Could Yarra Boulevard be a ‘Bicycle Boulevard’?

From World Streets

The State Government could strike a blow for cycling in this city if it were to declare Yarra Boulevard at Kew a ‘Bicycle Boulevard’.

This road is currently used by a range of recreational cyclists for riding and occasionally by some clubs for competitions. Although it doesn’t have heavy traffic there are enough cars and motorcycles to create a hazard for those on bicycles.

Drivers expect cyclists to ride single file within the marked lanes on the edge of the Boulevard. However this is difficult because of the number of cyclists using the road and the need to move onto the road proper (the ‘car lane’) to overtake slower riders. The bicycle lane is also rough with lots of gravel washed off the cliffs on the non river side.

At the moment, motorists ‘own’ Yarra Boulevard and ‘suffer’ the presence of cyclists. What I’m proposing is a reversal of that onus – cyclists would be the natural ‘owners’ of Yarra Boulevard and drivers would be required to behave as their ‘guests’.

The proposal is simple and low cost. Only a few actions are required:

  • Install prominent signage indicating that the full width of Yarra Boulevard is a shared bicycle/car route with drivers obliged to give way to cyclists
  • Declare a 30 km/h maximum speed limit for cars
  • Paint out the existing cycle lanes and tear up the Copenhagen lane that was built along part of the route
  • Provide an initial period of visible enforcement with occasional follow ups thereafter

I’m not sure if there might be legal issues involved with the concept of a bicycle route where cyclists have priority but if there are they need to be addressed. That would be an institutional investment – it’s likely that there will be increasing demand for these sorts of road sharing arrangements in the future. Read the rest of this entry »