Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 209

Bicycle Facilities Design

Course Manual

Spring 2011
This resource has been created for use by participants in the Bicycle Facilities Design
Course. The course was developed for the British Columbia Recreation and Parks
Association (BCRPA) and Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (BC MOT) and is being
delivered through the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British
Columbia (APEGBC). This resource was developed by Urban Systems Ltd. in association
with Alta Planning + Design and Meghan Winters at the University of British Columbia
School of Population of Public Health. Peer review was provided by Gavin Davidson.

Funding for development of this course was provided through the Built Environment and
Active Transportation (BEAT) initiative, which is a joint project of the British Columbia
Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
It is a program of the BC Healthy Living Alliance, supported by ActNowBC, the provincial
government’s healthy living initiative. The BEAT project is working to create more
supportive environments for physical activity by addressing community design, policy and
transportation planning.

©Copyright 2010 by the BC Recreation and Parks Association. All rights reserved. This
material may not be duplicated without permission from the copyright holder.

Built Environment & Active Transportation


www.bcrpa.bc.ca
www.physicalactivitystrategy.ca
Course Description
Over the past several years, there has been a growing recognition of the need for formal training and
skills related the planning, design, and implementation of bicycle facilities. This growing need is a
reflection of the increasingly important role that cycling is playing as a way of reducing automobile
dependency and greenhouse gas emissions, improving public health outcomes, and creating more livable
and sustainable communities. As a result of the increasing role of cycling in our communities, design
professionals require an understanding of the unique issues and needs of cyclists and a solid set of skills
regarding the selection, design, and implementation of bicycle infrastructure, particularly in terms of
innovation and the design of unique bicycle facilities.

This 1 day course is designed to assist design professionals in developing awareness and understanding
of the unique issues and needs of cyclists and will equip participants with the design skills needed to deal
with diverse, complex issues that arise around the selection, design and implementation of cycling
infrastructure. The course considers the wide variety of contexts in which cycling infrastructure is
implemented throughout the province, including rural, suburban and urban communities.

Target Audience
This course is intended for professionals involved in the design of the public realm – such as engineers,
designers, planners, and landscape architects – in both the public and private sectors throughout British
Columbia.

Course Objectives
The objectives of this course are to equip participants to:
 Promote cycling and the role of cycling in the broader transportation system;
 Consider the unique needs and issues of various types of cyclists when designing transportation
infrastructure; and
 Effectively plan, design, implement and manage bicycle facilities.

Course Format
The course has been designed to use a variety of different learning techniques, including presentations,
small group discussions, case study activities, videos, and an optional field trip. The materials presented
during the course are described in further detail in this course manual.
Topics
This course manual has been divided into five distinct parts, each of which contains a series of specific
lessons as described below. The manual is intended to be used as a reference that design professionals
can use to access guidelines and further resources the information as needed.

This lesson identifies the context for cycling and the factors
Lesson 1A increasing the need for improved and expanded bicycle
Context for Cycling facilities in B.C. including environmental, economic, social,
Part 1 – health and safety benefits and impacts
Introduction & Lesson 1B This lesson identifies the different types of cyclists and their
Context Cyclists Needs and Issues unique needs and issues when designing bicycle facilities
Lesson 1C This lesson reviews the relevant laws, policies and guidelines
Relevant Laws, Policies & that apply to bicycle facility design in B.C. and provides
Guidelines resources for guidelines in other jurisdictions.

This lesson describes the various types of on-street and off-


Lesson 2A
Part 2 – street bicycle facilities and identifies criteria to be used to
Bicycle Facility Types
Facility help decide when to use each type of facility
Selection Lesson 2B This lesson identifies common issues and constraints
Issues and Constraints associated with designing and implementing bicycle facilities
This lesson describes the different types of off-street
pathways, including bicycle pathways and multi-use
pathways, and outlines some common design considerations,
Part 3 –
Lesson 3A including types of users, width, surface, striping and access
Facility Design: Off-Street Pathways restrictions. The lesson also discusses several approaches to
Off-Street providing intersection treatments as well as variety of other
design considerations that can be considered to enhance the
overall user experience along the pathway
This lesson describes the different types of cycle tracks,
Lesson 4A including the types of corridor treatments that are typically
Cycle Tracks used to provide physical separation between cyclists and
motor vehicles, as well as intersection treatments.
This lesson describes the different types of bicycle lanes, and
Lesson 4B
summarizes guidelines for corridor treatments and
Bicycle Lanes
intersection treatments.
Part 4 –
This lesson describes the different types of neighbourhood
Facility Design: Lesson 4C
bikeways and summarizes a hierarchy of treatments that can
On-Street Neighbourhood Bikeways
be considered.
This lesson describes the different types of marked curb
Lesson 4D
lanes summarizes guidelines for corridor treatments and
Marked Curb Lanes
intersection treatments
This lesson describes applications of shoulder bikeways and
Lesson 4E
summarizes guidelines for corridor treatments and
Shoulder Bikeways intersection treatments.
Lesson 5A This lesson Identifies the strategies that can be used to
Part 5 – Implementation, implement on-street bicycle facilities into existing roadways,
Implementation Maintenance, and Funding as well as maintaining and funding cycling infrastructure.
PA R T 1 : I n t r o d u c t i o n & C o n t e x t
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Learning Objective ......................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline.............................................................................................1

