May 072012

Have Your Say

Melbourne City Council is asking you to choose one of four options for bike lanes along the full length of Latrobe Street. The options include two kerbside separated lanes and two other options which place the bike lane between parked cars and moving traffic. Whatever design is chosen will be used for the entire length of the street, from Spring Street to Spencer Street, linking to the existing lanes on the bridge down to Docklands.

HAVE YOUR SAY: You can have your say by filling out their survey. You can view details of the options here.

Which option should I go for?

Melbourne BUG supports Option 2

We know that a feeling of being unsafe is a major deterrent to riding in the Melbourne CBD. In 2008, 5 out of 10 cyclists indicated they felt unsafe cycling in the city of Melbourne. We believe that option 2 is the safest and the most likely to encourage more timid riders, as well as protecting existing riders.

Option 2 is for separated kerbside lanes on the inside of parked cars. These are similar to Swanston Street north of Victoria Street going up towards Victoria University. There is a wide, raised area between parked cars and bikes, giving plenty of room for car doors to open without going anywhere near you as you ride by. Car passengers step out onto this buffer, which is also wide enough for wheelchairs and prams, without impinging on the bike lane. The lane is wide enough for two bikes to ride side-by-side or for overtaking.

The Swanston Street north lanes have been successful in increasing bike trips and lowering the crash rate.

HAVE YOUR SAY: To support our recommended option, fill out the survey. and select option 2.

What are the other options?

Options 3 and 4 – unseparated bike lanes (green paint), similar to Queensberry Street

Options 3 and 4 are unseparated bike lanes on the outside of parked cars. Because they offer no separation from fast cars, they are less safe and more intimidating for potential cyclists. They place bicycles on the traffic side of parked cars, where they are vulnerable to dooring but also incursions into the bike lane by fast-moving traffic.

The highest quality lanes of this type are in Queensberry Street, but as you can see here, motor vehicles frequently use the wide bike lane as a spare traffic lane, often travelling a whole block in the bike lane, or double parking there. They look to the driver just like a traffic lane.

Option 1 – two-tiered footpath

Option 1 is a raised footpath which places you slightly lower than the pedestrians and just higher than the cars. Option 1 is OK, but more difficult and expensive to engineer than Option 2, so we believe it is less likely to be used widely. Option 1 is also less well separated from pedestrians and the car door zone, and less obvious to passengers getting in their cars. This may mean it is more likely to be obstructed.

Option 2b – narrowing the footpath to maintain a car lane

In the longer consultation paper, option 2 has been divided into 2a and 2b. In the survey, option 2a and 2b are both covered by option 2. We understand the council didn’t separate 2a and 2b in the consultation because they wanted to keep it simple and avoid confusing people.

Option 2b spends an extra $12 million dollars to narrow the already crowded footpath, reducing pedestrian space in order to maintain two car lanes and facilitate fast cars. Latrobe Street is not congested and this will encourage high speeds, which are dangerous for all road users, especially in the crowded CBD. It will also make for a less pleasant urban environment.

We’ll be telling the council that we don’t want 2b, and we also expect walking and public transport groups to. If you select option 2, you can also make a comment in the survey telling the council you want 2a, not 2b.

Where can I find out more?

You can view details about the options here.

Melbourne Times article on Melbourne, Yarra and Darebin councils all with projects for separated bike lanes.

 Posted by at 7:35 am

  5 Responses to “Safe Bike Lanes For Latrobe Street”

  1. Having had a few dooring scares on Collins Street in the city, I believe option 2a is the safest of all. I see this as a step up from the new lanes on Swanston Street. Personally, I found riding after dark on Swanston a bit safer than during the day light. I guess thats because I use a very bright head light in flashing mode which gets pedestrians’ attention at night.

  2. I had my say, suggesting option 4 as the best for both cyclists and pedestrians, with the following explanation:

    “Option 4 eliminates risk of car door collisions, while being much safer than option 2 for both cyclists and pedestrians. Option 2 presents an enormous risk to cyclists wherever cars enter the road from side-streets and driveways, as cars will typically cross the bike lane without giving way to cyclists, as they do not perceive the road to begin until beyond the parked cars. For similar reasons, option 2 presents a significant risk of cyclist-pedestrian collisions, as pedestrians will walk across the bike lane without looking for cyclists, again not perceiving the bike lane to be part of the road. The pedestrian problem is compounded by the fact that if parking tickets machines are in place, car owners must cross the bike lane 3 times in order to purchase and display a parking ticket.

    “Also, please note that I was not able to answer question 4, as it conflates separating cyclists from moving cars and opening car doors. If I were able to answer these concerns individually, I would rate separating cyclists from moving cars as least important and separating cyclists from opening car doors as most important.”

  3. Latrobe Street having a separate lane is fantastic. Good work people and next maybe we can have bike lanes that don’t just stop near an intersection and dump you back in the path of traffic, into a turning lane or sometimes worse.

    I travel in Swanston Street daily and the new lanes are a marked improvement – just need to educate peds who don’t recognise the new bike lanes and taxi drivers who ………………..too many to list. It sounds like I’m having a whinge but really they are the only problems I have, which mainly occur in the afternoon.

    Go Melbourne!

  4. I’d take option 4b.
    I wonder are there many everyday cyclists that prefer separated bike lanes? I personally feel most unsafe on them, from my experience pedestrians don’t really know what’s going on and neither do cars. In my opinion the most dangerous places to ride in Melbourne are Clarendon/Spencer St (around the river and a few blocks south) and Fitzroy St in St Kilda. That two lane, separated bike lane is ridiculous.
    In regards to the Latrobe St bike lane, I wonder why we need it at all. With a bus lane all the way down Lonsdale, why bother with a bike lane on Latrobe, just ride in the bus lane one block further south.

    I guess I’m just wondering if other cyclist really feel safe on separated bike lanes? and how important is safety in general to cyclists? because to me I can’t help but think: if you want to be safe, drive a car, if want to get there quicker, get a work out and have more fun ride a bike.

    • Hi Rick, thanks for the input. I think your last comment is telling: “if you want to be safe, drive a car, if want to get there quicker, get a work out and have more fun ride a bike.” Melbourne BUG believes we deserve safety as well as convenience, health and fun, and we look to places in the world where this has been achieved.

      We think it’s no coincidence that those countries also have very high rates of cycling, something that would benefit Melbourne enormously, easing congestion, lowering polution including greenhouse gases, and lowering the public health bill.

      In answer to your query, “are there many everyday cyclists that prefer separated bike lanes?” the evidence is yes. After the Swanston St (north) lanes were installed the number of bicycle trips there doubled. For a recent article on this, see

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