The BUG extends sympathy to all involved in the dooring of a cyclist by the Lord Mayor’s car on St Kilda Road 31/5/2012, especially the cyclist. The irony won’t be lost on anyone who is aware of the great progress being made in the City of Melbourne to encourage more people to use bicycles during Robert Doyle’s first term in office.
Two articles were published in the Melbourne media regarding the incident:
Media: The Age
Date: 1st June 2012
Headline: Mayor’s car in ‘dooring’
Journalist: Mark Forbes
Media: Herald Sun
Date: 1st June 2012
Headline: Cyclist ‘doored’ by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s car
Journalist: Aleks Devic
Both articles describe the incident and the Herald Sun carried an apology from the Lord Mayor. Neither article took the trouble to link to the current Parliamentary inquiry into dooring penalties, or mentioned whether the incident was reported to police and the offender fined. Neither article mentioned that the City plans to improve safety for cyclists on this stretch of St Kilda Road – except for the exact place where the dooring occurred. In the Council’s 2012/13 budget provision has been made to provide separated lanes for bikes – southbound all the way across Princes Bridge and down to the intersection with Southbank Boulevard. In the direction the cyclist was traveling however, no separation is planned until reaching Princes Bridge.
This stretch is a “kiss-and-ride” location for the arts precinct and it makes some degree of sense not to put bikes on the left of parked cars when there are a lot of people getting in and out of cars there. In this case it is important to provide safe conditions on the other side of the parked cars. The City needs to take action to give bikes more space to avoid car doors on this stretch, remove through traffic from this lane and reduce the speed limit to 30km/h – measures which will improve safety for everybody, including people riding bikes as well as the kiss-and-ride users.