3.0 Benefits and Impacts of Cycling ...................................................................1

4.0 Relationship Between Infrastructure and Bicycle Use .................................8

5.0 Conclusion................................................................................................. 11

6.0 References and Further Information ......................................................... 12

ii
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
1.0 Learning Objective
To identify the context for cycling and the factors contributing to the need
for improved and expanded bicycle facilities in British Columbia, including
environmental, economic, social, health, and safety benefits and impacts.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by outlining the benefits and impacts of cycling from a
variety of perspectives, including environmental, economic, social, health,
and safety benefits and impacts. For each of these areas, the lesson
provides some key facts and figures as well as further resources to find
more information. The lesson concludes by examining the relationship
between bicycle infrastructure and bicycle use by focusing on several case
studies of cities throughout North America that have been successful in
attracting significant number of cyclists by providing safe, attractive, and
convenient cycling infrastructure.

3.0 Benefits and Impacts of Cycling


Bicycling is a low-cost and practical means of transportation that is non-
polluting, energy-efficient, versatile, healthy, and fun. Bicycling as a
means of transportation has been growing in popularity in recent years
throughout North America as many communities work to create more
balanced transportation systems. This section provides context and
supporting research for the many benefits and impacts of cycling,
including environmental, economic, social, health, and safety benefits and
impacts.

Environmental Benefits and Impacts


Increased levels of bicycling and walking result in significant benefits to
the environment, as they produce no air pollution. Automobile exhaust is
a significant source of non-point pollution in our air and water – in British
Columbia, transportation is the leading contributor to greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions, accounting for over one-third of GHG emissions across
the Province.1

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
Of the transportation-related GHG emissions in British Columbia,
BC Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2006
passenger vehicles are the largest contributor, accounting for 39% of
transportation-related GHG emissions. In the United States, on-road
motor vehicle emissions produce 81% of transportation-related GHG
emissions in the country.2 Walking and cycling can play a significant role
in reducing emissions, not only because they do not produce emissions,
but also because walking and cycling trips often replace short, cold-start
motor vehicle trips for which internal combustion engines have high
emission rates. In fact, each 1% of motor vehicle travel replaced by
walking or cycling decreases motor vehicle emissions by 2% to 4%.3 In
addition to affecting GHG emissions and climate change, air pollution can
cause or exacerbate a variety of health problems – including asthma,
heart disease, emphysema, pneumonia and cancer – and contributes to
Source: Provincial Climate Action Plan
70,000 deaths throughout the United States each year.

To address these issues, the Provincial Government recently adopted the


Climate Action Plan, which includes a number of actions to reduce GHG
emissions. The Provincial Government has also passed legislation that
sets targets for British Columbia to reduce its GHG emissions by 33%
from 2007 levels by 2020 and by 50% by 2050. In addition, almost all of
the municipalities in the province have signed the Climate Action Charter BC Transportation Greenhouse Gas
with a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2012. As passenger vehicles are the
Emissions, 2006
largest contributor of transportation-related GHG emissions, initiatives
that reduce passenger vehicle travel such as supporting cycling can help
reduce GHG emissions and help municipalities achieve GHG reduction
targets.

In 2008, the Province also passed Bill 27, the Local Government (Green
Communities) Statutes Amendment Act that gives local governments tools
to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy, and
Source: Provincial Climate Action Plan
work towards creating more compact and sustainable
communities. Among other things, the act provides tools for local
governments to support cycling infrastructure, such as the use of parking
reserve funds for the purpose of providing transportation infrastructure
that supports walking, bicycling, public transit or other alternative forms
of transportation.

