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Offline ozbob

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Active transport
« on: October 10, 2011, 03:54:01 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Rentals up, but bike scheme a work in progress

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Rentals up, but bike scheme a work in progress
Adam Cooper
October 9, 2011 - 1:28PM

There can often be more bikes than empty spaces at a Melbourne Bike Share station, but figures show the scheme is slowly growing in popularity.

There are about 600 blue bikes dotted throughout Melbourne's CBD, Southbank and Carlton, but critics say the scheme has failed to catch on because of expensive rental costs, a lack of promotion and the complications borne by Victoria's compulsory helmet laws.

VicRoads figures show there were an average 326 rides per day in September, up from 227 at the corresponding time last year. So far in October, there are an average of 391 rides per day.
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The Age recently monitored one station, at Federation Square, for two hours on a sunny weekday afternoon, and counted just nine bike users, either hiring or returning bikes.

While Melbourne has struggled for numbers, cities such as Paris, Lyon and Dublin — which don't have compulsory helmet laws — have enjoyed enormous success.

Bicycle Network Victoria spokesman Garry Brennan said Melbourne's scheme was steadily growing in popularity since it was launched 16 months ago.

“You've got to realise it's a small scheme and small bike schemes are never as successful as big bike schemes,” he said.

“And our stations were originally located at out-of-the-way locations such as round the back of Federation Square, for example, because the operators had trouble getting permission to locate them in the optimum spots.

“It's been slow to start up, but every month the operators report they get more riders, so it may eventually become popular.”

Melbourne's bike scheme does not hire out helmets despite it being illegal to ride a bike without one, which means users must either bring their own helmets or buy them cheaply from convenience stores.

Brisbane, which has also struggled to find users for its bike scheme, has begun giving out free helmets to encourage more rentals.

A Brisbane council spokeswoman said the number of daily rides had increased by 20 per cent since helmets were first given out in August. The council is yet to decide whether to include helmets as part of the scheme permanently.

Melbourne has no plans at this stage to give out helmets, but critics say a revamp is required for its scheme to be successful.

Bike shop owner John Gould, who has approached the state government about re-fitting the scheme, said Bike Share needed helmets, although he rejected the theory that shared helmets caused hygiene problems.

“If you're in hospital with a brain injury and you say 'I didn't want to wear a helmet because I didn't want to catch any bugs in my hair' … the helmets are the biggest thing. To me it's crazy that the government would provide something that breaks the law,” he said.

Mr Gould said the scheme's pricing structure and a lack of locks steered users towards short trips, whereas the aim should be to get people hiring bikes all day.

“Melbourne's one of the largest flat cities in the world and to me, cycle tourism is a massive potential,” he said.

“I'd go the opposite way to what they're doing. Make it for a day, use the bike to go shopping. Then you're really making an impact on your traffic.”

- with David Tolson

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/rentals-up-but-bike-scheme-a-work-in-progress-20111009-1lfh7.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 03:55:22 AM »
Melbourne Age --> Beach Road safer for cyclists as councils put wheels into motion
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 07:03:44 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Call for trials to test safety of city cycling without helmets

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Call for trials to test safety of city cycling without helmets

Call for trials to test safety of city cycling without helmets
Reid Sexton
October 14, 2011

SCRAPPING Melbourne's helmet laws could be the key to boosting the city's troubled shared bike scheme, according to a Canadian transport expert, who has called for trials in safe places to measure its success.

Gordon Price, who is based at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University and in Melbourne for the Bike Futures Conference, said helmet-free zones should be trialled in safe areas such as where bike paths are separated from roads, including parks and by the Yarra River.

But the idea has been rejected by the Baillieu government and Bicycle Victoria, which said other fixes could be introduced before changing the law. The bike scheme was introduced last year with $5.5 million of state government funding, and around 600 bikes are now dotted around the CBD and its fringes.

Its popularity is slowly growing - about 375 daily trips have been made this month compared with 300 a year ago - but it has struggled to replicate the success of similar schemes in cities such as Paris and Montreal that don't have compulsory helmet laws.

Professor Price, who is a former board member of Vancouver's transport authority, said Melbourne is one of just a few cities that had a bike scheme and compulsory helmet laws.

He said while the scheme's growth was encouraging, it was being used around the world as an example that it's not possible to have a successful scheme and helmet laws. Melbourne riders, who pay as little as $2.50 to use a bike, can buy government subsidised helmets for $5 and return them for a $3 refund.

''I would look to wherever there are separated routes, riverways, parks and that kind of thing,'' Professor Price said. ''Clearly, when you look at your numbers it's pretty obvious that [it's not popular] or that people have decided it's not worth the inconvenience.''

