Increased safety for bike riders

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By Maddison McSwain

An on-road bike lane on Marine Parade stretching from Elwood to St Kilda has been introduced to further improve bike rider safety across Port Phillip.

The northbound bike lane, completed last month, allows more cyclists to ride their bikes, a safe distance from motor vehicles, leading to fewer accidents.

The on-road bike lane will hopefully encourage more people to ride their bikes and reduce street congestion in the long-term.

Around 150 bike riders travel north along Marine Parade during morning peak hour and up to 850 bike riders use the road every hour on weekends.

Mayor Amanda Stevens said improving bike rider safety is a Council priority that will have long-term benefits for the community.

“The Beach Road corridor is one of Melbourne’s most popular cycling routes for people doing their daily commute and for recreational bike riders and tourists,” Cr Stevens said.

“Recent research shows that the installation of bike lanes can reduce bike rider crashes by up to 30 per cent. We hope the changes to Marine Parade and other roads will encourage more people to use bikes as a mode of transport, which can improve users’ fitness, road traffic and the environment.”

This financial year Council has also introduced bike lanes to Cowderoy and Hotham streets and Broadway and a contra flow bike lane in the one-way section of Greeves Street.

The Council is also advocating to the State Government to fund the installation of protected bike lanes on St Kilda Road, between Linlithgow Avenue and Carlisle Street. Such lanes would provide a direct, comfortable and safe bike route and also reduce car doorings (car doors being opened in the path of bike riders).

St Kilda Road is home to the highest number of car doorings in Victoria. For this reason, Port Phillip Council and Victoria Police will be alerting motorists to “look then open your door” in a safety campaign on St Kilda Road from April 11-28.

The Road Safety Action Group Inner Melbourne (RSAGIM), a collection of the Port Phillip, Melbourne, Yarra and Stonnington City Councils, has funded the dooring awareness operation.

Flashing light signs on St Kilda Road will send two key messages to drivers: Car Doors Hurt Cyclists and Look Then Open Your Door.

Cyclists will also be encouraged to ride outside the dooring zone, about 1.3m from cars.

Mayor Amanda Stevens said research by RSAGIM showed inexperienced riders and females were more likely to be doored, possibly because they were risk averse and did not like riding close to moving traffic.

“Doorings can cause serious injuries or death so it’s important that all drivers are aware of the need to look for bike riders before opening their doors,” Cr Stevens said.

St Kilda Road is one of the busiest commuter routes for cyclists in Melbourne. In the five years before June 30, 2014, there were 113 casualty crashes involving bike riders, with 25 receiving serious injuries. More than a third of these crashes came from doorings.

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