Safe riding in Melbourne

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On a recent trip to Melbourne I was able to borrow a bike for a few days, which gave me an entirely different perspective on this city which is touted to be the leading Australian cycling city.
The bike I was loaned was a little too big for me, which presented a few challenges as far as mounting and dismounting it, but once I got used to making sure I had enough space to lean it over to get on and off, I was at ease on it.
Riding in an unfamiliar area is always a challenge and even more so on a unfamiliar bike. I find that I need to plan the trips I intend to make via Google  maps and even then it is no guarantee that the ride will be along optimal roads for riding safely. The maps can indicate that there are bike lanes present but the quality of them, and of the streetscape for cycling, is not information that is on the maps. So often it’s a case of setting out and taking unexpected turns if the streets around appear better equipped for cyclists or if all the cyclists are going a particular way. And in Melbourne there were plenty of cyclists around.
I was most interested in this street, which had a former bike lane marking scrubbed out and a much wider one painted in. While this improvement took away much of the car lane, making the bike lane feel quite safe, it amounted to making the bike lane almost as wide as the car lane. Even so, I rode as far to the right as the bike lane allowed, placing me closer to the passing cars, but well out of the door zone. This was just as well, as a car door did open as I was passing, but it was not the faintest threat to me, placed as I was in the bike lane. Later that day, I discovered that just a few streets away and at about the same time, a young man was killed by car dooring. The bike lane he was riding along was not nearly as safe as this one, but even on a bike lane such as this, riders need to know where to ride safely.

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One Response to Safe riding in Melbourne

  1. Laurent says:

    As you said, riders need to know where to ride safely.
    Of course speed is the main issue for a cyclist but I recently discover that, sometimes, especially in a unknown urban area, being in a paranoid mood can provide a sort of good stress. For example: I never trust to drivers.

    Best,

    L.

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