The City of Whitehorse has accelerated the installation of the long-planned ‘easy ride’ routes through the municipality.
The network will serve a number of suburbs in Melbourne’s east that have been something of an arid zone for bike friendly connections.
As the routes are on carefully chosen, quiet local streets with mostly low-traffic and low-speed, the need for serious engineering is minimal.
None-the-less, some local residents have trotted out the usual chaff of insubstantial objections.
In this case there might be an explanation for misunderstanding as the City is utilising less common road markings to designate the routes.
Although most bike riders know what sharrows are, even if they don’t much like them, non-riders could be startled by their sudden appearance in the neighbourhood.
Social media has revealed that some people worried that the symbols could mean bikes were banned from the street.
On this project the council is using sharrows, directional arrows and bike reminder signs to create ‘breadcrumbs’ to indicate to riders, drivers and residents where the routers are.
The expectation is that this will attract riders to preferentially use these routes, and will alert all road users that bikes will be frequently present along them.
Although these less formal bike route arrangements will become much more common through low-traffic streets in the future, there is not yet a legal and regulatory framework to support their use.
That will come soon enough.
In the meantime such ventures are worthy of support, especially in suburbs where bike riding potential is high but routes are thin on the ground
The first route, East-West 6, runs through Burwood and Burwood East. This route was completed in in early June 2021.
The second route, East-West 2, runs through Box Hill North, Blackburn, Nunawading and Mitcham.
The third route, East-West 4, runs through Mont Albert, Box Hill, Blackburn, Nunawading and Mitcham.
Try them out.
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