The bike facility unceremoniously extinguished from Dalton’s Road, Thomastown, could be resurrected.
The bike lanes on Dalton Road are one of the few convenient connections for commuting riders north of the Ring Road to get through to the inner suburbs and the Melbourne CBD, and back home again.
But recently those riders were left high and dry when a safety improvement at an intersection morphed into a capacity upgrade that included an additional traffic lane, which – due to space constraints – demanded the removal of the bike lane.
Consequently, for the first time in years a bike lane was removed from a road without an alternative being provided.
After questioning from Bicycle Network, this mistake has been redefined as an “interim” step, and the prospect of a replacement bike facility has been floated.
The original scheme was well intentioned.
The intersection of Dalton Road and Spencer Street has a bad crash record with 12 crashes, one fatality and two serious injuries in five years.
Drivers were failing to judge the gaps in traffic as they turned or crossed.
Consequently raised platform intersections have been installed in Dalton Road. This type of intersection – when constructed with appropriate vertical deflection – results in slower traffic at the point where a collision is most likely to occur.
These intersections are a great innovation and will benefit bike riders and pedestrians as well as those in motor vehicles.
However in this case, unconscious bias seems to have crept into the design process where, perhaps unwittingly, a decision was made to increase risk to bike riders by taking away their road space while looking after drivers by giving them an additional lane.
Vic Roads says "the on-road northbound shared bicycle and parking lane on Dalton Road between Spencer Street and Buckingham Court (approximately 370m in length) has been used as a traffic lane.
"This is to reduce the start-stop traffic conditions that result in rear-end crashes.
"Our project team is installing appropriate signage as the required width space is available for cyclists to share the kerb side lane in the interim.
"A key element of the project is to ensure that cycling connectivity is maintained and improving safety for all road users.
"To this end, the Project scope includes an off-road dedicated lane for cyclists in this section between Spencer Street and Buckingham Court.
"Our project team is working with Council to work through the construction challenges and finalise a delivery plan."