bicycle rider waiting at advanced stop line

Paint is Ineffective

A concerning amount of the bicycle “infrastructure” in Melbourne is simply paint, often put down in a snide manner without any utility at all (or as there actually deprioritising bicycles). Bicycle storage areas (advance stopping lines) can be a cheap way to prioritise bicycles at signalised intersections or provide additional safety but here in Melbourne they rarely do either.

Even well publicised “flagship” efforts around the city miss the point and leave incoherent and barely functional results that are worse for bicycle priority than no bicycle infrastructure at all, and safety claims would need supporting evidence of the specific techniques used in Melbourne, not international examples of segregation done correctly differently. As bicycles in Australia are obliged to use onroad lanes where they are provided even if they only last dozens of meters before requiring bicycles to give way and merge back into traffic as seen repeatedly there on William Street, these markings are adding nothing but visibility to cycling.

Several functions are provided with advance stopping lines but the most repeated and appropriate use as recommended in the Australian guides is to improve visibility and safety of cyclists where there are left (kerbside) turning vehicles which would otherwise cross their path hooking across the bicycle route. Nowhere in the Australian guides is prioritisation mentioned but this intersection of South Road with Beach Road has none of these characteristics:

Without an approaching bicycle lane or the possibility of left turning traffic the bicycle storage area in the video is unwarranted, and just adds visibility of doing something. The lanes are not even wide enough to allow a bicycle and car to share but a cyclist carefully made their way past the stopped traffic and to the front of the queue as they are legally entitled to. The driver of the silver four wheel drive has most certainly seen the person now in front of them and drives into the intersection against a red light to try and get in front once again. With a surprising calmness the cyclist simply waves goodbye to the impatient driver as they depart.

Paint without enforcement is simply a waste of time and money, drawing in cyclists that then receive no protection.

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