Bike riders throughout Melbourne will be given priority on the road if the Labor government takes home a win in the upcoming election.
The controversial decision announced on Thursday would see cars banned from the two middle lanes of traffic on St Kilda Road through the creation of new bike lanes, in a bid to reduce the growing number accidents.
The proposed lanes would separate cyclists and motorists with physical barriers and a central safety zone to avoid collisions and apparently create a safer travelling route. The middle lanes would be a no-go-zone for motorists who would only be given access to the outer lanes.
With a growing number of accidents taking place along the highly congested road, Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said it’s the most sensible decision.
“Whether it’s removing danger and congested level crossings or building safer roads and new bike lanes, only Labor will deliver the things that matter to Victorians,” he said in a statement.
“St Kilda Road is one of our busiest roads but also one of the most dangerous. With this investment, we’ll make it safer for everyone to use.”
However, the question can also be raised as to whether cyclists are being favoured over motorists by having greater access to the road. Earlier this year a petition was started by Drivers for Registration of Cyclists calling for all Aussie cyclists to be ordered to ride in single file, rather than two abreast.
The group claimed the rule, which allows cyclists to ride alongside one another with a 1.5m distance between them, should be overturned as it creates a hazard for both bike riders and motorists.
“We are tired of taxpayer dollars being lavished on expensive road systems with designated bike lanes, only to see cyclists continue to ride 2 or more abreast, spilling into main traffic lanes and impeding traffic flow,” the petition read. “We are tired of the safety hazards such cyclists present, and we are tired of being told we’re bad drivers if we complain about this problem.”
But according to the Labor party, the new lanes would reduce all chances of collision and would have minimal impact on travel times for drivers.
“This is a welcome announcement for bike riders, pedestrians public transport users and motorists alike – ensuring this busy road is safer for everyone, all the way from St Kilda Town Hall to the NGV,” Member for Albert Park Martin Foley said.