Parking in residential streets is blocking bike lanes and forcing cyclists to swerve out into traffic or take the safer option by riding on footpaths. One of several reasons why the cyclist’s lobby want laws changed to allow anyone to ride on footpaths in Victoria and NSW. The two states are the only ones that don’t allow riders on footpaths and cyclists are pushing for a change ahead of the Victorian state election.

Cars Block Cycle Lanes           Click to Enlarge

However, according to the current rules in Victoria it is an offence for anyone over the age of 12 to ride a bicycle on a footpath.

In NSW children can ride on footpaths until they are 16 years old.

The Australian Road Rules allow Councils to create shared bicycle paths and invite all cyclists to ride upon them.

Pedestrians hit by a cyclist on a shared bike path have no claim against the Motor Accidents Authority as they would if they had been hit by a motor-vehicle.

Cyclists are not required to display number-plates or be licensed and are almost impossible to recognise especially when most are wearing helmets and sunglasses.

Manningham Council

were forced to abandon a shared path proposal around the perimeter of Doncaster Hill after authorities considered the streets were too steep and posed a danger to both riders and pedestrians.

Manningham Steep Streets     Click to Enlarge

Manningham Council had investigated through various studies the current road network, existing and future traffic volumes, and the opportunities to connect different areas of Doncaster Hill to promote walking and cycling. It noted that connectivity play a key role in planning for Doncaster Hill and was satisfied that the Council had taken into account relevant factors in identifying the locations for road infrastructure.
It was acknowledged that some of the shared pathways would be too steep for all bicycle users. “It may be that some bicycle users may have to dismount and wheel their bicycles up the steep sections. This consideration, however, does not obviate the need for the system of shared pathways to provide adequate connectivity through and within Doncaster Hill”.

Council had not obtained sufficiently detailed risk analyses or pedestrian safety audit and only withdrew their cycling plan after safety authorities had intervened.

Currently, the following outrageous conditions generally prevail:

No Speed Limits – No Risk Analysis or Duty of Care – No Insurance Cover –
No Identification Required for Cyclists – No Means of Enforcement
“Councils Must Build Dedicated Bicycle Paths – Footpaths Are For Pedestrians”

There is no offence for speeding on a bicycle in Victoria (and most other jurisdictions)

The only offences the authorities can prosecute are “ride, negligently, recklessly, or furiously” These offences are very difficult to prove and enforce, especially as there are no speed limits. There is no insurance whatsoever.

Bike riders in bus lanes

From 1 July 2017 cyclists can ride in a bus lane unless otherwise signed.

Safety tips for bike riding in bus lanes:

  • Keep to the left of the bus lane
  • Give way to buses at all times
  • Wait behind the bus if it is coming to a stop and do not overtake or undertake it.
  • Bike riders travelling in a bus lane can proceed on the ‘B-signal’ during bus lane operating hours. Outside the bus lane operating hours, only buses can proceed on the ‘B-signal’.
  • Be alert at bus stops and watch out for passengers getting on and off buses, stop behind the bus until it has moved off.
  • Be alert to other road users entering the bus lane,  eg at an intersection or to turn off the road
  • Before changing lanes and turning, always scan behind and signal your intentions to other road users.
  • If there is a bike lane beside the bus lane, a bike rider must use the bike lane.
  • Using a hook turn can be a safer way to turn right.
  • Take extra care when cycling at night. Wear bright or light coloured clothing and reflective strips, use front and rear bike lights.
  • Bright or light coloured clothing and flashing lights during daylight can also improve safety
  • Choosing a less busy parallel road or path where it exists may be a safer option.


  1. Gab says:

    It is true that Aust Roads does support shared paths but there are strict conditions that need to be met. The shared paths that Manningham had originally proposed were too narrow and the sloping footpaths exceeded the gradient limit of 3%. Shared paths are okay in open areas such as parklands where there are no cars. One problem that is never discussed is the danger to cyclists from cars crossing the paths when exiting from resident driveways.

  2. Dudded says:

    Governments are only giving lip service to the safety of cycling……Its all too hard. Painting white lines on a kerb side without any protective barrier is irresponsible. Australia’s car population is growing faster than it’s human population. According to the motor vehicle census the number of registered passenger vehicles in Australia has increased by 43 per cent since the turn of the century. This compares with an increase of just 27 per cent in the human population

  3. Jerry Attrick says:

    According to the 2016 Census there were 12 (twelve) people who cycled to work in Manningham only 5 (five) more than the 7 (seven) in the 2011 Census. If council were to provide SAFE dedicated bike paths far more people would be riding to work. The Council mode shift plan has been a disaster.

  4. Trish says:

    We have to change this habit of using one litre of petrol to purchase one litre of milk. I have seen young people who live in Whittens Lane, within 500 metres from the corner of Doncaster Road, still use their car to have a prescription filled at My Chemist Wharehouse.

  5. Warren Bayne-West says:

    Due to our poor public transport system, Manningham’s residents are strongly dependent upon car usage.
    Our reliance on cars, buses and trucks (petrol and diesel) as the only mode of transportation has had a detrimental impact on air quality and public health, with the significant release of high levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, benzene and the dangerous particle matter pollution.
    It seems that the more we learn about pollution, the more we realize how much of it we’ve been living with.
    So-called soot pollution is a good example of this as up until eight years ago we didn’t even have any regulations regarding its ambitions. Fortunately, we are now learning (thanks in part to the EPA).

  6. Nick says:

    If we are to allow cyclists on foot paths they must be insured and have a registration number clearly visible. These days there are many pedestrians with ear speakers who won’t hear a bell while talking on their mobile phones. I stopped riding a bike after I had been run down by driver, who said he could not see me, after which I spent six weeks in hospital with a broken leg and fractured pelvis.

  7. Pep says:

    Council have built only ONE shared path within the perimeter of Doncaster Hill but is hardly used. It is about two hundred metres long extending from behind the old temporary Library across Council Street and along a widened foot path in Goodson Street to where it ends abruptly just short of Westfield shopping centre. Even if it were safe to use there are no bike racks where cyclists could safely store their bikes.

  8. Doncaster Hell says:

    Who would want to risk their life riding a bike in a bus lane? Certainly not the people who advocate it. Cars are parking in the streets because council have refused to provide proper public parking areas. How will Doncaster Hill cope with the five million people that council predict will visit the area every year within the next decade? Doncaster Hill already rates as the number two traffic trouble spot in Melbourne. The situation will be far worse once the high rise plan is completed.

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