So I am relatively new to Melbourne, 3 months and still figuring some stuff out. I was cycling down forster street to Monash University Clayton Campus, from the Highway direction, there is a 'nice' cycle lane. Yesterday, I was blocked by a car parked in the bicycle lane, due to the heavy traffic I was forced to stop as entering the lane was impossible. The owner of the car happened to be entering it at that time and I objected to him parking there. I was shocked to discover that the car was actually parked legally. For a section of the cycle lane, of about 30 meters or so parking is allowed, in the rest of the cycle lane parking is not allowed. What gives?
Welcome to riding to Monash.
As you've discovered, many of Melbourne's bicycle lanes are "shared parking and bicycle lanes" -- a particularly helpful piece of feel-good legalese to keep cyclists, residents and business all happy.
BattleMoose wrote:How the hell can we have cycle lanes when cars can legally park in them?! Is it worth writing to the local council about. It is a busy road there and the cycle lane certainly is necessary.
The Forster road/Gardiner road bike lane isn't that "nice" really, although it is a standard example of a bicycle lane. Typically useless Melbourne lane that vanishes before the intersections where it goes from one lane of traffic and a bike lane to two narrow traffic lanes, one turning left and one turning right. Try to use it to come from Ferntree Gully rd into Monash in the mornings and you can't get past the stationary cars at the Bayview end. I used to come up Ferntree Gully road and found it far easier (and safer) to ride down Clayton rd and then in along Bayview av. -- would much rather share a 2 lane 80km/hr road with 80km/hr traffic (Clayton road) than a 1 lane 50km/hr road with 80km/hr P-platers and tradies (Forster rd).
As you've discovered, its a shared parking / bike lane for most of the day, a clearway from 3pm to 6pm between Bayview av and Ferntree Gully road, but typically there'll be cars parked there anyway to go to the Nott. Even if there aren't, the bumper-to-bumper mass leaving around 5pm ends up with cars blocking it as they turn across the bike lane trying to squeeze in from side streets. You can usually ride past on the left, sometimes have to work your way around a particularly badly jammed car on the right. Watch out for people swerving at speed into the Bunnings carpark to use it as a short-cut to bypass the traffic lights and get on to Ferntree Gully rd.
Worth writing to the council? Sure, go ahead. Monash City Council, http://monash.vic.gov.au/feedback/
or better yet put pen on paper and write directly to one of the councillors. You may also want to CC BV's campaigns people and/or Monash Uni BUG. firstname.lastname@example.org
As to whether a "cycle lane certainly is necessary", everyone's entitled to an opinion. Seems to me that people have been able to ride bicycles on public roads for a hundred years or more without special painted lines.