2
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
Economic Benefits and Impacts
Bicycling can aid economies by stimulating tourism to a region and can
benefit local businesses by encouraging customers to spend their money
locally. Encouraging cycling can also help create more liveable
communities, which can be quantified in increased housing prices in more
bicycle-friendly locations. Bicycle infrastructure is also less expensive to
build and maintain than other transportation infrastructure.

By replacing short car trips, bicycling can help families defray rising
transportation costs. The Canadian Automobile Association estimates the
cost of owning and operating a car to be between approximately $8,000
and $14,000 a year (depending on the type of vehicle driven and the
annual mileage), compared to about $150 for a bicycle.4 Families that
drive less spend 10% of their income on transportation, compared to
19% for households with heavy car use,5 freeing additional income for
local goods and services.

The League of American Bicyclists reports that bicycling makes up $133


billion of the United States economy, funding 1.1 million jobs.6 The
League also estimates bicycle-related trips generate another $47 billion in
tourism activity. Many communities have enjoyed a high return on their
investment in bicycling. For example, each year approximately 50,000
people visit the Myra Canyon, part of the Kettle Valley Railway in the
Okanagan, generating $5 million in economic benefits.7 The Bruce Trail in
Ontario attracts 400,000 people per year spending $5.6 million, with 70%
of expenditures made with 10 kilometres of the trail, resulting in a high
local impact.8 The Outer Banks of North Carolina spent $6.7 million to
improve local bicycle facilities, and reaped the benefit of $60 million of
annual economic activity associated with bicycling.9 Of the 200,000
athletic bicycle tourists identified in Québec in 2005, over a quarter earn
at least $80,000 per year (compared with 17 percent of the general
population). They spend an average of $83 per day, making them a more
lucrative clientele than Québec tourists in general, who spend an average
of $66 per day.10

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
Another regional benefit is that walkable, bikeable communities attract
the young creative class,11 which can help cities gain a competitive edge
and diversify their economic base.

Bicycle facilities can improve retail business directly by drawing customers


and indirectly by supporting the regional economy. Patrons who walk and
bike to local stores have been found to spend more money at local
businesses than patrons who drive.12

Several studies show that walkable, bikeable neighbourhoods are more


liveable and attractive. The City of Vancouver conducted a survey of
realtors as part of its 1999 Bicycle Plan and found that 85% of realtors
surveyed felt that bicycle routes are an amenity to the community around
them and that 65% would use the bicycle route as a selling feature of the
home.13 Recent studies have also shown that walkable, bikeable
neighbourhoods can also increase home values.14 Pathways in particular
have been shown to increase the value of adjacent properties.15 In the
City of Surrey, where properties bordered a greenway, values increased
by as much as 20%.16 The developers of the Shepherd’s Vineyard in
Apex, North Carolina increase the price of homes adjacent to a greenway
by $5,000 and those homes were still the first to sell.17 In addition,
quantifiable health savings can rationalize pathway building; the direct
dollar medical benefits of trail use can outweigh the cost of building,
operating and using the pathways.18

Bicycle infrastructure is also cost effective for local governments. A


roadway can carry seven to twelve times as many people per metre of
lane per hour by bicycle as compared to by automobile in urban areas.19
Shifts from driving to walking or bicycling are estimated to provide
roadway facility and traffic service cost savings of 5 per mile for urban
driving and 3 per mile for rural driving.20

Social Benefits and Impacts


Cycling provides people with increased mobility and an improved quality
of life. In communities where there is little or no access to public
transportation, people without access to a motor vehicle likely have
reduced access to employment, social opportunities, shopping, and key

4
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
services.21 This is particularly important among youth and seniors, as
over one third of our population is too old or too young to drive and that
that percentage is growing.

Non-motorized transportation options expand choices for lower income


households, which may have limited or no access to automobiles.
Bicycling can provide expanded transportation options particularly for
people who are not old enough to drive, have a suspended license, or
who make the choice to not drive. The British Columbia Cycling Coalition
found that if accelerated investment in cycling results in a cycling mode
share of 15%, British Columbians could save a cumulative total of $1.7
billion by 2020 in reduced gasoline costs.22

According to estimates by Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group


in New York, bicycle riding costs the frequent cyclist only one-quarter as
much as driving, assuming cyclists must replace their bicycles every three
years due to bicycle theft and bad pavement. Transportation Alternatives
estimates that the annual savings would average $1,100 per motorist.23

Cycling and walking also allow for more personal interaction. Walkers
and cyclists are more likely to meet and converse with each other,
creating a stronger sense of community. People walking and cycling also
provide extra “eyes on the street”, helping to decrease crime and improve
public safety and enhance feelings of security.

