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Sharing our streets

18 Mar 2014

Sharing our streets Image

Councillors and police came together in Southbank last month to launch the City of Melbourne’s new road safety campaign.

So often the home of publicity launches, Southbank Boulevard was the perfect location for this specific occasion, given the testy relationship between cyclists and pedestrians at times on the shared pathway.

The “Share Our Streets” campaign is spreading a respect-driven, common sense approach to sharing streets between car users, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Even the launch itself couldn’t avoid the daily occurrence of traffic on the boulevard when a cyclist yelled: “It’s a bike path!” as he squeezed passed the gathering.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was happy to kick the program off with the answer: “Actually it’s a shared path,” before turning to the assembled media. “See helping educate cyclists already,” he said.

The program has employed street teams on Southbank Boulevard and Harbour Esplanade in Docklands to give away freebies, offer advice and raise general awareness of the rules and expectations for all road users.

“Here on Southbank Boulevard and Harbour Esplanade we consistently get feedback of cyclists and pedestrian interaction, so it seemed like a good place to start the campaign,” Cr Doyle said, before saying the program would expand city-wide.

“Sometimes the simplest acts make the biggest difference. Ring your bell, look before you step out on to the street or open your car door and pay attention when crossing a busy intersection,” he added.

“We’re not asking much of people, just pay attention, look out for others and share the space available to make the city safer and more enjoyable for everyone.”

The $220,000 program is a major part of the council’s Road Safety Plan 2013-2017 and Cr Cathy Oke said it was all about helping people feel safe using the roads.

“We want to encourage sustainable transport but we know that the only way to get more people riding and walking is to make sure they feel safe,” Cr Oke said.

“We have invested $7 million in new bike lanes, widened footpaths and introduced a 40 km/h speed limit across the central city, but now we need everyone who travels in the City of Melbourne to play their part and ‘Share Our Streets’.”

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