Monday 17 June 2013

Manifesto for Cycle Facilities. Part 1. Cycle Lane Quality (in progress)

Following on from my previous post, this is another 'knock these ideas around' kind of post. Going to list what I think are the parameters for safe, effective cycle routes. I'll update this as other suggestions come, and I'll add other posts for maintenance, enforcement, etc.

The purpose of cycle lanes is to:

1. Create a safe space for all cyclists to use.
2. Encourage a greater uptake of cycling in the UK, with a target being 50% modal share of journeys being by bicycle.
3. Be both pleasant and convenient to ride on - facilities must be attractive to novices and experienced cyclists alike.

To achieve this, we must consider many factors; I propose that we set 'gold' standards for cycle facilities and judge them based upon whether they meat this standard.

The 'gold' standard for cycle infrastructure should aspire to includes:

1. On all busy routes, fully segregated facilities where cyclists are protected from motorised vehicles without creating a threat to pedestrians.
2. Sufficient width in either direction to allow safe overtaking.
3. A surface appropriate for comfortable riding up to 30mph
4. Priority over side roads equal to that of the road the route runs parallel to, i.e. if the route runs alongside a road which has priority over a side road or driveway, then the cycle lane must also have priority.
    (a) This must be enforced with signage, route design, or clear lane markings
    (b) This must be labelled with 'give way' signs reinforce cyclists priority.
5. All routes must be continuous - cycle routes which disappear as road space becomes more pressing are of no value to cyclists.
6. Smart segregation at junctions, including:
    (a) Cycle friendly roundabout design
    (b) Advance stop positions for cyclists and advance light changes where full segregation not possible
7. Clear labelling of cycle facilities, including
    (a) Coloured road surfaces to ensure cyclist and pedestrian safety
    (b) Clear indication that motorised vehicles not be in cycle facilities
8. Engineered solutions to keep cars and other motorised vehicles from parking in cycle lanes
9. 'Strategic' inclusion of all cycle routes to create a network of safe, pleasant, and real life journey types
10. Corners on cycle routes must be engineered such that they are legally and safely navigable by cyclists of varying skill levels - extreme angles must be avoided except where unavoidable.


  1. Not sure what the best way to phrase this would be, but two of my frustrations are ridiculously tight bends in cycle lanes, and poor sight lines.

    Maybe best to extend your surface designed for 30mph, to design speed for the entire route, including junctions.

    1. Interesting... Yes, the 90 degree corners in narrow cycle routes, thats really very frustrating. I'll ponder how best to word that, ta!

  2. Width is often compromised by:

    a) sign/light poles planted in the path

    c) no alternative space for people to put their wheelie bins on collection day

    b) close proximity of hedges/shrubs/trees - at this time of year trying to maintain width when growth is right-at-the-edge-of-the-path is an impossibility. (And even height in some cases at the moment!)

  3. I think insisting on "Give Way" signs at every intersection may be excessive -- it should be possible to do an adequate job with marking and surfacing.

    Additional requirements I'd suggest:

    Where a segregated route starts or ends, it should be possible to join or leave it without slowing down (design speed again), and without crossing a kerb at an oblique angle.

    Using a cycle track instead of an adjacent carriageway should not preclude otherwise lawful manoeuvres at junctions. So if there's a right turn off the road, there should be a way to make the same turn from the cycle track without adding excessive time to one's journey.