Yikes! bikes, lanes and footpaths

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*General Victorian road rules for bicycles on footpaths:

The bicycle rider 12 years old or over, must not ride on a footpath. 2 exceptions:

1) an adult (18 years or older) supervising a child under 12

2) the rider has a disability which means it’s difficult to ride on the road.

In any event, no faster than 10kph.

The above rules would be news to many bike riders, and seemingly not worthy of consideration by a lot of the rest.

In St Kilda, footpaths are full of bike riders and the bike lanes empty.

Maybe it would be safer to walk in the bike lanes, rather than use the footpaths.

Cyclists often don’t stop at red lights, collide with pet dogs and pedestrians, and frequently are abusive when told to slow down.

Local problem areas:

• The shared path, on St Kilda beach Bay Trail between the Seabaths and Donovans.

A separated bike path and footpath should be reinstated, as it was for many years. The requirement to dismount and walk your bike in congested areas is mostly ignored. Pedestrians, bikes, rollerblades and skateboards do not mix in these areas.

• The Esplanade, Jacka Blvd & Fitzroy St intersection, a real mess, with bikes going every which way on pedestrian paths!

• Fitzroy St

The two-way bike path is a Kafkaesque planning disaster, with another bike path on the other side of the street as well, and yet the footpath is frequently used by speeding bikes.

• Canterbury Rd./Mary St entry to Albert Park.

Bicycles flow in and out of the park across Canterbury Rd at the pedestrian lights, onto the footpath, then down Mary St. A nightmare for pedestrians, with bikes travelling well over 10kph and they silently come up behind you. If you sidestep, bam, a bike right on top of you from behind, going at a hefty pace.

  

Exiting premises is also fraught with danger. You have to treat stepping onto the footpath as if you were crossing a road, looking up and down for speeding bikes. Walking along the beachside footpath of Canterbury Rd to Fitzroy St, you must be forever vigilant, needing eyes in the back of your head.

Placing official signs at hotspots around St Kilda, with notification of fines for illegal footpath bike riding, as per the current law, would be a good start. Then areas like the Mary St /Albert Park bike rat run could do with an enforcement blitz. Warning and/or fining a few bikers might do wonders, especially in regards to safety for vulnerable young kids and elderly pedestrians.

~ Do we need another pedestrian to be killed by a cyclist, as happened in Jacka Blvd. St Kilda just over a year ago, before authorities decide to educate and convince bike riders to obey the law?

Happy promenading

Alan West

www.friendsofstkilda.com.au

* Vic law – https://www.victorialawfoundation.org.au/riding-bike-lanes-and-paths

* RACV –

https://www.racv.com.au/on-the-road/driving-maintenance/road-safety/road-rules/bicycle-riders.html

~ St Kilda pedestrian death – https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/pedestrian-dies-after-being-hit-by-bike-in-st-kilda-20170419-gvo4ra.html

Further info – https://www.victorialawfoundation.org.au/sites/default/files/resources/bike_law_web_pdf_2017.pdf

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