Health Benefits and Impacts


Nearly half of all Canadian adults and two-thirds of all American adults are
either overweight or obese.24 Since the early 1970s, overweight and
obesity levels have risen by nearly 20% in Canada and by nearly 40% in
the United States.25 The number of deaths attributable to overweight and
obesity has almost doubled in Canada over the past fifteen years.
According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon, adults need
30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as cycling) most
days of the week, and children need 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity
most days of the week.26 Similarly, the U.S. Surgeon General
recommends that significant health benefits can accrue from engaging in

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days each
week.

As a form of exercise, bicycling has been shown to reduce or prevent


heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis,
and depression.27 Promoting cycling and walking can be a way to focus on
preventive health care and mitigate rising health care costs. For example,
obesity is now the second leading cause of death in North America,
second only to smoking. As a result, the costs of excess weight and
obesity on our health care systems are staggering. In Canada, it is
estimated that the direct cost of obesity in 1997 was $1.8 billion, or 2.4%
of all health care spending.28 In the United States, obesity alone accounts
for nearly 12% of all private health care spending, or $36.5 billion
annually — an increase from just 2%, or $3.6 billion, in 1987.29

Since bicycling is among the most popular forms of recreational activity in


the North America,30 when bicycling is available as a daily mode of
transportation, substantial health benefits can result. In order to be most
effective as a means to reduce obesity, cycling and walking can and
should be part of one’s daily activity – this means providing facilities that
allow one to use the bicycle to serve recreation as well as utilitarian trips.
The health benefit of bicycling as a means of exercise can reduce the cost
of spending on health care by over $500 a year,31 which provides a
financial incentive to businesses that provide health coverage to their
employees.

Safety Benefits and Impacts


Finally, safety concerns are another reason to improve bicycling
conditions in BC. Although the incidence of collisions involving bicycles
may be relatively low, concerns about safety have historically been the
single greatest reason people do not commute by bicycle, as will be
shown in greater detail in the Cyclist Needs and Issues lesson. A Safe
Routes to School survey in 2004 similarly found that 30 percent of parents
consider traffic-related danger to be a barrier to allowing their children to
walk or bike to school. Over half of respondents throughout Canada and
almost 60% of BC respondents believed that riding on the streets in their
community was dangerous because of motor vehicle traffic. The study

6
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
further found that women were significantly more inclined to that opinion
than men (59% compared to 47%, respectively). The survey further
found that 70% of respondents located within 5 kilometres of work would
cycle more if safe, dedicated bicycle lanes were available.32 Local market
research conducted by the UBC Cycling in Cities Program found that
safety from motor vehicle traffic is a significant deterrent to cycling, and
that most cyclists prefer bicycle facilities that are physically separated
from motor vehicle traffic.

The perception that cycling can be dangerous is supported by several


studies. Pucher and Buehler found that both fatality and injury rates were
much higher for cyclists in the United States compared with Germany,
Denmark, and the Netherlands.33 As will be discussed further in the
Cyclists Needs and Issues lesson, they found the cycling fatality rate in
Canada to be 2.39 fatalities per 100 million kilometres cycled, comparable
to other European countries such as France (2.04) and Germany (2.43),
but significantly lower than the United States, which was almost three
times as high as Canada’s fatality rate with 5.74 fatalities per 100 million
kilometres cycled.34

One of the reasons the authors attributed to the lower levels of cyclist
fatalities in Canada is the higher amount of bicycle use. Pucher and
Buehler have concluded in several studies that increased bicycle use tends
to be equated to improved cyclist safety: “while safer cycling clearly
encourages more cycling, there is also reason to believe that more cycling
facilitates safer cycling. The phenomenon of safety in numbers has been
consistently found to hold over time and across cities and countries.
Fatality rates per trip and per kilometre are much lower for countries and
cities with high bicycling shares of total travel, and fatality rates fall for
any given country or city as cycling levels rise.35

Several other studies have also found that improving safety for bicyclists
can be accomplished by increasing the number of people who walk and
bike. In a community where twice as many people walk, an individual
walking has a 66% reduced risk of being injured by a motorist.36 In
addition, providing safe and well-designed infrastructure reduces injury
and crash risk for bicyclists.37

