Victoria is already in the midst of huge infrastructure changes, but the solution to the state's congestion and packed public transport system could be 'cycling superhighways' on 10 high-traffic corridors.
The RACV is pushing for the Andrews Labor Government to put two-wheeled commuters atop their list of priorities. Quoting its own research, the motoring club has outlined 10 major routes perfectly suited to life as 'bike superhighways' based on safety, existing and likely future demand, their proximity to other routes, technical feasibility and their ability to ease congestion.
According to Stuart Otherud, RACV senior planner, pouring money into cycling across the suggested routes would deliver "immense benefits for commuters seeking a safer, cheaper and more active way to get around, and reduce the growth in congestion on roads and public transport".
"We know from previous research that 28 per cent of Victorians who don’t currently ride are open to cycling more but many people are discouraged because they are intimidated by cars and trucks, lack confidence or don’t think riding is convenient," he said in a statement.
"Despite an election commitment to improve the St Kilda Road corridor, there is still more to be done to improve the safety and convenience of cycling, so it is seen by more people as a genuine method of transport in Melbourne,” he continued.
Oddly, the research doesn't actually outline what would be required to convert the routes into bike-friendly promenades.
According to the study Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure, published in the American Journal of Public Health, the safest bike lanes are those providing physical separation between cars and bikes, instead of simply running alongside parked vehicles and pedestrians.
"It is crucial to provide physical separation from fast-moving, high-volume motor vehicle traffic and better intersection design to avoid conflicts between cyclists and motor vehicles," it says.
It quotes research from Canada showing lanes with some form of physical separation from traffic and parked vehicles are 89 per cent safer than roads with no infrastructure at all, and while 'unprotected' lanes are good for a 53 per cent improvement in safety.
A spokesperson for the Victorian Government said there's already plenty of money going into cycling projects, but didn't close the door on evaluating and developing further two-wheel focused projects.
‘‘Between investing over $100 million on projects, releasing the Victorian Cycling Strategy and putting cycling infrastructure across nearly every major project we’re building, we’re working hard to deliver for riders,’’ they said.
The following routes are proposed for the cycling superhighways:
- Royal Parade to Sydney Road
- Napier Street to St George's Road
- Flemington Road to Mt Alexander Road
- A City Loop
- Canning Street
- Gardiners Creek to Yarra Bend
- Cecil Street to Albert Park
- Chapel Street
- St Kilda Road
- New Street
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