Victoria’s peak motoring advocacy group has posted an article promoting the benefits of more Melburnians commuting by bike – countering claims that cycling infrastructure is impeding traffic flows in the city centre.
As the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive, Paul Guerra, continues his calls for some of Melbourne’s inner city bicycle lanes to be removed, the report by the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria says encouraging more cyclists can significantly cut travels times for inner-city motorists.
“More people on bikes means less people clogging up traffic, and less pollution from cars,” according to the article, Biking Bad: 12 common cycling myths in Victoria debunked, which appears on the RACV website.
“Research by Transport Victoria found that 21% of journeys during the morning peak include walking or cycling. This is a good thing – less cars equals less traffic.
“Another study by Infrastructure Victoria found that since the pandemic, more people are driving in to work – which could lead to ‘15% more cars on inner Melbourne roads’.
“However, they also found that
“An extra 265,000 cycling and walking trips each day could ‘cut traffic time for inner city motorists by 18 minutes’.”
The RACV’s Let’s Green Light Australia’s Recovery program includes cycling infrastructure projects and a Regional Road Safety Program to better support cyclists on roads in Victoria.
The organisation points to the 1.7 million bikes sold in Australia last year – a figure presented in We Ride Australia’s The Australian Cycling Economy 2021 Report – as an indication of the need to foster “more enjoyable and safe experiences for bike riders and their road-sharing counterparts – drivers and pedestrians”.
Clearing Up Misconceptions
The website article sought to “clear up some of the most contentious issues and misconceptions relating to motorists and cyclists to work together to a better experience for all on our roads”.
The article is in conflict with repeated calls from Paul Guerra for some inner city bike lanes to be removed to improve traffic flows and “help Melbourne become the world’s most liveable city again”.
“How about removing the bike lanes in Exhibition Street for a trial period? We strongly support bike lanes but the lanes in Exhibition Street slow traffic on what is a major thoroughfare and link to the Monash Freeway,” he says in a column that first appear in The Age newspaper and was reproduced on the chamber’s website.
Speaking on Melbourne’s 3AW radio station, he said not all bikes lanes should go and they could be located on “little streets” in the city, according to articles in News Corp publications.
He claims bike lanes are reducing major inner city roads to single lanes of traffic.
In response to his comments, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp told the radio station bikes are not the main or primary cause behind gridlock in the city.
“The number one reason for congestion in the city is through traffic. About 43% of cars on the road are actually travelling through the city and we are focused on measures to address that, as much as addressing any other causes of congestion around the city,” she said.
The Lord Mayor said protected bicycle lanes have a really important role to play in the city and the council was addressing the balance to provide sufficient room on the road for bikes and cars.