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
4.0 Relationship Between Infrastructure and Bicycle Use
While an increase in the bicycling mode share is beneficial for a region for Bicycle Funding and Mode Share
several reasons as described above, making the case for investment in
bicycle facilities requires drawing a clear link between investing in
infrastructure and increasing bicycle use. Recent studies have indicated
that more people are willing to cycle more frequently if better bicycle
facilities are provided.38 For example, the 2010 Benchmarking Study
prepared for the Alliance for Biking and Walking included the results of
an international comparison of bicycle funding and bicycle mode share,
and found that cities that invest greater amounts per capita into
bicycling have greater levels of bicycling. These examples provide
strong evidence that in order to increase bicycling and walking, the
community must invest more heavily in these modes. In addition,
people living in proximity to trails are more likely to walk and bicycle on
the facilities and are 1.5 times more likely to meet physical activity
guidelines.39

Source: Alliance for Biking and Walking


The following case studies indicate the impacts and benefits of
encouraging bicycling in variety different cities throughout North America
that have been successful at attracting significant increases in bicycle use
by providing safe, attractive, and convenient bicycle infrastructure.

Separated Cycle Track, Montreal, QC


Montréal, Québec has over 500 kilometres of bicycle routes and paths –
including a network of separated “cycle tracks” throughout the downtown
core that are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic – and has
recently launched the first bicycle-sharing program in North America. In
2005, over half of the population (54%) identified themselves as cyclists,
amounting to a total of 2.6 million adults (18-74 years old) and 1 million
children (6-17 years old).40 In Québec, cyclists make 16% of their trips for
transportation purposes, representing an annual total of 330 million
kilometres.

8
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
New York City has seen an aggressive increase in cycling infrastructure
9th Avenue Cycle Track, New York, NY
over the past few years, including implementation of over 300 kilometres
of bicycle routes, with a focus on innovative treatments such as “cycle
tracks” that are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic, coloured
bicycle lanes, and buffered bicycle lanes. As a result, commuter cycling is
estimated to have increased by 26% between 2008 and 2009 and more
than doubled since 2005. The New York City Department of Health
estimates that over a half million New Yorkers ride bicycles.41 A 2007
study found that over three-quarters of respondents use the cycling map
to plan their routes, which suggests that users are looking for off-street
facilities and on-street striped bicycle lanes, both of which are shown in
the map.42

Bicycle Mode Share and Crash Rate, Portland, OR

The City of Portland, Oregon has invested approximately


$50 million in cycling infrastructure over the past 28 years,
which amounts to about $3.50 per resident, per year.43 As
the mode share of bicycling has increased, the rate of
crashes and fatalities has decreased, as shown at right. The
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy estimated a benefit of $9 million
to $22 million per year from fuel savings, CO2 emissions
reduction, and increased physical activity.

The first city to receive the platinum “Bicycle Friendly City” designation by
the League of American Bicyclists, the City of Davis, California has 80
kilometres of bicycle lanes and nearly 85 kilometres of bicycle paths. As of
2006, more than 90 percent of all the collector and arterial streets within
the City have bicycle lanes and/or bicycle paths.44 The 2002 census found
that approximately 17 percent of all commute trips are made by bicycle,
compared to two or three percent ridership considered high in other

BC Recreation and Parks Association 9


Spring 2011
cities. The City budgets approximately $100,000 per year for bike path
maintenance and is continuing to expand the system.45

Locally, the City of Victoria, BC is often considered the “Cycling Capital of


Canada.” The city recognizes the value of cycling to the quality of life and
efficiency of transportation in the City. The City estimates that there are
more than 5,000 bicycle trips during the peak hours. The City has the
highest bicycle mode share of trips to work of all major cities in Canada,
at just under 10%. The City is focusing future efforts on providing
facilities and improving safety to encourage additional bicycling trips.

With the number of daily trips by bicycle tripling since 1994, in the City of
Vancouver, BC, cycling is the fastest growing method of travel. The City
Growth in the City of Vancouver’s
Bicycle Network Since 1990
estimates that approximately 60,000 trips are made by bicycle every day
in Vancouver. The 2006 Statistics Canada Census found that cycling
makes up almost four percent of work trips in Vancouver. Since 1990, the
City has developed almost 200 kilometres of bicycle network, and has
another 45 kilometres planned for the near future.46 This infrastructure
has focused largely on the provision of local street bikeways which are
located on low-volume residential streets. The City is also currently
focusing on the development of facilities that are protected from motor
vehicle traffic, including protected facilities on the Burrard Bridge,
Dunsmuir Viaduct, and Dunsmuir Street. The City is expanding the
network of protected facilities by constructing a separated ‘cycle track’
along Dunsmuir Street in June 2010 and is studying options to connect
this facility with the Burrard Street Bridge as part of a subsequent phase
of work.

