Councils around Australia should benefit from new bike lane design guidelines released recently by the City of Melbourne.
Where Australian streets have existing bike infrastructure, it is often an incoherent mishmash of the good, bad and indifferent.
Admittedly, retro-fitting bike lanes to a previously car-dependent urban environment has challenges. Although imperfect, those early achievements certainly resulted in many more people riding bikes, particularly in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s well-respected engineers are now sharing their learnings and showing the way on bike infrastructure that has clarity for road users, addresses the ever-present constraints, and gently guides nervous councillors and community stakeholders though occasionally fraught decision making.
In the introduction the design guide says: "When the City of Melbourne first began to implement on-road bicycle treatments in the 1990's there were limited guidelines available.
"Many of the treatments installed in the early years, are a legacy of the City having been the first to trial such solutions. Those treatments reflect the innovation and experimentation that underpinned the provision of on-road bicycle treatments at that time.
"Over the last three decades, the City has been involved in pioneering design work by testing a myriad of bicycle lane designs and being at the forefront in the development of various forms of separation between cyclists and other vehicles.
“The City has had to respond to multiple challenges including limited available road width and the need to cater for all road users within the finite road space that characterises the inner-city environment."
The guide explains that there are many details that contribute to the design of safe and effective bike lanes.
"Where kerbside car parking exists, on-road bike lanes can be either placed to the left of parking (adjacent to the footpath) and be fully separated from traffic or they can be placed to right of on-street parking, thereby being adjacent to moving traffic.
"Features such as buffers can be physical or painted and provide additional offset space from moving traffic or parked cars along a street.
"These elements raise many design questions and a design guideline is therefore needed to simplify decision-making for planners and engineers.
"These bike lane guidelines set out the preferred City of Melbourne designs, for both mid-block and intersection situations, under a variety of conditions that take into account road geometry, the riding environment and usage conditions."
Riders will find the guide enlightening, and they will be helpful in discussions with local government anywhere new facilities are being considered.SEE THE GUIDE