30 July 2013 — A physically-separated 300 metre bike lane will be installed southbound on St Kilda Road, Melbourne, in order to avoid injuries from car door crashes.

The lane — starting at Alexandra Gardens and finishing at the Floral Clock – is part of the City of Melbourne’s Bicycle Plan 2012-2016.

Transport portfolio chair councillor Cathy Oke said St Kilda Road was one of Melbourne’s busiest routes, with 340 cyclists and almost 1000 vehicles travelling southbound in the afternoon peak.

Statistics show there have been 15 serious injuries from “car-dooring” crashes on St Kilda Road up to Domain Road in the past five years, making it the highest incidence of car-door crashes in Victoria.

Research by the Road Safety Action Group Inner Melbourne also revealed that 30 per cent of all car door crashes occurred on four major roads – one of which is St Kilda Road.

“Where road space permits, we are designing our bike lanes to separate cyclists from motorists in order to minimise the chances of this type of accident occurring,” Ms Oke said.

“By making our cycling network safer, we are not only protecting our cyclists but also giving new and possibly hesitant cyclists the confidence they need to ride through the city. Just over 13 per cent of vehicles entering the city in the morning peak are bicycles, and this figure will only continue to grow.”

One lane of traffic in the service lane will be used to upgrade the existing 1.4 metre bike lane to a 2.2 metre kerbside bike lane. A 1 metre physical separator will move traffic away from cyclists, keeping them clear of opening car doors.

The works, which will cost $440,000, will start on 6 August and take about five weeks to complete.

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  1. 300m is not going to address issues related with Car Dooring. The so called “Copenhagen” style bike lanes are not the solution. They will only add to risk of commuter safety. A better and more prudent cost saving option would have been to install wider open Chevron line delineated bike paths. For the cost of 300m Melbourne could have upgraded and installed 4Km of bike path in St Kilda Road travelling down both sides. The City of Melbourne’s rejection of a one month delay and a review of the Latrobe Street and Princes Bridge lanes closures is a step backwards.

    Latrobe Street is a mistake and remains a risk to both driver and cyclist safety. Swanston Street and Albert Street lanes are also in need of review

    An important aspect of any road design is the ability to read the road ahead and gauge the level of traffic management and design that applies.

    The installation of wider Chevron line delineated lanes would have been consistent with the design of the Princes Bridge bike lane and other more successful bike paths such as the one installed in Clardeon Street East Melbourne

    Instead of Latrobe Street the City of Melbourne should have investigated installing bike lanes in alternative less used smaller side streets such as Abbeckett Street or Franklin Street

    As to Princes Bridge I have no objection to the lane closure provided the City of Melbourne provides an alternative traffic river crossing to the East of Princess Bride.

    Swan Street Bridge is already congestion servicing West-East bound traffic.

    A new bridge connecting Linlithgow to Batman Avenue Toll way would be in order to allow a further reduction in traffic flow on Swantson Street-St Kilda Road Between Flinders Street and Linlithgow Street.

    There were a number of flaws in the Council’s consultation process not the least of its failure to properly consider alternative cheaper and more effective designs that address the safety concerns of cyclists and dooring. Council consulted widely with Cyclist groups but ignored the broader communities concerns in pushing ahead with the design solution adopted including the safety concerns of disabled drivers and passengers.

    The segregated lanes in Albert Street, Swanston Street North and recently installed in Latrobe Street are a disaster in design and implementation. They would have been better had they adopted the alternative chevron design. The money save alone would have allowed the upgrading of a significant number of bike paths within the city not just 300m in St Kilda Road.

    A pause for a review to allow assessment of the Princes Bridge and Latrobe Street developments would have been prudent, responsible and would have allowed for a better roll-out of a safer greater bike plan that is embraced by the whole community as opposed to one that had divided and created hostility towards cyclists.

    This is not a way forward but a regressive step to the side