Bikes Ban On Trains - Truly Folded!It was a controversial decision that began with a bang and had many cyclists whimpering, but with a recent announcement lifting a ban that prohibited cyclists from taking their bikes on to trains, Melbourne's cycling community (which is a large one!) has breathed a sigh of relief.
In a media release that was issued on February 15th, Lynne Kosky, the Minister for Public Transport, announced that bicycles are once again allowed on all Connex and V/Line services. The decision, aimed to address the needs of both cyclists and other passengers, came with the announcement that $1 million in funding would be put towards new bike cages, located across the metropolitan and regional train network.
Is That A Bike In Your Pocket... Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
Along with the good news that Melbourne's cyclists can again take their prized bikes on trains during all times of service, there was also the announcement that bicyclists would soon be allowed to take folding bikes on tram and bus services, provided they are folded and contained within a carry bag before they board.
It's expected that folding bikes could be allowed on metropolitan trams and both metropolitan and regional buses from 1 April 2008, if consultation between the Department of Infrastructure, public transport operators and bicycle groups proves successful.
If you've ever frowned curiously after seeing someone with what essentially looked like 'half-a-bike' that had also been stomped like a soup-tin, then you've more than likely encountered a folding bike. That or it was Greg Evans with the mashed remains of Dexter from Perfect Match. (Younger readers should Google it to see just what sort of bullet they dodged there)
For those unfamiliar with the concept of a folding bike, the name is pretty much self-explanatory - a bicycle that easily folds in on itself using hinges or attachments, most often worked into the bike frame itself.
Folding bicycles have yet to truly take off in Australia, but that that could all be set to change with new public transport rules increasing the appeal of folding bikes. Popular overseas, folding bikes have been commonplace for many years now across Asia and in the UK, with owners in the UK forming clubs and even running fan websites devoted to folding bikes.
Folding bikes can be so easily carried about that there are many models that have their own satchel bag that you can sling across your shoulder, making them easy to take on trips or - as is the case in Melbourne - on the public trains when travelling.
If you're looking for a folding bike, you can easily buy one through many online stockists both in Australia and overseas, or you can browse through the list of Victorian bicycle retailers that can be found on the website of Bicycle Victoria.
For a List of Bicycle Stores in Victoria & Melbourne Visit: Bicycle Victoria
At the time of writing there was only one listing in the search filter for 'Folding Bikes', but keep an eye on that after April, as that'll no doubt change!
Look Ma.. No Bans!
The announcement that bikes would be restricted from peak services on both Metropolitan and Regional trains was met with a large public outcry, not only from cyclists, but also from regional councils including Bendigo and Geelong, who felt it would limit those who visit these areas by train for a more scenic jaunt on their bike.
Within days of the ruling taking place on New Year's Day, Melbourne's cyclists were already networking and gathering support to overturn the restrictions. Their efforts weren't wasted either, with the ruling being overturned and the upcoming laws regarding folding bikes added as part of the backflip on the controversial transport rule.
A heated topic that made the news, papers and not to mention many forums used by both cyclists and environmentalists, one of the more interesting websites established in the foray is the Bin the Bike Ban site.
To follow the brief but sordid history of the bike restrictions and how they were overturned, visit: Bin the Bike Ban
While the ruling to ban bikes on certain train services was very much in the public eye, the fact that the ruling was overturned came with much less fanfare (or should that be train fare?) with some people that I've encountered - cyclists, I might add - still unsure of the changes even now, more than a fortnight after the rules overturning.
For those not in the city-loop, the rules at present are as follows..
- Metropolitan Trains
On Yer Bike!
With access to travelling on trains with a bike now possible again, you might be inclined to step beyond the boundaries of Melbourne and pedal further a field. There are a great many bike trails throughout Victoria, which can be accessed by both Metropolitan and regional rail.
Popular as scenic routes for walking and horse riding also, Rail Trails can be found in country towns that offer the same scenic view that the train passengers would have enjoyed in the past.
For More Information on Rail Trails: Visit Here
Travelling by train to Mornington peninsula is also relatively easy with metropolitan train services running from Melbourne to Frankston, with further connections through Hastings to Stony Point on Western Port Bay.
-::-For more about the trails visit the website of Mornington Peninsula Shire
-::- For information on Train Timetables & Costs visit: PTV or V/Line
For more Bike Paths in Melbourne and Victoria, try the following:
Article by Brett Cole - OnlyMelbourne Writing Team
Sources Listed Further Below.
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Bikes Ban On Trains - Truly Folded!
→ Cycling in Melbourne
→ Bin The Bike Ban
→ Bike Paths in Mornington Peninsula Shire
→ Go For Your Life - Bicycle Maps
→ Bike Paths Guide
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