But Bicycle Victoria chief Harry Barber said other solutions would be more effective and easier to introduce. He said the placement of bike docks failed to take advantage of commuter hot spots. More bikes in the Docklands and more investment in bike paths would help Melbourne replicate the success of Paris and Montreal, he said. ''It is in no way reaching its potential,'' he said.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder said compulsory helmet laws were based on strong research and rejected calls for a law change, a stand last night backed by Greens MP Greg Barber. Scheme operator RACV last night would not comment on whether it would continue to run it once the contract expires in September 2013 or if it was losing money.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/call-for-trials-to-test-safety-of-city-cycling-without-helmets-20111013-1lngo.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 02:21:11 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Baillieu slashes construction of cycling projects

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Baillieu slashes construction of cycling projects
Reid Sexton
May 22, 2012

THE number of cycling projects set to be built by the Baillieu government has plummeted to a new low despite the unprecedented surge in cycling's popularity showing no signs of slowing.

This month's austere budget shows just four stand-alone cycling projects are set to be built across the state in 2012-13, down from 22 the previous year.

The government has insisted it remains committed to improving cycling in Victoria, but Bicycle Network Victoria last night said the government had betrayed the state's cyclists.

City of Melbourne surveys show that in the six years to March, bicycle use almost tripled from 4 per cent of all traffic to 11.5 per cent with more than 7500 bikes entering the CBD during a typical morning peak.

The massive popularity surge prompted the Labor government in 2007 to start counting how many bicycle projects were completed each financial year.

The 2012-13 target of four is half the previous low of eight and well down on the almost 16 completed each year since counting began. This year's projects include a link from Millers Road, Altona, to Williamstown Road in Yarraville and an upgrade of Gardiners Creek near Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn.

Bicycle Network spokesman Jason den Hollander said he understood difficult economic times meant cuts had to be made but the severity of the cuts had left him baffled.

''We can't understand this decision given the money needed each year is relatively small. Victorian cyclists would be quite justified in feeling betrayed,'' he said.

A department spokeswoman said last night about $8 million would be spent on all cycling projects next financial year, compared with $14.5 million VicRoads spent on stand-alone cycling projects this financial year.

She said much of next year's spend would not be on stand-alone projects but cycling infrastructure that forms part of bigger projects, such as $5 million on the Regional Rail Link.

Cyclist Hugh Harvey said improved cycling infrastructure was badly needed, including at Shepherds Bridge on Footscray Road where he rides side by side with large trucks every weekday.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/baillieu-slashes-construction-of-cycling-projects-20120521-1z1ed.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 03:33:27 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Drop speeds, ditch helmets, cycling experts say

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Drop speeds, ditch helmets, cycling experts say
Adam Carey
May 29, 2012 - 10:56AM

The speed limit on city streets should be dropped to 30 km/h and helmet laws relaxed if Melbourne is to become a true city for bikes, European cycling experts say.

Melbourne City Council will vote tonight on whether to endorse a strategy to boost bike use to 15 per cent of vehicles that enter the city by 2016, a proportion that would bring Melbourne in line with some celebrated bike cities in Europe.

At the most recent count earlier this year, bikes made up 11 per cent of vehicles that entered the city centre during the morning peak. The council's draft bicycle plan for 2012 to 2016 seeks to lift that figure by 50 per cent, by building a safer environment for cyclists, particularly novice riders. It will spend more than $5 million next year on new bike lanes.

A significant investment in time and resources is required to encourage more people to ride a bicycle. They need to feel legitimate, safe and supported," the draft plan states. "There has been a comprehensive effort to make Melbourne a bicycle-friendly city, however work is needed if cycling is to become a more dominant mode of travel within the municipality."

The 15 per cent target the draft plan is aiming for is the same one that has recently been reached in Berlin, and The Age spoke to European cycling groups about how the city reached that mark.

They said that good bike lanes, although crucial, were only part of the formula for a bicycle-friendly city.

Bike use has risen from just 5 per cent of the German capital's population in 1990 to today's levels, where bikes outnumber cars in some neighbourhoods. Remarkably, the big leap has occurred with a corresponding 38 per cent drop in the cyclist injury rate, according to the Brussels-based European Cycling Federation.

Federation spokesman Julian Ferguson said the German capital has invested in a vast 650-kilometre network of separated bike lanes and 190 kilometres of off-road lanes, and had set a 30 km/h speed limit elsewhere.

"I don't think Melbourne has been quite as politically brave in getting traffic to slow down," said Mr Ferguson, who is a former Melburnian. "In any case in Europe, the magic formula for more cyclists tends to be: slow cars down to 30 km/h and where speeds are above this, you need to have separate, segregated paths."

A review of Victorian speed limits is now under way in an effort to simplify them and potentially lower them in some places.

Another element of Berlin's cycling culture, which is perhaps unlikely to be adopted here, is the absence of helmet laws. Only a minority of cyclists in the city opt for protective head gear and the city has no plans to force them to do so.

"Most traffic experts in Germany say mandatory helmet laws will bring no positive effects because the use of bicycles will decrease and for this we always have the example of Australia, because this is what happened there," said German Cycling Association spokesman Rene Filipek, citing statistics that indicated a large drop in bike use after helmets were made compulsory in 1990.

