There have been 66 crashes involving cyclists on Sydney Road since December 2014. Photo: Simon Schluter Artist impression of proposed Sydney Road bicycle lane.
An extra bike lane could be added to Sydney Road in Brunswick to prevent disastrous “doorings” such as the one that killed an Italian chef this year.
Moreland Council has proposed the new bike lane along the main street, in attempt to make it safer for cyclists.
There were 66 crashes that involved cyclists on Sydney Road – between Park and Bell streets – in the five years to December 2014.
The new bike lane system would operate differently during off peak and peak times, in order to put more distance between bikes and lines of parked cars.
Cyclists would ride alongside the tram lines, out of the reach of car doors, during off-peak periods when parking is allowed.
A kerbside bicycle lane and clearway currently operates along Sydney Road for just two hours each day, on one side of the road (in the peak-hour direction).
Cyclists have a dedicated lane on the east side between 7am and 9am, and along the west side between 4pm and 6pm.
The council will approach the state government, VicRoads and Yarra Trams asking for support, approval and funding for the draft concept.
Councillors will vote on the proposal on Wednesday night.
“At this stage, the proposed design has only been developed as an indicative concept design and requires a full design process, including a road safety audit,” the council’s report said.
Alberto Paulon died in Brunswick on February 27 this year when a motorist parked on Sydney Road opened her door in front of him as he was riding to work with his fiance.
The 25-year-old was thrown under a truck driving next to him.
Following the tragedy, safety improvements for Sydney Road were fast-tracked. The council also held a public meeting, where they were told that cyclists “felt unsafe when using Sydney Road”.
In March hundreds of cyclists rode along Sydney Road to pay tribute Mr Paulon, with organisers calling for a separated lane for cyclists.
But Moreland council’s latest vision to improve safety in the area falls well short of what cycling advocates have proposed.
A blueprint created for “revitalising Sydney Road” calls for on-street parking to be removed and replaced with two-metre wide bike lanes.
The plan would allow the creation of level access tram stops and the widening of footpaths for dining areas, displays and more trees.
The coalition of cycling groups argue that there is already a lot of off-street parking around Sydney Road and that upgrades could be made to these facilities to improve capacity.
On Wednesday the council will also decide whether to approve $100,000 for urgent works to the Upfield Share Path, after an audit found 128 items for improvement.
The council is also likely to lobby the government for widening of the path in key locations.
Meanwhile, it is understood VicRoads will place 83 new signs along the Sydney Road bitumen warning cyclists and motorists about the risk of car doorings.
The silhouetted image shows a person opening their car door, a cyclist riding towards the car wearing a helmet and the word “LOOK”.
An anti-dooring bike lane similar to the one proposed for Sydney Road already exists on Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn. Yarra Trams said it had received no reports of collisions between trams and cyclists using the lane, but “there remains a referred risk from drivers opening the door of a parked car causing other cars or cyclists to take evasive action”.
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