Beach Road in Melbourne is renowned for the volumes of cyclists taking advantage of its lack of intersections to form a mostly continuous 30-80 km return route for training rides. During fine weather cyclists outnumber other vehicles during their morning peak and there is a constant presence of cyclists along the route which has driven the evolution of this road to its current design.
The majority of the road is 2 traffic lanes in each direction with the left most lane in each direction available for parking outside of clearway times, a specific clearway being introduced for the peak cycling periods on the weekend. Outside of clearway operation the normal situation is traffic weaving between the left and right lanes to alternately avoid turning and parked vehicles and the ever tiresome issues drivers have with merging. Several sharp corners and crests of hills along the route reduce sight lines to these obstacles well below the minimum required for an arterial road of 60 km/h (30 mph) which is why it was encouraging to see the pictured section around Charman Road updated with a modern design including dedicated parking bays, bicycle lanes, and a median turning lane.
Eliminating the need to merge or change lanes increases throughput and should reduce accidents but in true disaster style the minimum width bicycle lane and inadequate shared parking/bicycle lane nod to where the real priorities lie despite bicycles being a majority user of this road. The minimum width dedicated bicycle lane in one direction has actually taken away space from cycling in the other with the disingenuous marked bicycle lane (shared with parking) providing no utility for cycling by being narrower than the traffic lanes elsewhere on the road used for parking where a cyclist can more comfortably fit.
Google maps captures two cyclists choosing to ignore the dangerously narrow section and riding out in the remaining traffic lane as there is not enough space for a single cyclist to fit safely in the bicycle lane.
But accustomed to this some cyclists are trying the same manoeuvre in the reverse direction where they have an adequate and unobstructed lane for their exclusive use demonstrated here by organised club riders.
The median turning lane is scattered with islands and pedestrian refuges preventing vehicles from passing these cyclist for much of the section resulting in vehicles racing to pass the cyclists before they are blocked once again.
You cannot see the island behind the large ute (pickup) leading to the following driving:
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.
From this these supposed cycling facilities are little more than greenwash and restrict cyclists to less space than a design which has no specific bicycle facilities. Going beyond the absolute minimum it is possible to provide space for cyclists to ride abreast:
But thats only included in odd shaped spaces that couldn’t fit parking.