lane filter filtering splitting traffic commute commuting congestion Brisbane

Narrow lanes ‘would promote riding’

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Rather than making roads wider, new research shows that adding more narrower lanes to existing roads would not only aid traffic flow but also promote more motorcycles and scooters.

University of Melbourne professor Chair of Statistics and motorbike rider Prof Richard Huggins says the plan has some merit.

The Grattan Institute suggests narrow lanes would reward motorists in smaller cars and on powered two wheelers and encourage people to ditch big SUVs in the city.

Melbourne City Council’s future transport strategy has picked up on the idea which has been welcomed by the Victorian Motorcycle Council.

VMC media spokesman John Eacott says altering road design to include narrow lanes dedicated to small traffic such as micro and light cars and motorbikes would have a beneficial effect on congestion.

Prof Huggins says it would be a good idea “at least in Melbourne”.

Melbourne roads lane filtering more often congestion promote
Melbourne traffic

“It would make the last bit of people’s commute much easier and safer,” he says.

“We had a very informal chat with City of Melbourne a few years ago about something similar (back then a narrow lane for single track vehicles) but as there were no regulations to cover such a lane it didn’t get to square one.”

Promote small cars and bikes

The Grattan Institute report says Australian cars are getting wider.

In the early 2000s, Aussie motorists started ditching their large sedans for hatchbacks.

However, in the past decade or more, they have swung over to SUVs and pick-ups which are much wider.

The report claims these wide vehicles are causing congestion because they limit visibility and intimidate other drivers.

They say adding a narrow lane would encourage motorists to switch to smaller cars and motorcycles and increase the capacity of roads to carry traffic.

Of course, a simple solution would be to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes and bike lanes. (Motorcycles are allowed to use bus lanes only in NSW, ACT and some Melbourne streets on a trial basis.)

It also doesn’t take into account that riders can lane filter and help ease traffic congestion. Narrower lanes might prevent that.

But there is another result which the safety Nazis will just love.

Narrow lanes would force drivers to be more cautious and slow down.Commute traffic lane filtering speed wet NSW sydney police commuting slow speeding speed limit

The Grattan Institute also suggested in 2017 that a congestion tax should be introduced in Sydney and Melbourne during peak hours within five years.

That is another suggestion that Melbourne City Council has embraced. Click here to read more.

  1. Part of the solution may be in reducing registration cost of motorcycles and small cars, the present system of car registration based upon cylinders is ridiculous as most 4WD’s are 4 cylinder. Secondly 3rd party insurance should apply to your drivers licence fee not your vehicle this would promote purchasing a second small vehicle for commuting.

  2. Agree with most of the sentiments here as usual, but not sure why the anti cycling attitudes persist. Cyclists have to frequently swerve out of their “lane” if you could call it that, due to having to avoid all kinds of debris. The most obvious one is broken glass – usually deliberately thrown there by some moronic car passenger who thinks they are incredibly clever for doing so…

    1. Matt, the ‘anti-cycling attitude’ persists because of the unacceptable attitude and behaviour of many cyclists. I regularly ride the metropolitan coast of Adelaide where it is not uncommon for bike riders to ride up to 5 abreast blocking traffic and thinking it’s a great joke! Motorists travelling behind them get impatient and cross onto the wrong side of the road to pass. Bike riding mental illness makes it ‘legal’ (?) for motorists to pass crossing solid and even double lines if they think it safe to do so meaning that I have been forced almost into the gutter on occasion.

      Road rules don’t apply to cyclists. For example, how many stop at stop signs or even red lights and pedestrian crossings. A few days ago, approaching a tight roundabout, gave plenty of indication to turn right, a cyclist approaching from the other direction from a distance had plenty of warning of my intention but did not slow down and at no time used his brake and almost came into collision with me. He then abused me for not taking the roundabout faster. I rode around at appropriate speed. The reality as in many cases bike riders get up speed and they don’t want to stop or use their brakes unless they absolutely have to. I use the term bike riding MENTAL ILLNESS because that is precisely what is going on in this society where Road Rules and COMMON SENSE SAFETY are thrown out to encourage and protect bike riders. And no Matt, I do not condone people throwing things out of cars – especially bottles.

