-do activity.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire has in-principle support from Melbourne Water, Vic Track, Cultural Heritage for the proposed path which will feature ecological vegetation coups, made up of quality regrowth vegetation from when the original railway was developed in the late 1800s.
The project engineering has been completed, drawings done and an economic impact assessment completed.
One objective is to make the community path an education path linking The Briars, Mt Martha.