A bicycle network is an integrated, cohesive set of protected bicycle lanes that provide access to calm streets within 30 km/h superblocks, enabling people of all ages and abilities to safely cycle to any destination in Yarra.


A bicycle network would deliver the following benefits:

  • Enable local residents to easily access local traders, making Yarra better for business,
  • Enable those who wish to cycle to be able to do, thus reducing congestion and making Yarra better for drivers,
  • Comply with federal, state and local government policies on road safety, and
  • Help people in the City of Yarra respond to our climate emergency.

Yarra’s Bicycle Network

Yarra should build a bicycle network consisting of protected bicycle lanes on a grid of VicRoads arterials. People can begin and end journeys in 30 km/h superblocks, with the remainder of the journey conducted on protected bicycle lanes. This would deliver mobility and access over the entire municipality for the least cost.

Journeys can begin and end within 30 km/h superblocks, joined by a grid of protected bicycle lanes on arterials. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and Google Maps.

Level of stress

A bicycle network that works for people of all ages and abilities needs to offer a low Level of Stress (LS), i.e. designated as LS 1 or LS 2 in the table below:

Image credit: European Commission Practitioner Guide

A bicycle network does not comprise painted lanes that are in the dooring zone:

IMAP bicycle network

The Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP), a collaborative partnership between several Councils, published a map of their proposed inner Melbourne bicycle network. Unfortunately it hasn’t been completed, and some sections marked as ‘existing’ are only a strip of paint, not a protected bicycle lane.

Image credit: IMAP

Status – VicRoads Principal Bicycle Network

The image below shows the present status of the VicRoads Principal Bicycle Network, with missing sections shown in red.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra, with background from VicRoads

History – VicRoads Principal Bicycle Network

VicRoads published the Principal Bicycle Network (PBN) in 2012:

VicRoads have since narrowed their focus to Bicycle Priority Routes, a subset of the Principal Bicycle Network, shown in pink below:

Recently, VicRoads have further narrowed their focus to Strategic Cycling Corridors, an even smaller subset of the Principal Bicycle Network, shown as the red lines on the map below.


The problem is that VicRoads hasn’t actually constructed the Principal Bicycle Network. For example, Swan Street doesn’t have any bicycle lane markings at all.

The most likely reason why VicRoads hasn’t built the Principal Bicycle Network is that traders protest against the loss of on-street parking on shopping streets, even though studies show that changes would be better for business.


The solution is for local and state government to collaborate to enable traders and residents to test out how good the streets could be if wider footpaths and protected bicycle lanes were built.

A trial could use parklets and temporary street changes, during January sports events, and be marketed as a ‘Festival of Sport‘. Once trials are complete, and traders can see that their business will benefit, the complete Yarra Principal Bicycle Network can be built.


Supporters of networks of safe cycling infrastructure, including protected bicycle lanes, include We Ride Australia:

Image credit: We Ride Australia

Design guides

Learn more from this collection of design guides, or the EU Practitioner Guide to supporting cycling:

Image credit: EU Practitioner Guide