The British Columbia Cycling Coalition (BCCC) study Keeping Our Feet on
the Pedals: The Case for Continuing to Increase Cycling Funding provides
a detailed case for encouraging bicycling in British Columbia. The report
notes that, “In addition to increased economic activity, accelerated
investments in cycling infrastructure will hasten the achievement of many
of the goals of the Provincial Government including increased physical
fitness, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased tourism
providing a great legacy for future generations.” As previously noted, the
BCCC study estimates that, “if accelerated investment in cycling results in

10
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
a cycling mode share of 15%, British Columbians could save a cumulative
total of $1.7 billion by 2020 in reduced gasoline costs.”

5.0 Conclusion
There are many benefits and positive impacts of cycling. Recent research
supports and quantifies the positive impacts of bicycling on the
environment, the economy, society, overall health, and safety. Investing
in bicycle infrastructure can help achieve many of these benefits as there
is a clear link between investing in bicycle infrastructure and increasing
bicycle use, as demonstrated through case studies of several North
American studies as well as literature examining the relationship. This
demonstrates the “build it and they will come” notion and helps support
investing in cycling infrastructure not only as a means of getting more
people cycling, but also to support broader economic, social, and
environmental sustainability objectives.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
6.0 References and Further Information

1
Province of British Columbia. 2008. Climate Action Plan. www.livesmartbc.ca/government/plan.html.
2
League of American Bicyclists. 2009. Ride for the environment.
www.bikeleague.org/resources/why/environment.php
Schwartz, J. 2000. Harvesting and long term exposure effects in the relation between air pollution and
mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology, 151(5), 440-448.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2007. Mobile source emissions: Past, present, and future.
www.epa.gov/otaq/invntory/overview/pollutants/index.htm.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2006. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the U.S. Transportation
Sector, 1990-2003. www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/420r06003.pdf.
3
Victoria Transport Policy Institute. 2010. Quantifying the Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation for
Achieving Mobility Management Objectives. www.vtpi.org/nmt-tdm.pdf.
4
Canadian Automobile Association. 2009. Driving Costs. www.caa.ca/documents/drivingcostsbrochure-
jan09-eng-v3.pdf.
5
Center for Neighborhood Technology. 2005. Driven to Spend: Pumping Dollars out of Our Households and
Communities.
6
League of American Bicyclists. 2009. The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments.
7
Public Safety Canada. 2004. $13.5 Million to Re-Built Myra Canyon Trestles. http://ww2.ps-
sp.gc.ca/publications/news/2004/20040826_e.asp.
8
Ontario Trails Council. The Importance of Trails. www.ontariotrails.on.ca.
9
North Carolina Department of Transportation, Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation.
2004. Pathways to Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Investments in Bicycle Facilities.
www.atfiles.org/files/pdf/NCbikeinvest.pdf.
10
Vélo Québec. 2006. Bicycling in Québec 2005. www.veloquebec.info/documents/bicyclingquebec2005-en.pdf.
11
Cortright, Joe for CEOs for Cities. 2007. Portland’s Green Dividend. www.ceosforcities.org/blog/entry/986.
12
The Clean Air Partnership. 2010. Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business: A Study of Bloor Street in
Toronto’s Annex Neighborhood. www.cleanairpartnership.org/files/
BikeLanes_Parking_Business_BloorWestVillage.pdf
13
City of Vancouver. 1999. 1999 Bicycle Plan: Reviewing the Past, Planning the Future.
http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/documents/1999bikeplan.pdf.
14
Cortright, Joe for CEOs for Cities. 2009. Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S.
Cities. www.ceosforcities.org/files/WalkingTheWalk_CEOsforCities.pdf.

