Riders doing it tough in Melbourne's west with cyclists citing poor paths as a big turn off

Post date: Dec 1, 2015 3:33:39 AM

Adam Carey, The Age December 1, 2015

Melbourne's inner west has a reputation as one of the most hostile parts of the city for bike riders, with wide industrial roads filled with fast-moving container trucks and a shortage of paths across the Yarra River, a report has found.

The report pinpoints the many missing links in the west's patchy bike network: on-road lanes that funnel riders into heavy traffic or which disappear beneath the wheels of parked cars; bike paths that end abruptly and force riders to navigate across major freight routes.

Getting the West on Track was commissioned by the Victorian Greens as a guide to how Melbourne's west could catch up with other parts of the inner city, where cycling is booming thanks to safer paths.

It argues building better bike links would reduce the area's heavy dependence on car travel, cut road congestion and improve health problems linked with a lack of exercise and higher vehicle emissions.

Victorian Greens MP Colleen Hartland said there were many people in the western suburbs keen to ride a bike and the government had a responsibility to make it safer for them.

"The inner western suburbs have just one safe cycling CBD commuter route," Ms Hartland said.

"This is just not good enough, particularly when you consider that, in the inner northern suburbs, every second road features a bike lane."

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Cyclists using a bike path on Shepherd Bridge, Footscray. Photo: Penny Stephens