WHITTLESEA council has almost doubled its investment in cycling projects but still falls below the average expenditure for outer zone councils, according to the Bicycle Users Group.

Whittlesea BUG president Glenn Eckardt said Bicycle Network Victoria’s “bicycle expenditure index” showed Whittlesea budgeted $4.88 per resident for the 2012-2013 year compared with the $5.65 average.

But Whittlesea’s expenditure had almost doubled from $2.59 per resident in the previous financial year, he said. “Whittlesea council should be commended for their increased level of commitment to funding cycling infrastructure, but there is still plenty of room for improvement,” Mr Eckardt said.

“The popularity of cycling is growing and research shows that around 18 per cent of Australians each week ride a bicycle for transport or recreation.”

BUG secretary Ron Harvey said there was a missing link on the Edgars Creek bike path between Main Street and Spring Street in Thomastown.

“There is a bike path to the north and one to south, then a 200 metre gap in Main Street to the start of the historic German precinct of Thomastown,” he said. “The area is popular with recreational cyclists and I take groups, like riders from the University of the Third Age, on the path and we meet at the Thomastown library in Main Street. Filling in the link would make it safer.”

Bicycle Network Victoria spokesman Craig Richards said a priority was links to the South Morang train station’s “parkiteer” to encourage commuters to cycle to the station.