12
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
15
Evenson, K. R., Herring, A. H. and Huston, S. L. 2005. Evaluating change in physical activity with the building
of a multi-use trail. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28 (2, Supplement 2), 177-185.
16
RealBASE Consulting Inc. Greenway Proximity Study, 1980-1991, City of Surrey.
17
Don Hopey. Prime Location on the Trail, Rails-to-Trails. Fall/Winter 1999.
18
Wang, G., Macera, C. A., Scudder-Soucie, B., Schmid, T., Pratt, M. and Buchner, D. 2004. Cost
effectiveness of a bicycle/pedestrian trail development in health promotion. Preventive Medicine, 38(2),
237-42.
Wang, G., Macera, C. A., Scudder-Soucie, B., Schmid, T., Pratt, M. and Buchner, D. 2005. A cost-
benefit analysis of physical activity using bike/pedestrian trails. Health Promotion Practice, 6(2), 174-9.
19
Go for Green. Active Transportation Community Solutions for Climate Change.
20
Litman. T. 2004. Quantifying the Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation for Achieving Mobility
Management Objectives. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. www.vtpi.org/nmt-tdm.pdf.
21
Litman. T. 2003. Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis – Transportation Diversity.
http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm66.htm.
22
British Columbia Cycling Coalition. 2009. Keeping out Feet on the Pedals: The Case for Continuing to
Increase Cycling Funding. www.bccc.bc.ca/BCCC%20Budget%20Submission%202010.pdf
23
City of New York. 2010. Bicycle Network Development.
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/home.shtml.

24
Statistics Canada. 2002. Body Mass Index (BMI), International Standard, by Sex, Household Population Aged 20
to 64 Excluding Pregnant Women, Canada, Provinces, Territories, Health Regions and Peer Groups, 2000/01.
www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/82-221-XIE/00502/tables/html/1226.htm.
25
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2004. Annual Report Card on Canadians’ Health 2004: Heart and
Stroke Foundation Warns Fat is the New Tobacco.
26
Heart and Stroke Foundation
http://www.heartandstroke.bc.ca/site/c.kpIPKXOyFmG/b.3644685/k.50F4/Healthy_Living__Physical_Activity.htm.
27
U.S. Surgeon General. 1996. Physical activity and health: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA.
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/pdf/sgrfull.pdf.
28
Birmingham, C. Laird, Jennifer L. Muller, Anita Palepu, John J. Spinelli, and Aslam H. Anis. 1999. The
Cost of Obesity in Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal 160(4):483-88.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
29
Thorpe, Kenneth, Curtis S. Florence, David H. Howard, and Peter Joski. 2005. The Rising Prevalence
of Treated Disease: Effects on Private Health Insurance Spending. Health Affairs. Web Exclusive 27 June
2005. W5-317 – W5-325
30
National Sporting Goods Association. 2003.
31
Feifei, W., McDonald, T., Champagne, L.J., and Edington, D.W. 2004. Relationship of Body Mass Index
and Physical Activity to Health Care Costs Among Employees. Journal of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine. 46(5):428-436
32
Go For Green/Environics. 1998. 1998 National Survey on Active Transportation Summary Report. Ottawa,
ON: Go For Green.
33
Pucher, J. and Lewis D. 2003. Making Walking and Cycling Safer: Lessons from Europe. American Journal of
Public Health, 93: 1509-1516
34
Pucher, J. and Buehler, R. 2007. Cycling in Canada and the United States: Why Canadians Are So Far Ahead.
Plan Canada, 47(1).
35
Pucher, J. and Buehler, R. 2008. Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from the Netherlands, Denmark and
Germany. Transport Reviews, 28(4): 495-528.
36
Jacobsen, P.L. 2003. Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling. Injury
Prevention 9:205-209.
37
Reynolds, C., Harris, M.A., Teschke, K., Cripton, P.A., and Winters, M. 2009. The impact of
transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature. Environmental Health.
8:47
38
Pucher, J., Dill, J. and Handy, S. 2010. Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: An
international review. Preventative Medicine 50:S106-S125.
Dill, J., and Carr, T. 2003. Bicycle Commuting and Facilities in Major U.S. Cities: If You Build Them, Commuters
Will Use Them – Another Look. Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.
39
Lindsey, G., Man, J., Payton, S. and Dickson, K. 2004. Property values, recreation values, and urban
greenways. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 22(3), 69-90.
Moudon, A. V., Lee, C., Cheadle, A. D., Collier, C. W., Johnson, D., Schmid, T. L. and Weather, R. D.
2005. Cycling and the built environment, a US perspective. Transportation Research Part D-Transport and
Environment, 10(3), 245-261.
40
Vélo Québec. 2006. Bicycling in Québec 2005. www.veloquebec.info/documents/bicyclingquebec2005-en.pdf
41
City of New York. New York DOT Website. www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemain.shtml
42
City of New York. 2007. The New York City Bicycle Survey.
www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/transportation/bike_survey.pdf

