I get to travel a fair bit for work and I always like to check out the local cycling culture, infra and so on. Currently in Melbourne and seeing loads of really nice fixed/SS bikes - makes sense I guess as the centre is pretty flat. Not so many stubby stemmed and narrow-barred ones here like there are in London. The usual polished hubs and deep section wheels are about, as are a lot more people riding in civvies. Chaingangs out in force on Sunday - Scott & Giant seemed popular.

Obviously everyone* riding in helmets but one unintended consequence I've noticed is the amount of skateboard commuters. Lo and behold - they aren't required to wear helmets by law and there's also no rules about powered skateboards. Surprised they haven't been legislated against given Australia's usual approach to such things. Bearing in mind they can easily travel as fast as a cycle commuter it's another thing for pedestriancs to watch out for. Cycle lane provision seems pretty good but the traffic is so heavy and fast, and junctions so vast, that I wouldn't fancy cycling here. The mandatory cycling law has killed the bike share business too - blue bikes contract ends at the end of this month. 

Oh and it's a particularly shit place to be as a pedestrian. Never encountered crossing wait times like it, all priority is given to vehicles and trams, and plenty of red light violations.


*there are exemptions - for example the AusPost delivery guys I saw were wearing flap caps - I guess avoiding skin cancer takes precedence...


antigee [576 posts] 3 weeks ago

pom who has lived in Melbourne for a few years now and seen cycling provision improve a lot where it has been easy to implement but some major problems remain untouched and not much change in the  (dangerously bad) attitude of many drivers towards cyclists.

Speed limits are relatively high...in the inner suburbs many through roads are max 60km/hr (so plus a bit Aus' drivers don't do defensive or to conditions)  In the CBD (Central Business District) the state roads authority and state politicians from both sides have opposed speed limit reductions...same on giving more priority to peds on crossing times.

Electric skateboards and electric bikes that you don't pedal are actually both illegal but as  you say wouldn't guess it. Electric scooters are OK if limited to 10km/hr

Generally need to plan routes to avoid multilane highways / wide junctions and getting from one place to another by bike isn't obvious or direct ... one trick that does work and drivers understand it is doing whats called a "hook turn" ... to turn right you go straight on swing left and line up in front of the stopped cross traffic and wait for the green (google it youtube has it and it's not just for junctions with trams) 

Not sure if mandatory helmet law killed the cycle share scheme...more likely not enough stations and didn't go far enough out of the centre...as in great for some tourist locations and popular with helmet less tourists but didn't really work for locals to get from AtoB

and a big plus you can just walk onto a metro train with a bike outside of peak hours 

and its never ever below OdegC  and there are lots of trees Melbourne is very beautiful