overhead view of a complex intersection with no bicycle lanes

Stranded Storage

Bicycle infrastructure follows a typical pattern in Melbourne, its dropped in place without considering its utility in a vain attempt to spend budgets and be seen to be doing something. Starting with that sort of ignorant design it quickly becomes a disaster once you add in the selfish public to the mix.

St Kilda Road is the one of the major bicycle routes to the city, and continues onto the “traffic free” Swanston Street across the city and to the North. Lacking any clear planning in its development early in Melbourne’s history the junctions don’t align with the current traffic flows and there are several difficult offset T-juncitons as pictured here.

overhead view of a complex intersection with no bicycle lanes

Thanks to Apple maps we can take a close in aerial view of the layout with freedom to reposition the camera and take different angles but this view spectacularly captures the bicycle lanes which simply give up and make no attempt to get cyclists safely through the intersection. With no priority to merge across into the straight through lanes cyclists must wait for a gap in traffic before joining the through lanes and then ride amongst the motor vehicles. But it is the bicycle storage areas (advance stop lines) which are the most egregious additions.

If motor traffic is stopped and queuing at a red light there is no access to the storage box unless cyclists lane filter through the lines of traffic, guessing at how long before the light turns green. Recent road rule changes clarified and make legal the accepted practices of lane filtering only for motorcycles and made no mention of cyclists leaving it as a grey area which is likely against the road rules but not made clear either way. So the only way to get to the bicycle storage area is to take the lane and be in front of other traffic when approaching a red light.

In attempting just this situation the driver of the silver/grey soft-roader (with licence plate 1KD 5KA) first tries to push their way into the lane and after failing to move the cyclist out of the way they accelerate ahead and cut across the solid line instead. The end result of the situation is there is a bicycle stopping area in front of the car which is unable to be accessed. As seen previously motor vehicles will go to extreme lengths to avoid being behind a bicycle, even here where the delay would have been minimal as cyclists continue from this intersection in their own lane.

These inappropriately used advanced stopping lines/boxes are taking useful space away from the road area with zero benefit, they either need access for cyclists (and some enforcement to stop cars blocking them) from the bicycle lanes, amending the lane splitting laws, or removal of the boxes entirely. Leaving them in place is just enticing cyclists to illegally and dangerously filter through the traffic to try and get to the promised lands.

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