Cyclists and pedestrians are obstructing the introduction of lane filtering in Victoria from September 1 with the use of bike lanes already axed.
Online public consultation has now closed and Vic Roads has entered the design phase, but Australian Motorcycle Council secretary Tony Ellis says there have been delays because VicRoads has invited the bicycle lobby and Pedestrian Council to take part.
“Needless to say they’re both anti-filtering and we can’t work out the reasoning,” Tony says.
“Because of this widening of the consultation process we’re getting obstructionism from agencies that are only peripherally involved but who all want to comment,” he says. “Their people all seem to be cyclists.”
The Victorian Motorcycle Council had suggested motorcycle and scooter riders be allowed to use bike lanes and cyclists argued against it.
Now it seems they have got their way as Roads Minister Luke Donnellan has announced bike lane access will not be going ahead, citing “the incompatibility between bicycle and motorcycle speed, weight, speed and” and the “likelihood of crashes”.
(By that reasoning, bicycles should not be allowed on the roads, either! – MBW)
Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby says the police and Insurance Council of Australia opposed lane filtering in NSW and Victoria Walks had opposed it in Victoria.
He says their main objections are that people crossing the road legally outside of pedestrian crossings between stationary cars could be struck by a motorcycle and that filtering riders tend to illegally invade pedestrian crossing areas.
However, the main point of contention in the public feedback seems to be the speed limit factor.
Riders are arguing for at least 40km/h, which is more than the 30km/h limit allowed in NSW and Queensland, but less than some of the speeds suggested in several states of the US which is considering introducing the laws.
Separate, but compatible submissions have been made by several rider groups including the Victorian Motorcycle Council, Independent Riders’ Group and Victorian Scooter Riders Association.
They argue that the speed limit in the Melbourne CBD where most lane filtering will be practised is 40km/h and it makes no sense to impose a slower speed on riders.
Other points made by the various rider group submissions include:
- No new offences. Existing laws cover dangerous riding.
- No ban on filtering between parked cars and traffic.
- No ban on filtering between the line of traffic and kerbside.
- No ban on on filtering around large vehicles such as buses and trucks.
- New stop lines to separate pedestrians from bicycles, motorcycles and scooters and to separate the two-wheelers from cars, improving safety for all road users.
- L plate riders restricted to safe traffic filtering through stationary traffic at controlled intersections which is currently legal under road rule 141.1.c.
- Support for a ban on filtering at tram stops and safety zones because of the narrower lanes.
- Edge filtering allowed as in Queensland, but on roads marked at 80km/h or higher, not 90km/h.
With about a month to go before the final draft is submitted to the minister, Tony says they are optimistic about the final outcome “since we know we have good support within the Minister’s office”.
However, the bike lanes issue now seems buried by that same Minister.
VicRoads Acting Manager Vehicle and Motorcycling Policy Ben Matters says they have “no plans to present a draft plan before seeking in-principle ministerial endorsement”.