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How Bicycle Friendly Is Melbourne?

As COVID-19 carves out a 'new normal' for almost every aspect of our lives, more and more people are jumping on their bikes for exercise and transport. Melbourne has responded to the emerging cycling boom by fast-tracking 40 kilometres of bike lanes over the next two years to connect suburbs including Carlton, East Melbourne, North Melbourne, Brunswick and West Melbourne with the CBD. But while RACV's senior planner Stuart Outhred says the bike lanes will help make cycling more accessible and safer for more people, he believes Melbourne still has a long way to go to become a truly bike-friendly city.

That's why Start and RACV have put forward plans to develop a 'cycling superhighways' network across the city, providing separated bike lanes and other cycling-friendly infrastructure on key routes to make it safer and easier for people to move around by pedal power. The plan has been listed as a priority by Infrastructure Australia, the government's key advisory body on infrastructure projects. Bicycle Network spokesman Alexander Miller hopes initiatives like the cycling superhighway network and the City of Melbourne's pop-up bike lanes will encourage those who have jumped on a bike during the pandemic to feel more confident about riding as the COVID crisis subsides. 

Bicycle Road Rules

You must wear a helmet and follow the road rules. For example, if you ride at night, you must have bike lights.

  • Tip: When you ride a bike in Melbourne and Victoria, ride on the left-hand side of the road, obey lights and signs and signal with your arm when turning right or left. If you cycle at night, you must have lights on your bike. Consider wearing high visibility (hi-vis) vest.

Cycle Paths And Shared Routes

Around Melbourne, some roads have bike paths marked with a green surface and bicycle symbols to show where they start and finish. Some paths are for bikes only, and others are shared with other vehicles. Look for the bike icon on the path. In some city parks, you cannot ride on the paths.

Bike Clubs

Many universities have cycling clubs for social rides or bike racing. Talk to your student union to find out about bicycle clubs and societies on your campus. If you're still planning your study, search the web for a bicycle club and the name of your university to see what's available.

Bike Trails In Melbourne And Regional Victoria

There are many bike trails outside of Melbourne where you can see some of the natural beauty of Victoria, including mountain bike riding trails.

According to cyclists, Melbourne's CBD, St Kilda and Footscray are among the scariest suburbs to ride in. There are 258 votes for dangerous spots in the CBD, with cyclists identifying unsafe or missing bicycle lanes and dangerous intersections as their top concerns.

Bike lanes strengthen the connections and make it safer for people to cycle throughout Melbourne. Routes and paths with increased separation from traffic and parked vehicles make it easier to get around and improve connections to the city's existing network of bike routes.

Cyclists in Victoria are permitted to ride on the roads, on bike paths and shared footpaths. However, cyclists are generally not allowed to ride on pedestrian footpaths.

Cycling is a simple pleasure – a bike can be acquired for next to nothing, and you don't require a licence or any specialist equipment – but whatever type of cyclist you are, it pays to know your rights and responsibilities in law.

Speed limits don't apply to cyclists. While you can't normally be charged for speeding on a bicycle, you could be charged for careless cycling instead. Furthermore, local bye-laws can impose limits on cyclists.

FAQs If Melbourne Is A Bicycle Friendly City

Things To Do In Melbourne By Bike

Today, Melbourne is a more bicycle-friendly city than ever, with paths expanding up North and down South, all whilst keeping very convenient access to the CBD. This means there's no limit to where you can ride on a bike! Combine these scenic routes with Melbourne's infamous Coffee culture, and you get a fine selection of world-class Cafes that do nothing but invite you to pop in and re-energize, all whilst absorbing the beautiful sites Melbourne has to offer.

Whether you're after a fixed gear, cruiser, vintage or electric bike, Lekker Bikes can help you out. We'll not only supply you with the finest quality Dutch Style Bike, but we'll also ensure your tyres stay pumped, the gear hub keeps turning, and the breeze keeps flowing! So feel free to pop into our Lekker Bikes Store in North Melbourne, browse through our online bikes and accessories, or find some of our favourite coffee spots to rest and relax with your bike. Not only these, but below, you'll also find a series of refreshingly scenic bike rides, taking you not only in and around the city but toward the outer suburbs, along the coast and of course, all the way back too!

Bike-Friendly Cafes 

  • Soul Racer Café – 15 Marine Parade St Kilda
    • A long-running café was providing coffee and hearty breakfast or lunch. For those who find themselves cruising down Beach Road! 
  • The Great Provider – 42A Marine Parade St Kilda
    • A smart café, combining an enclosed deck with a marina view. Serving up diverse breakfast and lunch options.
  • Rush Café – 3 Stewart Place Richmond (Total Rush Cycling)
    • Feel like giving your Vintage Cruiser a Coffee Rush? An idyllic café set in a bike shop in the heart of Richmond!

