This careless act is the biggest issue for Victorian cyclists
BikeSpot survey reveals more than 80 per cent of cyclists fear being 'car doored'.
More than 80 per cent of Melbourne cyclists say they fear ‘car dooring’ and experience multiple incidents or near misses on a weekly basis.
The findings, revealed in a major survey of cyclists and motorists, reinforce RACV’s calls for a network of cycling superhighways in Melbourne to make bike riding safer.
The BikeSpot survey, conducted by mapping website CrowdSpot and cycling safety organisation the Amy Gillett Foundation, involved almost 6000 cyclists and motorists who used an interactive map to pinpoint danger spots for conflict between bikes and cars. The survey ran from March to May, just as the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns sparked a surge in popularity of cycling.
As well as identifying key danger spots, respondents were asked to explain why they believed the locations were dangerous. Most cited non-existent, inadequate or unsafe cycling lanes as major concerns. Other dangers were narrow roads, traffic including trams and the risk of car dooring from parked cars.
Based on more than 30,000 submissions to the interactive map, Chapel Street, with its trams, parked cars and narrow thoroughfare, was ranked Melbourne’s most dangerous cycling route, with cyclists reporting that most injuries in the area were caused by car dooring.
St Kilda Road was ranked second worst due to its unsafe bike lane, followed by Sydney Road, Collins Street and the city’s Haymarket roundabout (at the intersection of Flemington Road and Peel and Elizabeth streets), where riders complained of poor or narrow bike lanes and the risk of car dooring.
Respondents were also asked to identify the safest routes for bikes, most of which had separated bike paths, off-road paths or other bike-friendly features. They ranked Wellington Street, Collingwood, as Melbourne’s safest bike route, followed by William Street.
RACV senior planner Stuart Outhred says the BikeSpot survey is significant, given the number of participants and submissions. He says the findings support RACV’s calls for dedicated bike lanes and other cycling road infrastructure to improve safety and encourage more people to ride bikes.
RACV has identified 10 cycling routes that should be prioritised for improved infrastructure to create a bicycle superhighway network across Melbourne. The cycling superhighway recommendations, which include upgrades for Chapel Street and St Kilda Road, have been listed as a national priority by Infrastructure Australia, the nation’s key independent adviser to governments on infrastructure.
Stuart says a lack of cycling infrastructure such as dedicated and separate bike lanes is the biggest deterrent for new cyclists. “Cyclists feel very vulnerable and the BikeSpot survey shows 75 per cent of cyclists report unsafe spots because of insufficient or unsafe cycling infrastructure,” he says.
He notes that many of the routes identified by RACV as priorities for the bicycle superhighway network were also pinpointed as major danger spots in the BikeSpot survey.
“We need investment in areas which cyclists have identified as unsafe,” Stuart says. “The state government is investing $27 million to build new bike lanes on St Kilda Road to physically separate cyclists and cars, and the City of Melbourne is fast-tracking bike paths in the city, but more needs to be done.
“The individual projects being rolled out in central Melbourne are a great start, but creating a network and making it seamless is key if riding a bike is going to become a genuine transport option for more Victorians.
“The BikeSpot findings really underscore the importance of separated bike lanes which RACV has been advocating for in recent years.”