While Sydney rips up bike lanes and attempts to penalise cyclists into non-existence, Melbourne is embracing the benefits of the travel mode, and plans to boost numbers in the city to 25 per cent of morning peak traffic by 2020.

The plan, which was on Tuesday night approved by the Future Melbourne Committee, will be put to the full council next Tuesday, where it is expected to be made official policy.

While currently 146,000 trips are being taken by bike on a weekday in the municipality, the goal is to boost numbers to 200,000 by 2020, which would account for seven per cent of total trips taken.

The plan said a “relatively low investment” in infrastructure and programs could encourage uptake of cycling, with estimated costs of just under $10 million to council over four years. The benefits, though, would be a reduction in congestion, improved health, reduced carbon emissions and improved local amenity.

“We’ve consulted widely, invested millions in infrastructure and are now ready to implement our plan to make Melbourne a safer, more connected city for all bike riders,” Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

“This is about providing bike riders of all abilities with options when coming in and moving around the city,” he said.

The plan involves increasing bike parking from 800 spots to 2000, and eliminating the likelihood of fatalities and serious crashes by 2020.

It also involves:

  • installing bicycle maintenance stations and counters at entrances to the city
  • creating local neighbourhood routes in Kensington, North Melbourne, Carlton and Southbank – connecting to schools, shops and community facilities
  • improving connections into and through the city centre including a possible second bike-friendly east-west connection through the central city, which would complement La Trobe Street and improve bicycle access and transit across the southern part of the central city

Melbourne portfolio chair for transport Cathy Oke said the plan had gone through extensive community consultation.

“The plan was informed by more than 7140 contributions from the community and complemented by submissions from 11 agencies including the State Government and neighbouring municipalities,” Ms Oke said.

“The plan is another vital step for our city as we balance the needs and transport preferences of a truly cosmopolitan and sustainably conscious Melbourne.”

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  1. Queensland also implemented a 1m passing law as per NSW. QLD trial started April 2014. Along with the trial law – came increased and equalised fines for cyclists, as per NSW. There has been outrage in NSW (rightly so) about these ridiculous laws. In Queensland, at the time, the laws were hardly mentioned.

    After two years of the trial, the problem is that the Queensland Police Force have been severely lacking in their enforcement of the 1m law – there are too many reports to police about “punishment passes” that go nowhere, not even a phone call from QPS. I myself have reported over 12 close and dangerous passes with no response. The Police have stated bluntly to me and many others “this law is unenforceable”. This is not good enough and does nothing to protect vulnerable road users.

    Queensland also had an inquiry into cycling issues in 2013 – very few of the recommendations were implemented (just the ones which required paper shuffling inside the transport department, nothing “concrete” on the ground). A simple recommendation was to stop cars from parking in designated bicycle lanes. Surely parking a row of cars in a dedicated and marked bicycle lane renders it useless? Of course, but here we are 3 years later and the parked cars get priority over the lives of humans on bicycles.

    Transforming the roads of a city into a safe place to move around, requires accommodating all forms of transport. Currently motor vehicles are prioritised over all else. This has to change. It is a politically difficult decision in car centric Australia but the benefits to the environment and society are large and well documented.

    Cities all over the world have realised how detrimental private motor vehicles are to the fabric and liveability of their cities – and are dissuading their use. Sadly Australia is about 30 years behind.