Canning Street
Have you caught the green wave?

Riders on the busy Canning Street route into Melbourne’s CBD from the north may have noticed a little extra strength in their legs as they zipped along the street lately, beating traffic lights that once brought them to a cruel stop.

Yes, you weren’t imagining it. You stop less often, trips are faster and the route is lest congested and safer.

But no, you’re not any fitter than you were last year.

The real reason you are faster is that the clever Department of Transport engineers have been up to their sly tricks.

They have tweaked the traffic lights in your favour with the introduction of a green wave.

DoT describes it thus: "A green wave occurs when a series of traffic lights are coordinated to give bike riders non-stop passage along a stretch of road, if they maintain a speed.”

The traffic lights at Princess and Elgin Streets have been adjusted so that if a rider gets the green at one he/she will get the green at the next.

There is one condition.

To get the most benefit you need to travel between 22 and 26km/h.

That’s not lazy tootling along, but it is certainly achievable for most riders.

We suggest you give it a try and see how you find it.

There is a lot of potential for the use of green waves on Australian bike routes.

In bike cities such as Copenhagen multiple traffic lights along routes have been coordinated creating green waves of substantial distance, greatly improving travel time.

DoT has been undertaking an evaluation of the project, so the chances are we could see more of them.

They also upgraded the intersection of Canning Street and Princes Street by repainting line markings and painting the road surface, with pedestrian crosswalks yellow and bike lanes that cross the intersection in green to create dedicated and safe crossings for all road users.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.