THE notorious Shepherd Bridge crossing over the Maribyrnong River is one of Melbourne's most dangerous sites for cyclists, according to users of a new mobile phone-based app.
The Bike Blackspot iPhone App, launched earlier this month by the Greens, invites cyclists to nominate "the good, the bad and the ugly" of bicycle paths and infrastructure in Melbourne.
Western suburbs MP Colleen Hartland said cyclists could use their phones to warn others of danger zones, obstacles and sections needing repair. "They can also nominate a spot that needs a bike path or bike facilities and praise 'bike utopias' - areas where cycling facilities really work."
The information and uploaded photos go into an interactive 'love my bike' map on the website (vicmps.greens.org.au/lovemybike).
Cyclists can also nominate black spots through the website.
Ms Hartland said it was no surprise the west featured prominently in early complaints about cycling black spots.
"The western suburbs are under-represented for bike paths and facilities and we generally aren't as loud in asking for what we need," she said. "So it would be great for residents to get involved and let the world know that we want to use our bikes, for health, convenience and environment reasons."
Meanwhile, medical organisation Doctors for the Environment Australia has thrown its weight behind Bicycle Network Victoria's call for the state government to reverse its drastic reduction in bicycle infrastructure spending.
Spokeswoman Dimity Williams said cycling protected against "enormous public health burdens" like diabetes and heart disease. Dr Williams said the state government's inquiry into environmental design and public health recommended promoting cycling activities, provision and maintenance of cycling infrastructure and retrofitting cycling paths. "It's ludicrous that the Victorian government is not following its own report's recommendations regarding the health advantages of cycling."
Roads Minister Terry Mulder said about $10million had been allocated by VicRoads for bicycle infrastructure in 2012-13. But Bicycle Network Victoria says this money was previously allocated and there is no new money being spent. -Benjamin Millar