'Basically murder': Cyclists slam detail in Melbourne street

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A narrow lane in Melbourne’s CBD has some cyclists fearing for their lives.

A photo of Collins Street uploaded to Reddit sparked an outcry among users after the poster claimed the “green strip” was a bike lane and was just “20 centimetres wide".

“Holy s**t that’s bad,” one person wrote online. “That is basically murder.”

“This is scarier than my nightmares,” said another.

Others slammed the lane as unfit for purpose.

“That murder strip is unsafe for any use,” someone claimed.

Collins Street (left) and comments on reddit (right)
The photo of Collins Street in Melbourne's CBD sparked outrage among social media users who slammed the lane as 'basically murder' for cyclists Source: reddit

“I totally don’t see the point of having a bike lane here at all,” another added.

“The street is extremely narrow, the speed limit should be 20 to 30 kilometres at most, and there’s no way that a car could pass a bicycle safely here.”

But the City of Melbourne clarified the stretch of green path that runs parallel to the tram stop near the corner of Spencer Street isn’t a bike lane at all.

The council explained to Yahoo News Australia the road marking referred to on Collins Street was installed many years ago to encourage vehicles to keep right.

It also pointed out that the strip wouldn’t fall within Victoria’s minimum passing distance laws which require drivers and motorcycle riders to provide bike riders at least one metre clearance in speed zones up to 60km/h and 1.5 metres on roads over 60km/h.

Collins Street narrow lane behind a tram stop.
This Collins St strip isn't an official bike lane but rather a road marking to encourage vehicles to keep right according to the City of Melbourne. Source: Google Maps

‘Fake bike lanes’

Avid cyclist and Better By Bicycle blogger Adrian Lobo hit out at the green stretch on Collins Street.

“I refer to them as fake bike lanes,” he told Yahoo News Australia, “as most people using bikes will have no idea they are not protected by the Victorian road rules relating to actual bicycle lanes if they have an incident with another road user.”

Regardless of the danger however, Mr Lobo said that he’s often left with no choice but to jump on his wheels.

“Like every cyclist trying to commute efficiently through this part of the CBD, I use Collins Street when I need to, despite the hazards of close passing vehicles," he said.

Mr Lobo said he’s had “plenty of close calls” and has seen a couple of incidents where cars have opened their doors into cyclists.

“Experienced or confident cyclists manage to deal with predictable hazards by riding carefully, but it's too stressful for the many types of people the City of Melbourne and State government would like to see use alternatives to cars.”

Cyclists
Melbourne cyclists say they're often left with no choice but to use Collins Street to get around the city. Source: AAP

‘Nevertheless serves a purpose’

It seems a major Melbourne icon is behind the safety bungle.

According to the Bicycle Network, tram stops along Collins Street “prevent a continuous bike lane from being installed".

“The City of Melbourne installed the green strip to keep cars confined to the traffic lane and allow sufficient space for bikes to filter through to the left of motor traffic,” the organisation's Acting CEO Rebecca Lane told Yahoo News Australia.

“Without that strip, cars would be straddled across all of the road space and no riders would be able to get along Collins Street when traffic was banked up.”

Ms Lane said it “nevertheless serves a useful purpose in helping people on bikes get from A to B".

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