view across T intersection

Herded into Danger

Back on the hunt for new infrastructure in Melbourne it didn’t take much effort to find an example of the continuing disregard for established standards, or basic safety. All to the backdrop of the much criticised rental bicycle scheme here on Wellington Parade South.

The above misalignment of the median refuge to the adjacent dropped kerb should be a hint to the level of detail which has been applied to this months old installation, but is just a flourish to the scene. When you advance into the intersection and try to take refuge between the traffic lanes:

bicycle storage box in middle of intersection

For those not familiar with the bicycle stencil, it is 1100mm wide by 1800mm long (3 feet 7 inches by 5 feet 11 inches) and measuring the kerb this refuge provides just 1900mm (6 feet 3 inches) of protected space for a cyclist to wait inside. There is neither room for more than one cyclist or any larger bicycle design such as a recumbent or delivery bike.

The Victorian guides place a minimum depth of 2000mm (6 feet 7 inches) for a refuge noting that 1800mm would only be appropriate for a person walking their bicycle, clearly not intended with this refuge connecting to a road rather than between footpaths. The Australian guides go even further requiring 2500mm (8 feet 2 inches) with a 2000mm absolute minimum where the refuge is inside an intersection as here. This is before even considering subtleties such as:

“Refuges should be furnished with a holding rail to allow a stationary cyclist to remain mounted within the refuge area”

A concept entirely absent from the design language of Victorian road planners, to go along with their inability to maintain minimum feature sizes even when faced with excess space as here. No wonder people choose to cycle on the empty footpaths.


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