bicycle crossing lanes

Crossing the Line

Progress updating the Yarra Promenade crossing over Queens Bridge Street has been a little slow through this year having seen several incremental works. Each side is connected to expansive and generally well flowing shared paths (despite their questionable speed limits as pictured below), the few occasions per year in which they are taken over for festivals leave few alternatives but such events are very infrequent. Now with no new work having occurred in months this may be the final design. In theory the cyclists are clear across the intersection rather than being blocked by a wall of oncoming pedestrians who will filter through each other but will not filter bikes.

bicycle crossing lanes

Above is a typical image from a sunny evening before the commuter or party rush, already the pedestrians are filling the bicycle crossing preventing cyclists from exiting the intersection regardless of the sounding of bells or horns. Despite the green lanes painted complete with obvious directional and cycling symbols, compliance is woefully low. Even when cyclists are waiting at the kerb pedestrians will happily file in front of them to block the way.

239 Pedestrians on a bicycle path or separated footpath
(1) A pedestrian must not be on a bicycle path, or part of a separated footpath designated for the use of bicycles, unless the pedestrian:
(a) is crossing the bicycle path or separated footpath by the shortest safe route; and
(b) does not stay on the bicycle path or separated footpath for longer than necessary to cross the bicycle path or separated footpath safely.
Offence provision.
(2) However, a pedestrian may be on a bicycle path, or part of a separated footpath designated for the use of bicycles, if;
(a) the pedestrian is:
(i) in or pushing a wheelchair; or
(ii) on rollerblades, rollerskates or a similar wheeled recreational device; and
(b) there is no traffic control device, or information on or with a traffic control device, applying to the bicycle path or separated footpath that indicates that the pedestrian is not permitted to be on the bicycle path or the part of the separated footpath designated for the use of bicycles.
(3) A pedestrian who is crossing a bicycle path, or part of a separated footpath designated for the use of bicycles, must keep out of the path of any bicycle, or any pedestrian who is permitted under sub rule (2) to be on the bicycle path, or the part of the separated footpath designated for the use of bicycles.
Offence provision.
(4) In the Australian Road Rules:
bicycle path means a length of path beginning at a bicycle path sign or bicycle path road marking, and ending at the nearest of the following:
(a) an end bicycle path sign or end bicycle path road marking;
(b) a separated footpath sign or separated footpath road marking;
(c) a road (except a road-related area);
(d) the end of the path.
bicycle path road marking means a road marking on a path, consisting of a bicycle symbol, the words ‘bicycles only’, or both the bicycle symbol and the word ‘only’
….

Many pedestrians gravitate towards the shortest inside line across this crossing and will enter from the kerb or wander sideways into the path as they cross. While in the path I have been collided with on many occasions from pedestrians drifting sideways into me, to the point of being knocked clear off my bicycle. Trying to raise attention from bells, horns, or voice can draw abuse, insults, and combative obstruction along with generally the desired clearing of the way but even then some people remain oblivious and cause such collisions.

Through the lack of compliance a catch 22 is now forming where the pedestrians take the short route across the bicycle crossing while some cyclists are using the pedestrian area, only further re-enforcing the behaviour.

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