CYCLISTS crossing the notorious Shepherd Bridge on Footscray Road are risking their lives while the government drags its heels on fixing the problem, says Williamstown MP Wade Noonan.
Cyclist crashes leading to deaths or serious injuries on Maribyrnong roads have more than doubled since 2007, with most involving a car or truck.
VicRoads statistics show 107 crashes in the five years to the end of last year, with the Maribyrnong figure soaring from 11 in 2007 to 24 last year.
Seven of those were on Footscray Road, including one fatality and one serious injury.
Bicycle Victoria's Jason den Hollander said the inner-west bike network was poor compared to the rest of Melbourne, despite its proximity to the CBD.
Shepherd Bridge funnels Melbourne west's cyclists into the city, with 567 riders counted on the route in a recent audit.
Mr Noonan said there was nothing stopping the government releasing funds needed to make the bridge safer.
"The previous state Labor government set aside funds as part of the Truck Action Plan (TAP) project to create a three-metre-wide bike path across Shepherd Bridge," he said.
"There has been no movement on the bike path widening because the Baillieu government has put the handbrake on the Truck Action Plan project."
The government has dumped all new spending on cycling infrastructure for 2012-13.
It spent $475,000 early this year to improve the stretch of Footscray Road from the Maribyrnong River to Docklands Drive.
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the project would improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians. But cyclists say aspects of the work have made the situation worse.
Mr Noonan wants the government to draw on the $40million set aside for the TAP to upgrade the bridge regardless of whether it moves on the broader plan.
Roads Minister Terry Mulder did not respond to questions.