Action on Exhibition St cyclist safety

Melbourne councillors have called for action to protect cyclists in Exhibition St.

At the September 4 Future Melbourne Committee meeting they unanimously endorsed a motion proposed by Cr Rohan Leppert to require council officers to urgently find a solution to safety issues.

The meeting heard that cyclists considered cycling in Exhibition St the second worst location in the municipality – behind only the Haymarket roundabout.

Cr Beverley Pinder told the meeting there was a “huge risk” to cyclists using Exhibition St posed by motorists dropping off passengers. 

“It’s just not safe and we need to look after our people and our cyclists,” she said.

Cr Pinder said: “Morning patrol hours of officer time on the bike lanes during the period of June, July and August total something like 650 hours. It’s a huge investment,” she said.  “During this time, 1100 parking infringement notices were issued. So clearly, we have a problem.”

Councillors unanimously supported a motion which:

“Notes that, indicated by the number of public complaints and the frequency with which enforcement officers are required to attend, the ‘peak hour only’ bicycle lanes in Exhibition Street have not been as effective as desired;”

Notes the completion of action 34 of the 2016-20 Bicycle Plan in the 2017-18 financial year, being ‘Exhibition Street - Investigate options for full time bicycle lanes by completing traffic modeling studies;” and

“Requests a report from management being presented to this committee in October 2018 setting out the findings of the aforementioned investigation and recommendations as to how to make Exhibition St safer for all users, including options to expedite works.”

In a submission to the committee, Her Majesty’s Theatre manager, production and capital works, Matthew Peckham, asked for an opportunity to “engage in a meaningful consultation process before planning begins”.

Mr Peckham said: “We believe that the impact of a kerb-side permanent bicycle lane on pedestrian safety would be potentially disastrous.”

He said, should painted bicycle lanes outside his theatre become permanent, the effect on his business would be profound. He said buses dropping off elderly patrons would be particularly affected. 

Mr Peckham said centre-of-the-road parking posed the greatest threat to both safety and amenity.

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