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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 an intuitive 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 bicyclists 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 per direction. Wider lanes are needed where there are high traffic speeds (50km/h or more), higher vehicle or bicycle volumes, or a mix of powered and non-powered light mobility vehicles, to allow more space and safer passing distances.

On-road bicycle lanes can be created using existing sealed road space or by sealing the road shoulder. On-road bicycle lanes can be indicated using painted line markings and can also be marked at regular intervals with a bicycle symbol. They may also have a coloured surface to increase their visibility and light segregation such as raised markers or flexible posts. This is useful in increasing driver awareness of the presence of bicyclists.

Bicycle lanes and on-street vehicle parking or stopping bays should be separated, and care should be taken during the design of the interface between bicycle lanes, parking and stopping bays.

Where traffic speeds and bicyclist numbers are too low to justify a bicycle lane, or there is insufficient space, advisory signs can be used to remind other road users that bicyclists may also use the road, and the speed limit reduced to a safe level.

Off-road bicycle paths are generally 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. Care must be taken in designing intersections and road crossings, particularly for bidirectional paths. Where possible, crossings at intersections should be placed away from the intersection by approximately 5m to increase visibility. Traffic calming devices, such as raised crossings, speed humps and tight curve radii, should be used to help reduce speed of turning vehicles. Things that obscure visibility of bicyclists, such as vehicle parking and shrubbery, should be kept at least 10m away from crossing points.

Off-road bicycle paths may be shared with pedestrians. However, these should be extra wide or separate paths provided to avoid bicycle-pedestrian conflicts, particularly where there is a mix of powered and non-powered light mobility vehicles.  Lines, signs and markings can be used to help improve awareness between bicyclists and pedestrians.

Off-road bicycle paths should be between 3 and 5 metres wide (for both directions combined) depending on function (bicycles only or shared) and bicycle and pedestrian volumes.

For large, divided urban roads, bidirectional bicycle paths should be provided on both sides of the road, and safe, controlled crossings provided. Grade separated crossings should be considered only as a last resort, and particular attention paid to the design so that it is not difficult to use, it is wide, safe and well-lit, and does not require bicyclists to dismount.

Where an existing road is replaced completely or partially by a new road, consideration may be given to converting sections of the old road for non-motorised traffic including bicycles. Junctions between the old road and the new road, if unavoidable, should be treated to address any potential conflicts.

Further information on bicycle safety can be found at the Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System website. This is an online resource providing practitioners with up-to-date information about how to improve the safety and mobility of cyclists within the transportation system.

The Star Rating Demonstrator is a freely available tool with the iRAP online software, ViDA. With the Star Rating Demonstrator, it is possible to explore the impact that this Safer Roads Treatment has on risk.

Treatment Summary


Low to medium

Treatment life

10 years - 20 years

Potential casualty reduction


Case Studies

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