Mon, 17 Dec 2007

Cyclists vs Bicycle Victoria + VicRoads // at 17:00

They're here to help....

I'm convinced that not only is Vic. Roads determined to get cyclists off the state's roads, but that Bicycle Victoria is in league with them. Us poor cyclists are outgunned, but not outclassed.

Bicycle Victoria appears to like to have concrete things that they can point at to, so that they can prove that they are living up to their motto More people cycling more often... so long as it is on nice safe little off-road bike paths or specially painted bike lanes. Making cycling a normal part of normal life and accessible on all normal roads is way too hard, much easier to build special bicycle facilities — unfortunately reinforcing the attitude of both cyclists and drivers that you can't ride a bike unless its on a special-purpose bicycle facilities, and the much worse attitude that where such facilities don't exist, you can't ride a bike. Without X many new kilometres of bike lanes and paths to point at each year, where would all the funding come from? Of course none of the previous years' bike lanes and paths ever seem to receive even a fraction of the funding for maintenance, but that all seems to get overlooked. A lot of the new lanes and paths only seem to get built where they won't inconvenience anyone either, or provide any real improvement in safety.

Meanwhile Vic. Roads appears to have an intention of getting cyclists off the roads completely, all in the interests of improved safety and improved traffic flow of course....

These two groups periodically manage to reach a crescendo of anti-cyclist facilities, such as the newly redeveloped North road, "upgraded" from three lanes to four in each direction, and with the kerbside lane made bus-only for a couple of hours each day. Of course special “cycle facilities” are provided; this is in the form of an off-road bike path that has no drainage, no lighting, no lane markings, that ends at each of seven road-crossings and restarts on the other sides (cyclists must give way to cross traffic and cross the roads as pedestrians) and that utilises a footpath past a primary school and across a dozen driveways for the last half kilometre! With friends like BV and Vic Roads, what kind of enemies do cyclists in Melbourne need?

Being subjected to the latest hazard of bollards and roadworks this morning prompted me to investigate the exact meanings of the term “Bus Lane”, and prompted the following enquiry to Vic Roads.

As a frequent cyclist along North Road to Monash University I am concerned that recent "upgrades" to North road appear to pose a significant hazard to cyclists. My experience as a motorist along here shows that drivers rarely respect the existing speed limit (70km/hr) and the expansion from three to four lanes in each direction is likely to increase this speed.

The opportunity was present for the new kerbside lane to be made wider, enhancing the safety for cyclists and enabling motorists to more safely pass, but this opportunity appears to have been ignored, the kerbside lane is now, if anything, narrower than previously, further endangering cyclists from motorists who overtake unsafely.

Additionally, it appears that for some hours of the day, the kerbside lane is marked as "Bus Lane" which I believe means that cyclists will be forced to ride in the next most lane, being simultaneously passed on the right by most motorists and on the left by buses and by that percentage of motorists who choose to ignore the "Bus Lane" signs.

Can the "Bus Lane" signs please be updated to the "Bus/Cycle lane" signs as described in VicRoads pamphlet "Cycle Notes No. 19".

thank you, Adrian Tritschler

I await with interest the response....

[<tstamp date="2007-12-27">2007-12-27</title>] An interesting response received; apart from the spurious mention that I should use the off-road cycle facilities, there is the statement that cyclists can legally ride in the bus lane at all times of the day. I later discovered that this advice was, in fact, illegal!

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