Infrastructure Victoria defends bike lanes

Melbourne media is currently going nuts about bike lanes, with numerous unsubstantiated attacks blaming bike lanes for congestion and fear-mongering over trader welfare.  

Last week, we published a story explaining how this 'bikelash' seems to be an inevitable part of progression in our city, looking at similar historical opposition to now wildly successful pieces of bike riding infrastructure. 

And this week Infrastructure Victoria CEO Jonathan Spear hit back also with an op-ed piece (which was turned down for publishing) titled 'Why the city needs safe and more reliable alternatives to car usage'. 

You can read the article in full on the Infrastructure Victoria website, but one of the key themes explored was the idea of 'induced demand' – which is economist-speak for when increasing the supply of something (like roads) makes people want that thing even more. Basically, more roads = more traffic.

"Blaming bike lanes for traffic jams is flawed logic and ignores the lessons of ‘induced demand’.

"We can’t build our way out of congestion. Numerous traffic studies show that more road space for cars leads to more people driving, further clogging our roads – the induced demand effect", stated Infrastructure Victoria CEO Jonathan Spear.

Mr Spear went on to reference one of the most recent hit-pieces from The Herald Sun, where blame was being directed at bike lanes for congestion despite the fact "cyclists account for just one in four vehicles on Melbourne's CBD streets".

But of course, one in four just proves the new bike lanes are indeed working!

"Data collected by the Herald Sun last week shows that cyclists already account for one in four vehicles on Melbourne’s streets. This compares to one in five cyclists prior to COVID-19 and one in 20 back in 2007", stated Mr Spear.

The article defending bike lanes also made reference to Infrastructure Victoria's Transporting Melbourne's Recovery paper from early last year, which identified the risk of a growing number of city-goers preferring their cars to travel to and around the inner city post-COVID.

This trend that has now materialised, with road use in early March was 92% of pre-COVID levels and growing by 1% each week. Meanwhile, public transport remains around half (53%) of pre-COVID levels.

An independent review from late last year was completed by Deloitte, who echoed Infrastructure Victoria's advice, stating that bike paths have the potential to carry two or three times more people into the city than the car lanes that were already at capacity pre-pandemic, providing a massive boost to COVID recovery.

Further reading:

Read the Infrastructure Victoria article here.

Read our brief history of misguided opposition to bike lanes here.

Read more about Deloitte's independent transport review here.

Or you can read about how bike lanes are apparently ruining the city by opening any major newspaper.

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