Recreation and performance cycling is a popular activity throughout the Hills and Dandenong Ranges.
There are lots of off road cycling trails for riders of all skill levels to explore and enjoy, whilst on road cycling can be more challenging for cyclists and motorists. With not a lot of shoulders on the road (an area to the left side of the road, which can be sealed or unsealed), cyclists and motorists need to be cautious, comply with cycling regulations and implement safe driving practices to ensure a safe and a pleasurable experience for all.
In 2005, cycling was rated the fourth most popular activity, both nationally (10.3%) and in Victoria (11.5%). The rate of participation continues to climb since a decline was recorded between 2001 and 2002. Key findings from the 2015 National Cycling Strategy showed young children have the highest levels of cycling participation, 49% of two to nine years old ride each week, 37% of 10 to 17 year olds and 85% of anyone cycling in a one month period is for recreational purposes.
A Cardinia Shire community survey of 156 participants undertaken in 2003 and distributed to township committees, community groups and made available to residents via Council customer service, identified 57% of people surveyed had ridden a bicycle, 5% of trips being for commuter purposes and 62% for recreational/fitness reasons. 56% of all cycling movements were on-road. 21% surveyed believe cycling/ walking to be safe in Cardinia, whilst 51% thought cycling was unsafe.
A review of the 2003 Cardinia Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategy was undertaken in 2007 by Stratcorp Consulting. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategy is currently under internal review. A revised draft will be presented to Councillors later in 2016 and Council is anticipating it will carry out community consultation on the draft strategy in February 2017. At a recent address to the Casey Cardinia Tourism Advisory, CEO, Garry McQuillan said the new draft Cardinia Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategy aims to build a world-class regional trail cycling network.
On 9 December, 2012 the Victorian Government released the Cycling into the future 2012-2023: Victoria’s Cycling Strategy (VCS). The strategy sets out the government’s 10 year plan to grow and support cycling and position Victoria as Australia’s most bike-friendly state. The strategy aims to make it easier for people to get out on their bikes for the first time and safer for people who already ride and aims to address formerly inconsistent planning by coordinating, planning, prioritising and delivering better connected cycling infrastructure.
One million committed federal funding is available for the completion & upgrade of the multi-use Emerald-Gembrook Recreation Trail from Cockatoo and Gembrook, and provide a safe and tranquil place for pedestrians, cyclists and horse enthusiasts to travel along. The Emerald-Gembrook Recreational Trail is part of a larger Regional Trail connecting townships and key tourist sites within The Dandenongs and outer eastern suburbs.
The Trail, now in the making for 20 years will be a key project for the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Business and Tourism to push and advocate physical development of the trial and potential name change to Eastern Dandenong Ranges Recreational Trail. Naming the trail the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Recreational Trail will benefit all the townships the trail runs through along the Puffing Billy corridor and possible further expansion of the trail through to Menzies Creek, Belgrave and link to the Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track.
Repeat cyclists and motorists need to be cautious, comply with cycling regulations and implement safe driving practices to ensure a safe and a pleasurable experience for all in a pull-out box.
org.au/publication/bike-law/read for more information/
Riding on the Road
You can ride on the road unless there are signs saying otherwise, for example a ‘No Bicycles’ sign or similar.
How many bike riders can ride next to each other?
You cannot have more than two riders next to each other except when overtaking. When you are riding next to someone you must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart from them.
When can I overtake?
When you are riding on the road, you can overtake a vehicle on the left or right as long as you can clearly see any approaching traffic and can overtake the vehicle safely.
You must not overtake a vehicle on the left if it is turning left and indicating left,
on the right if it is turning right and indicating right or on the right if it is doing a U-turn from the centre of the road and indicating right.
What speed am I allowed to ride at?
Speed limits must be obeyed. It is also a serious offence to ride at a dangerous speed. To ride safely you might need to ride more slowly than the speed limit. Speed limits are often shown by speed limit signs – but even without signs speed limits still apply:
In built-up areas where there are no signs, the speed limit is 50km/h.
In country areas where there are no signs, the speed limit is 100km/h.
Near schools and in shopping strips, the speed limit, marked by a sign, is often 40km/h.
In an area shared with pedestrians, and marked by a ‘Shared Zone’ sign, the speed limit is 10km/h.
One lane of traffic
If there is only one lane heading where you want to go, you must ride as near as you can to the far left side of the road.
You can’t ride on urban freeways, but you can ride on the shoulders of some rural freeways, including parts of the Princes Freeway to Traralgon. To find out what rural freeways you can ride on, visit the Vic Roads website and download the ‘Cycling on freeways’ map.
Can I use a mobile phone and ride?
When riding a bike, you must not hold a mobile phone, use it to send text messages or touch it in any way. You can use a mobile phone as long as it’s fixed to your bike, ‘hands-free’ and only used for calls, listening to music or GPS navigation. For your
safety, it is better not to use your phone at all while riding.
BIKE LANES AND PATHS
Bike lanes are on-road lanes reserved for bike riders identified with a bike symbol on the road and a sign, which says that it is a bike lane.
Bike paths are separate, usually off-road, paths reserved for bike riders. Bike paths are marked by a ‘Bicycles Only’ sign on a signpost, which has a bike symbol and the word ‘only’ underneath it.
Shared paths are off-road, public areas that bike riders and pedestrians are allowed to use. They are marked by painted images of a pedestrian and a bike on a signpost or the path itself. On a shared path, you must keep to the left and give way to all pedestrians, walking and using wheelchairs. When overtaking pedestrians, slow down, ring your bell in advance and make sure you leave enough space when overtaking.
A separated footpath is a path divided in two – with one side reserved for bike riders, the other for pedestrians. It is usually marked by a sign on a signpost.
You can only ride on a footpath if you are under the age of 12, are an adult (18 years or older) supervising a child under 12 or have a disability that means it’s difficult for you to ride on the road. When riding on a footpath, you must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
By Lynne Trensky
Australian Bicycle Council
Victoria Law Foundation
Cardinia Shire Pedestrian & Bicycle Strategy