Riders win $2.6 million bike lanes on Exhibition St

The City of Melbourne has backed a $2.6 million plan to install permanent and protected bike lanes on Exhibition St after a study showed it was a crash hot spot.

Some 750 cyclists travel through the route in the morning peak, where there had been 33 cycling-related crashes in the past five years.

Exhibition St currently has part-time bike lanes in some sections that were part of a trial. 

Cr Rohan Leppert said the part-time lanes were inadequate.

“We trialled peak-time bicycle lanes on Exhibition St but, to be perfectly frank, they’re not working,” he said.

“Paint isn’t infrastructure, paint isn’t stopping the unsafe travel especially from car drivers who might not know the different conditions at different times of the day.”

“We can’t keep that situation going, it’s an unsafe situation.”

Crashes included dooring and left-side swipe, mid-block crashes. The study found 39 per cent of these crashes would be avoided with the new lanes.

Exhibition St is considered a key cycling “corridor” – connecting Rathdowne St in the north with the Yarra Trails in the south.

The plans will remove 129 on-street car parking spaces to create physically protected bike lanes, but only 2 per cent of car parking space will be lost in the area.

The estimated loss of parking fee revenue is $2.16 million as well as $400,000 in fines.

The study found that only 22 per cent of cyclists felt confident riding in full-time painted bike lanes, while 83 per cent were confident when physical separation was provided.

The council hopes the lanes will encourage more people to cycle.

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