The North

  • South of Johnston – 46 Oxford St Collingwood
    • A design-savvy Warehouse Café was serving up contemporary Breakfast and Lunch.
  • De Clieu – 187 Gertrude St Fitzroy
    • Brunch, Cake and Specialty Coffee options, all in a hip venue combining deep window seats with minimalist wood décor.
  • Seven Seeds – 106-114 Berkeley St Carlton
    • 114 Berkeley Street, Carlton, and, aside from the great Coffee and delicious Pastries, you'll find indoor Bicycle Racks awaiting you and your ride.
  • The Convent Bakery – 1 St Heliers Street Abbotsford
    • Breads, Cakes and Café Food! Within a converted convent with wood-fired ovens and leafy outdoor seating, you cannot go wrong. Bike racks on the left as you enter.
  • Fifteen Pounds – 21-23 Railway Place Fairfield (opposite Fairfield Station)
    • Providing secure Bike Racks at the back of the Café! Riders, treat yourself to a variety of very tasty selections offered by yours truly Fifteen Pounds.

Scenic Bike Routes

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  • Melbourne – The Capital City Trail
    • A 30km loop taking you from the CBD to Docklands, Melbourne Zoo, the Royal Botanical Gardens and many more iconic Melbourne Landmarks. Of course, it is possible to hop on the trail at whichever point you like, meaning by no means do you have to ride the full 30kms!
  • By the Riverside – Main Yarra Trail
    • A scenic Riverside Path, from Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs right through to Southbank.
  • By the Sea – The Bay Trail
    • A leisurely 6km ride along the coastline of Port Phillip Bay! Begin at St Kilda Pier or wherever you choose to start cycling, enjoying the colourful St Kilda Marina as well as the many Parks, Gardens, Cafes, Sailing Yachts, Restaurants and Sports Grounds along the way.
  • Picnics – Merri Creek Trail
    • Starting at Dights Falls, following the creek as it passes through the Coburg Lake Reserve, Brunswick Velodrome, and CERES Environmental Park.
  • Regional Coast Cruising – Bass Coast Rail Trail
    • One of Victoria's favourite coastal Rail Trails! Meandering through Farmland, Coastal Bushland, Historical Coal Mining reserves and of course, all by the coast. The trail starts at the old Wonthaggi Railway Station in Murray Street or the old Anderson Railway Station.
  • Art Tours – Banksia Park to Heide
    • A short 5km track beginning from Banksia Park, traversing along the scenic Yarra River into Heide Sculpture Park. An ideal way to combine fitness and leisure!
  • Mountain Bike Riding – Lysterfield Park Trails
    • A great place for Mountain Biking! The Lysterfield Park and the State Mountain Bike course offers over 20 kilometres of trails suited to all ages and abilities.
  • Stunning Views – Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail
    • A recreational trail for all! Be it from Walking to Cycling to Horse Riding. Following the historic Railway Line through the stunning Yarra Valley, beginning, just behind Lilydale Railway Station, traversing to the Township of Warburton!
  • For Fitness – 1 in 20 Climb
    • A very popular climb! Take you from the foothills township of The Basin to the hilltop village of Sassafras.
  • Something Slightly Different – Broadmeadows Valley Trail
    • Easily accessed by the Craigieburn Railway Station, this 15km trail takes you through open park areas, a small wetland, and past many contemporary terrace houses, all before a bridge, where you arrive at the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail.

Explore The Yarra River

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Start at Southbank, then leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind on one of several popular Melbourne cycling trails. Ride alongside the Yarra River to Yarra Bend Park on the Capital City Trail. The smooth, flat trail is a great way to see the Melbourne skyline before ducking into Yarra Bend Park. The full circuit is just under 30km, so you can easily loop back to Southbank after exploring the park.

The Maribyrnong River Trail takes you through the Maribyrnong Valley Parklands. The track is 28km one-way, but you can start anywhere along the route. Wherever you begin, leave plenty of time to explore the peaceful setting of Brimbank Park and enjoy picnics, fishing, canoeing and bird watching. Next, follow the Main Yarra Trail and ride through Melbourne's leafy outer suburbs and the Yarra Valley Parklands. The shared paths run for 33km, taking you through Yarra Bend Park and a native flora and fauna wildlife corridor, ending at Westerfolds Park.

Take A Tour Along Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail.

