Proposed St Kilda Road Bike Path

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By Mary McConville
St Kilda Road has a reputation for being the worst spot in the state for car-dooring which constitute 39% of the accidents reported on St Kilda Rd. Car-dooring is when a car door opens in the path of an oncoming cyclist. This percentage is only counting the reported accidents, not the almost-but-not-quite-spoil-your-day incidents. With St Kilda Road predicted to host 1.2 million bike trips annually, urgent action is needed.

A proposed solution to this dangerous situation is to construct a Copenhagen style, separated bike path in the service lane that is currently being used for parking. It is predicted that it will not affect the rate of traffic along St Kilda Rd, but there will be some lessening of parking spaces during peak hour.

The projected bike path would follow on from the current bike path, which begins in Swanston St and ends at the Southbank Arts Precinct at Linlithgow Ave. From there the bike path would continue past the Domain Interchange and then pass St Kilda Junction and finish off at Carlisle St. This extended bike path would then measure 5.9 kilometres.

It is likely that there will be the usual tram route on one side of the road and the converted bike path on the other, with four lanes of traffic during peak hours and three traffic lanes and more parking during off-peak hours. The bike lane will be separated from the parked cars and the moving traffic by 1 metre wide raised islands.

The estimated cost of constructing this bike path is $12 million, with maintenance costs of $40,000 per annum. St Kilda’s Mayor, Cr Amanda Stevens said that Council was looking to the State Government to fund this proposal.

An analysis of the costs and benefits of this scheme is optimistic, counting on savings from crash costs and the increased benefits in the health of both cyclists and the environment. The expected 25% increase in cycling along St Kilda Rd should decrease general traffic congestion and it is likely that female participation in cycling would increase on the noticeably safer bike path. There has been research into the effect that these bike paths have had on road safety records. In New York they reported a 27% decrease in recorded injuries as well as a 29% increase in bike riders.

This proposal has the backing of the RACV, the Bicycle Network, the Amy Gillet Foundation and the Road Safety Action Group of Inner Melbourne, all who received the thanks of Cr Stevens.

Bike Lanes Infographic_V2_Internal_FA_resupply


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