Mr Filipek said the sheer number of bikes on Berlin's streets had made the city safer for cyclists, because drivers had become better at avoiding them. But he said that the surge in riders had also created new conflict with pedestrians, due to the illegal but widespread habit of riding on the footpath.

"There are not too many accidents but the feeling of security for pedestrians suffers from cyclists on the sidewalk. It's always a topic in the news," he said.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/drop-speeds-ditch-helmets-cycling-experts-say-20120529-1zg64.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 02:40:33 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Fitzroy cyclists get traffic priority

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Fitzroy cyclists get traffic priority
Adam Carey
June 26, 2012

CYCLISTS will be given priority ahead of cars at intersections along Brunswick Street in Fitzroy and 100,000 sticker packs warning drivers to look out for bikes before opening car doors will be distributed in a dual state government effort to improve safety on the road.

The introduction yesterday of traffic light phasing that gives cyclists priority at four intersections in Fitzroy is part of a $219,000 trial by the Baillieu government, which, if found to improve safety, could be introduced at other intersections.

There have been 65 collisions between bikes and cars along Brunswick Street in the past five years, on a road that is used by thousands of cyclists a day.

''Cyclists now have a head-start at these intersections in both directions to improve safety and reduce the potential for conflict with vehicles,'' Transport Minister Terry Mulder said.

But the government has been accused of using the announcement to try to fool the public that $10 million of previously allocated funds for bicycle infrastructure projects are part of the 2012-13 state budget.

''The VicRoads bicycle infrastructure budget is normally about $15 million a year,'' Bicycle Network Victoria's Jason den Hollander said. ''That budget has definitely been dialled down to zero, and they're trying to confuse the cycling community by reannouncing old money.''

A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder conceded there was no funding in the next state budget for VicRoads' bicycle infrastructure projects, but said it was a four-year program that had lapsed.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/fitzroy-cyclists-get-traffic-priority-20120625-20ywi.html
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 03:56:41 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Darebin link completes bike chain

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Darebin link completes bike chain
December 9, 2012 Adam Carey

THE biggest gap in Melbourne's web of off-road bike paths will be joined, with the Baillieu government committing $18 million to connect the dead-end Darebin Creek trail to six other bike routes.

Cycling advocates who have fought for two decades to have the trail extended hailed the decision as a watershed moment for pedal-powered transport in Melbourne, which will make it easier for thousands of people to ride across the city.

The 1.8-kilometre extension will link the southern end of the Darebin Creek trail in Alphington with the main Yarra trail in Kew, ultimately connecting it to a 600-kilometre network of off-road trails through the suburbs.

Work on the path will begin next year and is expected to take three years to complete. It will require the construction of four bridges - a 50-metre bridge across the Yarra River and three smaller bridges across Darebin Creek.

Cyclists who had planned to hold a rally on Sunday at the trail's end said they would instead gather to celebrate the long-sought breakthrough.

''The decision to fire up the Darebin Bridge project is a great leap forward by the government,'' said Bicycle Network Victoria chief executive Craig Richards.

''This decision is the culmination of a 17-year campaign by Bicycle Network and Melbourne bike riders and we expect this facility to become one of Melbourne's major attractions.''

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the bike trail would be extended as part of the government's 10-year strategy to improve cycling opportunities, to be released next year.

The strategy, which is being written in response to a damning 2011 auditor-general's report into the fractured handling of Victoria's cycling strategy, will put cycling under the direction of a single authority.

''The Darebin Creek trail is one of the key missing links in Melbourne's bike network and today's announcement will open up hundreds of kilometres of bike paths throughout Melbourne,'' Mr Guy said.

''The new path will provide a more viable option to commute to work in the CBD and for children to travel across the river to school by bike.''

The new path will skirt Alphington Grammar, the Latrobe Golf Club and Kew Billabong.

The environmentally sensitive nature of the land it will cut through provoked strong community debate when the trail was originally planned several years ago. Opponents, including three local councils, sought to block its development in court. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ultimately granted Parks Victoria approval to build the trail in 2009.

Banyule councillor Tom Melican, a fervent, long-time supporter of the trail, said it would unlock access to the rest of Melbourne for riders living in the north-eastern suburbs.

''By plugging this gap, it means you can virtually ride around Melbourne off-road non-stop. That's how important it is,'' Cr Melican said.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/darebin-link-completes-bike-chain-20121208-2b2ho.html
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Offline Jonno

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 08:19:20 AM »
10 million per Km?  Somebody is rorting the system somewhere?  4 bridges I see but still seems very high. 

Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2015, 11:18:56 AM »
Melbourne Age --> Melbourne should be a city for walkers, says new Places for People report
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Active transport
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2015, 11:21:01 AM »
^
City of Melbourne Places for People 2015 strategy published

http://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/placesforpeople
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