Enjoy a leisurely ride along the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, passing through Stony Creek Backwash and Cheetham Wetlands. Along the way, don't forget to stop off at Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve and Point Gellibrand Heritage Park for unique coastal habitats, wildlife and historical sites of northern Port Phillip Bay.

Discover History Along The Goldfields Track

Make an epic journey of the 210km Goldfields Track through multiple parks and historic towns. Climbing and winding along varied terrain, you can explore eucalypt forests, Gold Rush heritage, rolling hills and native bushland of Creswick Regional Park, Hepburn Regional Park, and Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage, well as skirting around the edge of Mount Alexander Regional Park and Bendigo Regional Park. Tackle the full track as a multi-day adventure, or take one of the shorter day-trip rides.

Tackle The Dandenong Creek Trail

Stretching 49kms, The Dandenong Creek Trail is a tree-lined journey through the native conservation areas of Dandenong Valley Parklands. Enjoy the wide-open spaces of Jells Park, pause for refreshment at Madeline's cafe or stop off for a spot of birdwatching at one of the wetland bird hides.

Benefits Of Riding

Riding a bike is fun, improves your physical and mental wellbeing, is convenient for getting around locally, and is environmentally friendly. There are so many reasons why riding is good for you and good for you and good for Queensland.

Immediate Personal Benefits

  • Fun and adventure
    • Aside from being a great way to get around, riding a bike is fun. Do you remember how free you felt riding a bike as a kid? You can have that again by going on an adventure in your neighbourhood.

Mental Health

Physical exercise improves your mental health. Some of the mental health benefits of bike riding include:

  • decreased stress and anxiety levels
  • triggers the release of 'feel-good chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy
  • decreased risk of depression
  • better sleep
  • Boosted creativity and productivity.

Convenience And Efficiency

Travel time by bicycle is more predictable than by motor vehicle as traffic is rarely a problem. In addition, riding is convenient because it:

  • Offers door-to-door service—you can usually park a bicycle closer to destinations than cars.
  • It is often quicker than driving a car when travelling short distances up to 5km.
  • Travel time by bicycle is more predictable than by motor vehicle as traffic is rarely a problem.

Physical Activity

Health professionals recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day. Bike riding is a great way to exercise while having fun, and there are so many benefits of being active. Riding a bike to work, school, university, or college is a convenient and practical way to incorporate regular exercise into your busy day.

Economic Benefits

The cost of buying and maintaining a bike is around 1% of buying and maintaining a car.

Riding a bicycle 10km each way to work each day will save about $1,700 per year in transport costs (including all running costs and depreciation). Also, bicycle parking is usually free, easily accessible and more convenient than car parking.

Transport Benefits

  • Bikes do less damage to road surfaces than cars. Bike paths give people' freeways' for the price of footpaths.
  • The estimated cost of congestion is $5 billion per year. More bikes and fewer cars on the road can reduce this congestion and associated costs.
  • Bicycle riding facilities can extend the catchments of existing public transport services. On average, ten times more households are within bike riding distance of public transport than walking distance.
  • The majority of car trips to school are within walking distance. Riding a bike or walking these trips significantly reduces congestion around schools and improves safety for children.
  • Distances up to 5km are ideal for cycling, but 79% of all journeys in South East Queensland are made by private vehicles (Department of Transport and Main Roads. 2016. Queensland Household Travel Survey 2009-2012. Brisbane).

Social Benefits

  • Bike riding provides affordable and independent travel for those who might otherwise have restricted travel options.
  • Bicycles offer increased mobility to many groups of the population with low car ownership rates, such as low-income earners, unemployed people, seniors, and those under 18.
  • The construction of shared bicycle riding and pedestrian facilities also benefits pedestrians and people with disabilities by providing an increased network of paths and improved road crossings.
  • More people riding and walking provides an additional opportunity for social interaction on the streets, greatly enhancing a sense of community and connection improving mental wellbeing.

Community Benefits

  • More bicycle riding in a neighbourhood means fewer cars, leading to a safer road environment. Children can take advantage of slower and less dangerous traffic to ride bicycles.
  • When people walk or ride a bike as transport, they are more likely to use local businesses for their shopping.
  • Riding enables people to interact socially and feel more connected with their local community.

Environmental Benefits

  • Bicycle riding uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free mode of transport.
  • Bikes reduce the need to build, service and dispose of cars.
  • Bicycle riding conserves roadway and residential space, thereby providing opportunities for less concrete and more plant life in urban areas.

Conclusion:

Take a ride unlike any other and explore our parks by bike. Cycling is a fun, family-friendly activity to get deeper into nature, whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride along urban bike paths or a multi-day cross country adventure.

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