Returning to William St as promised (in Latest Thinking) the evolution of this disaster continues. Presented here are 3 of the 10 intersections in which you can try to spot the difference.
The first is a repeat of the previous post at Grice Alley where the lane is terminated by the end sign, so of course the green treatment has been continued along the length up to the intersection. At only 700mm to the kerb it is not meeting the minimum width as required by Vicroads, narrower than the handlebars of my bicycle, and goes further into insanity given Austroads suggest:
The [green pavement] treatment should be used sparingly to maintain its effectiveness
Of course completely ignored by the driver of this BMW M5 in Imperial Blue with number plates 1AA 1TZ. So the width is insufficient for a bicycle lane and there is a bicycle lane end sign terminating the lane before this section, either the sign goes and whats left is a dangerous lane or the green surface needs ripping up to avoid confusion.
Getting better at 1100mm of width when generously measuring to the kerb, yet still insufficient to meet Austroads guides. In use this feels cramped with the narrow vehicle lane adjacent keeping the motor vehicles closer than comfortable. Cars still impinging on the marked bicycle lane since no tactile lines or raised markers have been included to reinforce the separation as have been used elsewhere in Melbourne. While speeding fines are regularly discussed I’ve never heard of anyone complaining about being fined for driving in bicycle lanes despite being easier to prove.
Just scraping in with the required width at 1400mm to kerb or 1200mm as painted this lane continues as the others to a slight advanced start of the lane at the traffic lights. Sadly however the bus parking underneath the lane is insufficient for the large vehicles to fit and this bus blocked sight lines and protruded out into the bicycle lane just on the point where the lane turns back toward the kerb.
Counting the 10 intersections remarked along William Street so far in this update, only 4 of them continue the bicycle lane up to the traffic lights with the remaining 6 all terminating the cyclists to give way and merge back into traffic. More concerning is that of the 10 intersections they exhibit 5 different design patterns with no way for drivers to predict what is coming up. Progress is obviously continuing on some of the intersections but the lines shown and removal of an existing bicycle storage box (otherwise known as a head start or advanced stopping area) do not inspire confidence in the future of these works. Austroads is very clear on the matter:
Where a bicycle lane exists or is planned on roads leading up to an intersection the design should assist the safe passage of cyclists through the intersection. In rural areas this may simply require an adequate clearance between the islands and left edge of the road to provide continuity of shoulders through the intersection. In urban areas it will often involve a bicycle lane marked through the intersection.
Terminating the bicycle lanes requires the riders to give way and merge back into traffic, simultaneously dangerous and putting the cyclists at the bottom of the priority. Sadly the law as implemented through the Road Rules does nothing to help with dangerous designs:
247 Riding in a bicycle lane on a road
(1) The rider of a bicycle riding on a length of road with a bicycle lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction as the rider must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.