How to get rid of the racers?
28 Feb 2017
By Shane Scanlan
Ever wonder why some commuting cyclists peel off the Capital City Trail and roar up and down the thundering boards of NewQuay Promenade?
They are obviously starting from or returning to the bike track at Moonee Ponds Creek and adding distance to their journey. And it appears that the deviation saves time by avoiding three sets of traffic lights.
This peak hour rush diminishes the amenity of NewQuay as the speeding cyclists strike fear into pedestrians in close proximity.
And yet, cycling is a legitimate mixed use in the area.
It seems we have two types of bike riders: the ambler, content to enjoy the scenic ambiance of the harbourside; and the testosterone-filled commuter: on a mission to catch and pass the next bloke.
In my view, the ambler is always welcome to enjoy our beautiful suburb. So what can be done to get rid of the racers?
Regulation won’t work. Signs and rules would be inappropriate for the amblers and would likely be ignored anyway by the racers.
No, incentives or disincentives will be required to move the menace. The key to success is making the longer journey actually take longer.
On the incentives front, perhaps the traffic light sequence along Footscray Rd could be prioritised for cyclists (much like the trams often get the best run at intersections). This would be consistent with government policy to encourage cycling and take pressure off both the roads network and public transport.
The other option would be harder as it would involve physical barriers or diversions to add inconvenience and time to the journey. Obviously access for the disabled, as well as prams and the like would complicate this approach.
If there was a way of making the cyclists take the long way, all the way to the Bolte Bridge without rat-running through the street and Pearl River Rd, this would do the job (and the bike path is a dirt track at its most remote location).
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