Is this Melbourne’s narrowest bike lane?

Is this Melbourne’s narrowest bike lane? What exactly is the point here?

I wonder if it actually offers cyclists any safety if they have to move out into traffic every time there’s a parked car?

Melbourne's narrowest bike lane?

I’m not sure that it inspires me as a prospective cyclist.

Pic from Brewer Road, Bentleigh. I thought Neerim Road in Carnegie had some narrow bike lanes, but those are wider than a parked car.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

25 replies on “Is this Melbourne’s narrowest bike lane?”

No, the narrowest I think of are beside the superstops in Collins St, my handlebars don’t even fit in the lane, and if I’m in the car I don’t dare drive beside a cyclist through there out of fear for a fellow cyclist’s safety

Alan is correct – the top end of collins street , the bike line, too narrow to be a lane, is ludicrous

I think that occurs right down Collins St… there is also one down at Elizabeth St & Collins (West side)

It looks like it’s exactly the right (minimum) width to me. The required minimum width in a 60 km/h speed zone is 1.5 m and that looks like 1.5 m. The car will be about 1.8 m wide and the line marking is just inside the edge of the car.

I wonder with the Collins St lanes whether they shouldn’t just get rid of the bike lane, paint the whole road orange or similar (the kind of ‘look here’ colour) and mark it shared bike/car and set a speed limit of 20km/h. It’s not like the traffic moves much faster than that most of the day already…

@Matt, good point! Bicycle markings are present, but not visible in this particular photo. (The lines are new; they may not have been fully marked in yet).

This Nearmap link shows them:,145.037477&z=20&t=k&nmd=20111205

@Alan, the lines on Collins near the Superstops don’t look like bike lanes to me. They look like markings to help highlight where the kerb is to motorists.

@Philip, so you’re saying it probably meets the standard? Thanks. But what I’m really wondering then is if the standard is practical?

@mikeys, I’m not sure why Northcote has resulted in something cyclists are unhappy with, as I thought the cycling groups were consulted on the design.

No, it’s wide. Have a look at the “bike lanes” on Sydney Rd Brunswick. And half of them are bluestone gutter.

Consultation on design doesn’t mean incorporation – I’m guessing the PTUA knows this from the exclusion of North Melbourne as an interchange on the RRL… (even though as a flyover, you could build stacked platforms above and have them interchange with the existing platforms – same as in the Loop!)

Well if you have a narrow road, either you have a narrow bike lane or no bike lane. It’s not a wide street and the speed limit should be 50 or 60 km/h. Cars on that street shouldn’t be in a hurry so they can afford to slow down and negotiate a narrower space, as can bikes. 1.5 m is entirely practical as a bike lane on a road of that type. If a car can operate in a 2.7 m lane, a bike can operate in 1.5 m. If there’s too much bike traffic and the bike lanes get congested then a decision needs to be made on whether to remove motor traffic or just shift bikes to another parallel road, such as Centre Road.

The only real problem there is that parking is allowed in bike lanes.

1. Cyclists in Northcote were ignored and regardless of any consultation the lanes there are a travesty.

2. The lanes in Collins St are intended for use by bikes (not to mark the kerb), and some of them have vibra-line and green paint. They aren’t bike lanes according to the road rules however, because there is no signage, and this is because they are too ridiculously narrow and wouldn’t meet any standards for bike lanes.

3. Parking in a supposed bike lane is also a travesty, of safety and of any intention to encourage cycling as a form of transport.

Pretty standard practice in Melbourne. For most councils bike lanes are a low priority and certainly shouldn’t get in the way of cars!

As for Collins St, I can vouch for the fact that they are meant to be bike lanes. There are the bike logos in sections of it.

The (very limited) point of this ridiculous lane in your photo, is to encourage moving cars to drive near the centre of the road rather than near the kerb.

These would number in the hundreds, I think. And don’t get me started on those bike lanes that suddenly disappear, right in the middle of horrific traffic (hello, Clifton Hill over pass!)

What a waste of paint. There are many roads around the area getting the same treatment. Cars will often be parked in these so-called bike lanes, so what’s the point? May the increase in “doorings” is attributable to cyclists perceived increased safety by a stupid white line. If the line wasn’t there, they would give cars a wider berth. Also, in some roads buses veer to the left & into the “bike-lane” to avoid the speed humps.

The bike lane on the St Kilda Rd bridge is the narrowest one I have to deal with on my ride to work. The wing mirrors of trucks in the lane next to it can block almost the entire width of the bike lane.

I have been riding since October into work much of the time. The quickest way for me to go is up Bridge Rd, Richmond, where there is a bike lane but as witnessed here, much of the time there are cars parked there (I’m usually riding before 7AM which is the clearway time, but even then after 7 the clearway’s don’t seem to be enforced and you get cars and delivery trucks parked there). When that happens i mostly just ride on the footpath rather than possibly weave in front of a car.

Re Collins Street, if you are approaching from the Eastern Suburbs I’d highly recommend avoiding it entirely and instead go via the MCG and the Pedestrian Bridge over to Birrarung Marr. That’s much more pleasant, and probably takes about the same amount of time depending on where you are coming from. People who risk riding on Collins Street are brave souls indeed, at least IMHO.

There are many examples of much worse cycle “lanes” out there to be found – a few I have seen have the paint line crossing the concrete of the gutter in parts.

The best I can come up with is the council (or RTA – whoever is taking credit) is merely racking up distance on how much cycleway has been produced – gives them a statistic to show their bosses that they have achieved something.

I would have to say most designated cycle routes (as appear on the brochures produced but the RTA – here in NSW anyway) are certainly not about catering for cyclists, and would be lucky if any cyclists were consulted in their design. Most of it is about getting bikes “out of the way”.

Newcastle (where I live) is an excellent example. It would make a near perfect cycling city – damn flat (and can avoid the hills that do exist if you wish), not real big, and the main streets are really wide – like bullock train wide. Also plenty of greenspace near canals, rivers, harbour that could be utilised as separated cycleways if that kind of thing floats your boat (almost entirely unnecessary).

The thing to remember is that it is an evolution. Cycling is on the increase, more people are cycling for more reasons (not just recreation with the kids), I’m sure it will be recognised as a viable alternative mode of transport ;)

@Andrew: “What is the point of bike lanes if cars can park in them?”

You might as well ask what is the point of bike lanes when bikes use the footpath in preference. (as many seem to do on Barry Drive) Not that I object to sharing the footpath, but then, you might as well return the bike lanes to general use.

Sydney Rd in Coburg is particularly bad. As anyone familiar with Sydney Rd knows, there are always cars parked along its full length between Brunswick Rd and Bell St, day and night, 365 days a year, except in certain clearway sections at clearway times. I don’t know about the Brunswick end because I haven’t paid attention, but I noticed yesterday that at the Coburg end, between Bell St and Harding St, there’s a bike lane painted on the road. With cars parked right on top of the bike lane, for its full length. The cars are spaced so closely together that you’d struggle to find space to even *stand* on the lane with your bike between the parked cars, let alone actually ride in it. I really don’t know why they bothered – unless, as @Grant says, someone is getting credit for merely painting bike lanes, regardless of whether they can be used.

this is actually wider than any bike lane i’ve seen in adelaide unfortunately. I used to ride a lot but now I just don’t want to risk it anymore.

My current ‘favourite’ is Lorimer St docklands – the newly introduced lane runs for about 2 meters, then has parking bays, then about 2m of bike lane etc. etc. I asked council & bicycle vic about it and got no response.

Also Macauley Rd over the Moonee Ponds creek has a lane so narrow I use the footpath.

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