The RACV has shown its biggest commitment yet to advancing bike riding in Melbourne by recommending improvements to a number of priority bike routes.
Seventeen separate cycling corridors that feed into the CBD have been earmarked by the RACV as being routes with the biggest potential to reduce city congestion by getting more people riding.
The formula used to evaluate and decide on the best routes included looking at proximity to residential areas and potential demand, as well as where people already ride.
It is no surprise then that most of the routes identified are well known to people who ride, and have already been noted as needing upgrading.
Sydney Road, St Kilda Road, Canning Street, Chapel Street and Gardiners Creek are all on the RACV's list, as well as Flemington Road and Mount Alexander Road, among others.
Making well-used routes that feed into the CBD even more bike friendly is thought to get people who don't ride yet on to two wheels.
“We know from previous research that 28 percent of Victorians who don’t currently ride are open to cycling more but many people are discouraged because they are intimidated by cars and trucks, lack confidence or don’t think riding is convenient," said RACV Senior Planner, Stuart Outhred.
"This inspired us to develop a realistic, safe and expedient bicycle network to not just get more Melburnians on their bikes but to encourage the government to fund bicycle infrastructure."
The report highlights streets and areas that should have strategic cycling corridors developed, but it does not recommend precisely how this should be done or what kind of bike lanes may be developed.
The RACV has called on the government and local councils to progress the plans and develop the corridors into routes that encourage all people to ride bikes.
Recommendations a good step forward
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said it was great to see the RACV acknowledge that there needs to be better investment in bike riding.
"More and more people are realising that bikes are the answer to beating congestion and creating a healthier, happier Australia. Now we just need the government to get on board," said Mr Richards.
“We look forward to the RACV getting its two million members to back this campaign. With that much support it will be almost impossible for the government to not make it reality.”
Mr Richards also said that the routes listed by the RACV make sense.
"Many of the bike corridors that the RACV say need to be improved match that of Bicycle Network, especially St Kilda Road and Sydney Road."
"By making these strips more bike friendly we will see more people riding and the community will benefit. It will create nicer street environments and increase visitation and the time people spend there."
"Places like Sydney Road and Chapel Street will get a breath of fresh air and it will have a positive impact for everyone from residents to shop owners."
The 17 routes listed by the RACV to become strategic cycling corridors are:
- Chapel Street
- St Kilda Road
- St Kilda via Cecil Street
- Preston to the CBD
- Canning Street
- Essendon to the CBD
- City Loop
- Coburg to the CBD (Sydney Road)
- East Malvern to the CBD
- New Street
- Maribyrnong River south to the CBD
- Maribyrnong River north to the CBD
- Kew to the CBD
- Port Melbourne to the CBD
- Sunshine to Footscray
- Surrey Hills to the CBD
- Williamstown to the Maribyrnong River