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Melbourne's inner city bike network gets a safety boost

Alia Parker's picture
Bike lanes will be upgraded to separated paths on La Trobe Street, Melbourne. Cycle Traveller

Melbourne's bicycle network is already the envy of many Australian cities and it's about to get even better, with construction of a 1.8km separated bike lane on La Trobe Street.

The new lanes, which will run in each direction along La Trobe Street from Spencer Street to Victoria Street, will improve safety in a critical part of the city by removing the danger of cyclists being hit by opening car doors as they ride alongside parked cars.

"Car-dooring from parked cars is a major safety issue for cyclists, so La Trobe Street has been carefully designed to minimise the possibility of these incidents,” Transport portfolio Chair Councillor Cathy Oke said in a statement Wednesday.

“In 2012, 11% of all vehicles in the city during the morning peak were cyclists. We want cyclists to have the same sort of access into and out of the city as cars and public transport and pedestrians.”

Work on the new separated lanes are beginning between Spencer and William Streets this week, with construction to be undertaken two blocks at a time to keep disruptions to a minimum.

The City says the $2.4 million project forms the centrepiece of its 2012-13 bike plans, which include 10 projects in total with a budget of $5.6 million.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said construction of the La Trobe Street bike lanes should be completed by the middle of this year. He said the lanes will not only improve safety, but also strengthen the city's bike network.

"The gap in our network has been a strong east-west connection for cyclists, which La Trobe Street will now provide," he said in a statement. "An integrated network for our cyclists will allow them to easily connect from one bike lane to the next as they travel across the city."

Work is also expected to start soon on delineated green bicycle lanes on Exhibition Street to support bicycle traffic during peak hours.

Construction of the new lanes come on the back of the opening of a significant new 25km bikeway on the outskirts of the city, with the opening of the Peninsula Link Trail, which provides bicycle access to the Mornington Peninsula along the new Peninsula Link highway.

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