In a long-awaited move, cyclists can breathe easier on Beach Road on Saturday mornings due to a truck ban.
As a trial this summer, the current curfew of 1pm Saturday to 6am Monday on will be extended to 8pm Friday to 6am Monday.
The area under curfew is Beaconsfield Parade and Beach Road between Bay Street (Port Melbourne) and Nepean Highway (Mordialloc).
The issue of trucks rat-running on Beach Road first hit the media back in May 2015 when an independent count ordered by Port Phillip Council found that about 30 trucks an hour used Beach Road between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays.
In the same period thousands of training and recreational cyclists use this popular and renowned cycling route. In fact, cyclists outnumber any other type of vehicle on the route on Saturday mornings.
Truck drivers choose Beach Road rather than the nearby Nepean Highway because it has fewer traffic lights.
Since 2015 Bayside, Kingston and Port Phillip councils, supported by Bicycle Network and local groups, have campaigned for a truck ban on Saturday mornings on Beach Road.
VicRoads surveyed stakeholders in May 2017 and used cameras to measure trucks on the route.
Albert Park MP Martin Foley, who launched the curfew extension trial for the Andrews Government, said, “We’ve listened to the local community and now we’re trailing this extended curfew to improve safety and reduce truck traffic volumes on these roads.”
Martin Foley advises that advance warning signs will be placed in the area to advise truck operators of the curfews and alternative routes.
Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said she is "delighted the Government has heard our concerns about safety and amenity (noise and fumes).”
“This trial closes a gap on one of the busiest times of the week for this popular route where freight
trucks pass homes, parks and playgrounds,” she said.
“Thousands of bike riders travel along this route on weekends and the beauty of the nearby
foreshore and parks also attract lots of visitors.
“Reduced truck traffic from the extended curfew trial will help protect them – and our treasured,
sensitive marine environment and its vulnerable wildlife.”
In the meantime, Victoria Police have launched a two-week blitz targeting cyclists on Beach Road and in the vicinity.
The Leader reports: “Local police have identified the thoroughfare as a high-risk area for bike crashes, and will patrol the strip in a bid to curb the number of collisions.”
Cheltenham police Acting Sergeant Bonnie Heazlewood, who is heading the operation, is reported to be focussing on road rule compliance and the need for helmets and adequate lights on bikes.
Officers will also advise cyclists on securely locking and protecting their bikes from theft as part of the same operation.
Read the Leader report.