What is a bicycle lane?

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at 8:58 pm

It didn’t take me long after moving into my place in Mount Waverley to determine what while there were options (length, hills, shops) for my bicycle commute home, the commute to work was via Lawrence Road and Pinewood Drive:

While this still involved a decent hill, it was fairly steady and didn’t have anywhere near the traffic of Blackburn Road. What wasn’t clear was whether Pinewood Drive had bicycle lanes. There were no signs or markings, just wide parking lanes, yet the council’s maps of bicycle paths (local copy) showed it as having on-road marked lanes.

In February 2011 I contacted the council and then in April 2011 they painted bicycle logos. However they never installed signs, which means they were not legally (according to VicRoads information) bicycle lanes.

For a week after they painted the bicycle logos I used the “lanes” but after three near-doorings I didn’t use them again, but I continued to ride along Pinewood Drive.

A few weeks ago the council resurfaced Pinewood Drive and once they started to mark our for new lines I asked the council via twitter if the new lanes would continue across intersections. The answer was yes. But once they started marking the actual lines I realised my question was too narrow. Instead I should have asked if they would follow current design standards in general, not just one specific part.

It isn’t as if the council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy (local copy) – adopted 30 April 2013 – has a section (6.3, page 22) about ensuring consistent design standards. Oh wait, yes it does. See page 14 for ‘Ensuring consistent design standards’ and action item 18 references Austroads and VicRoads guidelines.

Those guidelines are available online: VicRoads – Design Standards for Bicycles and Austroads Guidelines. I haven’t bothered to register to get the free PDF download from Austroads, since the Cycle Notes No. 12 – Design Standards for Bicycles (local copy) looks to have sufficient information.

This is the third page from that document:

To me it provides a pretty good overview of how a modern bicycle lane should be marked out.

Here are two photos of the new markings (note quite complete) in Pinewood Drive:

Pinewood Drive and Waverley Road

Pinewood Drive and Illuka Cres

So what issues do I see?

The text at the top of page 3 in cycle note 12 says that bicycle lanes are defined by:

  • painting two, 100mm wide, solid white lines on each side of the bicycle lane – nope, left hand side is broken line
  • painting bicycle logos – ok, there are some of these, but more later…
  • installing bicycle lane signs – not yes, maybe they will be installed this time?

Referncing between the page 3 diagram and my two photos:

  • Bicycle logo is not at the start of the lane.
  • Solid lines and a painted island prevent entry into the bicycle lane. Has this been just marked wrong? See the spray painted line…
  • Instead of a parking lane line to define the parking area, there is a broken line
  • Continuity lines (there is only a single line) do not continue through the intersection. Though the marking out has two lines…
  • The end of the bicycle lane (under the painters truck on the other side of the road) does not end of a short length of continuity line.
  • Why is the end of the parking bay angled, not squared off as in the diagram?

This post is partially being written as my way of explaining my concerns to the council, it will be interesting to see what happens. And I haven’t even covered the eastern end of Pinewood Drive (between the school crossing and Blackburn Road) which the council’s map shows has having marked bicycle lanes, yet…

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