Bicycle Facilities

Bicycle lanes are made by allocating part of a road to bicycles or by building off-road paths.

Bicycle lanes and paths should

  • form a network that connects homes, schools, workplaces, recreation facilities and shopping precincts
  • be well integrated with footpath crossings and bridges, and allow safe crossing of roads
  • not require the bicyclist to dismount frequently.

    On-road bicycle lanes should be located on the outer edge of the road surface. They should be between 1.5 and 3 metres wide. Where traffic speeds or volumes are higher, wider lanes are needed, to allow more space between through traffic and bicycles.

    On-road bicycle lanes can be indicated using painted line markings and can also be marked at regular intervals with a cycle symbol. They may also have a colored surface to increase their visibility. This is useful in complex environments, such as intersections.

    On-road bicycle lanes can be created using existing sealed road space or by sealing the road shoulder.

    Where traffic speeds and bicyclist numbers are too low to justify a bicycle lane, advisory signs can be used to remind other road users that bicyclists may also use the road.

    Off-road bicycle paths are safer than on-road lanes, and can be used as part of on-road lanes to bypass road sections where mixing motor vehicles and bicyclists is not safe. Off-road bicycle paths are usually shared with pedestrians. Shared paths should be signed to encourage bicyclists to give way to pedestrians and to encourage pedestrians to keep to one side of the path.

    Off-road bicycle paths should be between 2 and 5 metres wide (for both directions combined) depending on function (bicycles only, or shared) and bicycle and pedestrian volumes.

    • Increased safety for bicyclists.
    • Increased use of bicycles (reduced road congestion).
    • Associated health and environmental benefits that come with increased bicycle use.
    • On-road bicycle lanes are cheaper than off-road paths if shoulder sealing is not required.
    • Traffic calming treatments, or narrow road sections such as bridges can force bicycles out into traffic, resulting in conflicts.
    • Parked vehicles may also force bicycles out into traffic, and so parking enforcement is very important for the success of on-road lanes.
    • Surface quality must be high or it will pose a safety risk.
    • Bicycle lanes should be maintained properly to insure that bicyclists will prefer this to riding on the shoulder or in a vehicle lane of the roadway.
    • Maintenance includes repairs to the pavement surface and vegetation clearance.
    • Adequate sight distance must be provided around bends and at path intersections. This will also aid in improving personal security.
    • Bicycle paths should be clear of obstructions. This includes keeping others such as vendors and adjacent land owners from encroaching on the path. Where an obstruction is necessary, it should be made obvious, and lines should be used to guide bicyclists safely past.

    Benefits

    • Increased safety for bicyclists.
    • Increased use of bicycles (reduced road congestion).
    • Associated health and environmental benefits that come with increased bicycle use.

    Implementation issues

    • On-road bicycle lanes are cheaper than off-road paths if shoulder sealing is not required.
    • Traffic calming treatments, or narrow road sections such as bridges can force bicycles out into traffic, resulting in conflicts.
    • Parked vehicles may also force bicycles out into traffic, and so parking enforcement is very important for the success of on-road lanes.
    • Surface quality must be high or it will pose a safety risk.
    • Bicycle lanes should be maintained properly to insure that bicyclists will prefer this to riding on the shoulder or in a vehicle lane of the roadway.
    • Maintenance includes repairs to the pavement surface and vegetation clearance.
    • Adequate sight distance must be provided around bends and at path intersections. This will also aid in improving personal security.
    • Bicycle paths should be clear of obstructions. This includes keeping others such as vendors and adjacent land owners from encroaching on the path. Where an obstruction is necessary, it should be made obvious, and lines should be used to guide bicyclists safely past.

    Did you know?

    Costa Rica's Por Amor campaign helped prevent road deaths by lifting seat belt wearing rates from 24% to 82%.

    Tell me more

    Latest Case Studies

    See practical examples of how deaths and serious injuries have been prevented.

    Read more
  • Related Images

    Treatment Summary

    Costs
    Low to medium
    Treatment life
    10 years - 20 years
    Effectiveness
    25-40%

    Related Road Users

    Related Case Study

    Pedestrian Refuges, Bicycle Lanes, Delineation and One-way Road

    Railway Parade is located in the south of Sydney, Australia, and runs parallel to the Illawarra Rail...

    Read more