      As I said in my post footpaths along the Adelaide coast have been widened to allow bikes to use the path. This has meant the roads are narrower, parked cars open their doors into the road creating a danger and there is in most parts not enough room to lane filter. We live in this bloody great big fabulous country called Australia. We’ve got a huge land area and our planning MORONS want to narrow everything down under the guise of encouraging people to drive smaller cars. It’s not happening, the trend is SUV’s. Seriously, the country’s going to dogs run by no-talent wankers. To prove it, just look what has been done to the CBD of Adelaide. It is impossible to legally lane filter on many streets where it was once possible. Why? Priority push bike lanes and assorted unnecessary barriers.

      In the final analysis Matt push bike riders are their own worst enemies in the PR stakes. If you want RESPECT you’ve got to show RESPECT. Too many push bike riders are caught up in their own selfish, inconsiderate and dangerous worlds to give a hoot about anyone else. I don’t appreciate being abused when I’m riding responsibly just because some ARROGANT DICKHEAD push bike rider thinks he’s above the law and doesn’t want to use his brakes. Nevertheless, you might be happy to know, I resisted the urge to take the matter further – even though I had the incident recorded on my action camera. It is time for push bikes to be registered and display plates so the law can be enforced against them.

  3. if some of the stupid morons got off their phones and paid attention to the traffic and moved to the appropriate lane and moved fully into the left turn lane at intersections, traffic could move smoothly. Sorry but the quality of today’s driver has diminished. Poor driver training and too much focus on mass revenue from speed infringements. Filtering can work effectively if drivers realize they need to be aware of all traffic not just the car in front and what Jimmy Barnes track will play when Justin Bieber finishes.

  4. Narrower roads ‘solution’. I’m reminded of the Aussie bleeder, Norman Gunston when he uttered those immortal words and asked: “How far will the morons spread?” Taking the Adelaide CBD as the paradigm for narrower roads it is clear that the morons have not only spread to motor vehicle/road planning – they are breeding out of control and have taken over to wreak havoc on what was once the best planned Australian capital city with the widest roads designed to cope with future congestion.

    Ever since the push bike riding mental illness epidemic struck, Adelaide’s streets have been deliberately narrowed to the point that motorcyclists cannot legally lane filter in many sections of road. Allowing motorcyclists to use bus and bike lanes would help. And hopefully, one of the rocket scientists over at DIPTI might read or be told of this post and have a light bulb moment. How about getting the pushbikes off the footpath – then they won’t have to be so wide. Then widen the road to allow lane filtering. The sense of this suggestion can be seen on the stretches of Esplanade road between Somerton and Glenelg South and along the seafront at Henley where bike riders often deliberately block the whole road!

    Narrower roads – you must be joking. A moron suggestion if ever there was one.

  5. It doesn’t matter what steps are taken, congestion is unavoidable and better roads will only fill more quickly.
    Making it easier and cheaper to ride mopeds, scooters and motorcycles would help short term.
    Schedule truck deliveries off peak times at night.

  6. Why not just make one lane currently for motorcycle or scooter users. If you want an easier commute, that’s the way to do it. Also, instead of taxing people for congestion, subsidise motorcycle users.

  7. Not seeing how a narrow lane will make it easier for motorcyclists as it will inhibit your ability to lane filter. Perhaps they mean it will increase the general traffic flow only.

  8. Narrow lanes create less space for all vehicles to avoid other vehicles ‘numpty moves’ in traffic.
    What’s needed is less concrete traffic islands, ditch the sharp metal fridge door ‘keep left’ etc signs littering Australian roadways & more motorised two wheeled riders.
    Narrow lanes indeed, pushbikes have narrow lanes & can’t for the sake of their safety stay in between them!

  9. My experience says congestion is caused by people who can’t maintain a constant speed, distracted by hands-free talking, talking to other passengers, don’t know how to merge, mobile phone, rubbernecking, can’t take off at the lights at an adequate speed, not to mention those who seem to look like they are terrified while driving their car.
    Every day I drive 25km to work and 25km back, maybe once per fortnight if that, I can set the cruise at 100Kph and be in a group of vehicles and not touch anything until I get to work, the rest of the time is fast, slow, stop, start. And they are convinced they are good drivers by travelling 20km under the indicated speed oblivious to the trouble they cause around them.
    You can’t engineer out stupid.

    1. You are absolutely correct. It seems the latest generations of drivers cannot navigate bends, require the whole world to stop so they can merge and leave bus size gap between them and the car in front of them. The body language shows they are absolutely terrified and the posture is just wrong, head in front of the steering wheel making the whole airbag deployment outright dangerous.

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