Bicycle route naming and signs standards

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This is a draft of a letter to be sent to the various relevant ministers on behalf of Bicycle User Groups that wish to participate.



If you wish to contribute to this letter you can create an account on the Greenlivingpedia wiki and then make changes to this letter yourself.

Bicycle Victoria will be invited to participate in this initiative as well.

A final draft of this letter will be circulated for approval and formal "sign on" prior to sending it.

Current issues

Lack of coordination and consistency across council boundaries

The current situation where councils all do their own thing is quite unsatisfactory. VicRoads has developed guidelines for signage but that these are not binding on councils. Furthermore there is no central registry of the actual names of trails. Some councils use sensible descriptive names, others choose unhelpfully quirky names.

Bicycle or shared path access points and signage

Signs on roads that indicate access points to bicycle or shared paths should be like breadcrumbs, placed at every turn or intersection, etc. to guide potential users to the access point

Continuity of bicycle and shared paths

  • When road crossings are offset - path continuations are not directly opposite each other - signs should indicate in which direction to proceed along the road to find the path continuation
  • Path continuations should be clearly marked
  • When bicycle or shared paths cross, names of all paths should be indicated at the intersection
  • Path names should continue across municipal boundaries, i.e. no change of name at boundary

Links to the external world

When shared paths cross over or under roads or streets these should be clearly identified, thus enabling cyclists to use paths more easily for utility purposes.

Consistent appearance of signs

Signs for cycle paths and routes, both on and off road, should have consistent appearances and information including:

  • The name and/or code for the route
  • A consistent colour
  • A consistent format
  • Be placed at consistent locations along the route, particularly at intersections and turns
  • Be placed at a height where they are clearly visible to cyclists, who tend to look down rather than up

Signs and their location (designated by a unique code) could also be used be emergency services for establishing locations when required.

Hierarchy of paths

  • Conduct traffic volume studies to identify 'commuter' v. 'recreational' paths
  • Develop a hierarchy of 'freeway', 'arterial', and 'feeder' paths, etc. by analogy with roads
  • Colours and appearance of name signs to indicate whether a path is major or minor, i.e. postion in hierarchy

Appropriate level of government responsibility for safe cycling facilites

It is currently unclear who in Government is responsible and accountable for delivering safe cycling infrastructure in Victoria. Currently, responsibilities are spread across and shared between local councils, VicRoads, Parks Victoria and several Victorian State Government departments and Ministers.

Due to the current unclear and diffused responsibility for cycling infrastructure, state and local government bodies involved in providing cycling infrastructure often do not have shared or consistent approaches.

For example:

  • Some departments regard off-road paths as recreational facilities when quite clearly many are now primarily traffic routes, viz. the Yarra Trail during morning and afternoon peak commute times.
  • VicRoads maintains on-road cycle paths and lanes, but not off road paths.
  • Local Councils maintain off road cycle paths, but only up to their municipal boundaries.
  • VicTrack does not encourage or allow development of cycle paths on or near much of Melbourne's train networks.

A state government department and Minister that can coordinate across the following areas and regions would greatly improve delivery of safe and effective cycling infrastructure:

  • an overarching cycling strategy and plan for Melbourne and Victoria.
  • across municipal boundaries for both on-road and off-road cycle paths and routes.
  • across Crown land
  • across railways (VicTrack) land
  • consistent regulations for path signage and markings.

External links


Mandatory legislated standards for bicycle route and path signage are required. It is desirable that these standards are consistently applied both within Victoria and nationally. Ideally, the signs should conform to an accepted international standard in the same way as road signs throughout Australia already do.

A single Victorian minister with responsibility and accountability for cycling who could also own and enact these standards is also be recommended.

See also

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