Monday 25 January 2010

Call for segregated cycle lanes in Melbourne

THERE was a time, a decade or so back, when Leon Cassidy would cycle along Mount Alexander Road from his home, through the city, all the way to St Kilda, for a ride along Beach Road. But the veteran cyclist says he has not dared ride along Mount Alexander Road's bike lane after 6am for years because it is too dangerous.

''It would save me a lot of time, but it's just not worth the risk - the traffic has become so heavy now and the lane isn't safe,'' Mr Cassidy said.

Bicycle Victoria's Jason den Hollander said cycling would be more popular if government invested more in improving conditions for bikes.

Inaction on this front was preventing Melbourne from enjoying the environmental, social and economic benefits that came with being a cycle-friendly city.

Mr den Hollander said the quickest way to boost cycling numbers and create a cycling culture would be to expand the number of separated bike lanes in the inner city, like the networks throughout Europe.

Bicycle Victoria figures show that since the bike lanes in Rathdowne Street, Carlton, were upgraded in 2008 to include raised ''vibra-lines'' separating bikes and cars, cycling numbers had increased by about 40 per cent.

Melbourne could have a European-style cycling network within five years if government started investing $100 million annually,
a fraction of what is spent on other transport projects, he said.