14
Course Manual
Lesson 1A – Context for Cycling
43
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The Case for Federal Support for Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements in
the City of Portland and Portland Metropolitan Region.
http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/whatwedo/case_statements/Portland%20CS%20for%20
Web.pdf.
44
City of Davis Public. 2006. City of Davis Comprehensive Bicycle Plan.
www.city.davis.ca.us/pw/pdfs/2006_BikePlan_withMaps.pdf
45
League of American Bicyclists. 2010. Bicycle Friendly Community, Davis CA.
www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/bfc_davis.php
46
City of Vancouver. 2009. Cycling Towards Sustainability Fact Sheet.
vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/documents/cycling-factsheet.pdf.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 15


Spring 2011
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


June 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Learning Objective ............................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Overview...............................................................................................1

3.0 Bicycle Planning Framework .............................................................................1

4.0 Cyclist Needs, Preferences and Barriers ............................................................2

5.0 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 16

6.0 References and Further Information............................................................... 17

ii
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
1.0 Learning Objective
To identify the different markets for cycling and consider their unique
needs and issues when planning, selecting, and designing bicycle
facilities.

2.0 Lesson Overview


Bicycle planning needs to be strategic, multi-faceted and market-oriented
in order to attract new cyclists and significantly increase bicycle use. This
lesson begins by presenting a framework for bicycle planning and
highlights the importance of the engineering and design of bicycle
facilities as part of a comprehensive bicycle planning program. It then
identifies different types of cyclists and identifies various market
segments for cycling. Finally, this lesson summarizes research regarding
the needs, preferences, and barriers of these market segments for
cycling. With these market segments in mind, the selection and design
of bicycle facilities can consider the motivations, barriers, preferences,
and needs of the appropriate group, in order to match the facility with the
characteristics of the intended users.

3.0 Bicycle Planning Framework


The degree to which a community is cycling-friendly is a function of the
policies, programs, and facilities in place.1 Bicycle facility planners
typically consider five elements (referred to as the “5E’s” of cycling) as
part of a comprehensive bicycle plan:2

Engineering addresses the design, implementation, and


maintenance of bicycle facilities and how bicycle facilities fit into
the broader transportation system.
Education includes teaching or training programs for cyclists and
motorists, such as cycling skills courses or bicycle maintenance
courses, which are often targeted to key populations such as
children or new commuters.
Encouragement is the promotion of cycling through participatory
events, such as Bike to Work Week, Bike Month, community bike

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
rides, commuter incentive programs, or Safe Routes to School
programs.
Enforcement refers to laws in regards to bicycle use and ensuring
that bicyclists and motorists know the rules of the road and share
the road safely.
Evaluation is used to confirm that policies, programs and facilities
are meeting their intended outcomes.

Globally, experience indicates that a focus on all five of these “E’”s is


crucial to achieve major increases in the number of people using bicycles
for transportation.3 However, surveys on bicycle use have consistently
shown that safety is the most commonly expressed concern of cyclists.
Given this, design professionals need to give careful consideration to
properly engineering and designing bicycle facilities to create a safe and
comfortable cycling environment. Engineering interventions may present
challenges in terms of cost and available road space, but a network of
safe, attractive, and connected facilities for cycling is a crucial first step to
creating a bicycle friendly city. Although all “5E”s are critical components
of a comprehensive bicycle planning program, this course focuses
primarily on the “Engineering” aspects of bicycle planning.

4.0 Cyclist Needs, Preferences and Barriers


In North America, only a very small proportion of the population use
bicycles as their main form of transportation. In the United States, it is
estimated that less than 0.6% of Americans use a bicycle as their primary
means of getting to work.4 This figure is over twice as high across
Canada, as 1.3% of Canadians use a bicycle to get to work. British
Columbia in particular is home to some of the highest rates of bicycle use
on the continent, with 2% of work trips across the province made by
bicycle, the highest of all provinces.5

In addition, many communities throughout British Columbia in a variety of


contexts – ranging from small to large, rural to urban, and north to south
– have bicycle mode shares that are among the highest on the continent.
For example, among the largest communities in the province (with over

2
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
100,000 residents), the District of Saanich and City of Vancouver have
bicycle mode shares of 5.3% and 3.7%, respectively. Several mid-sized
and smaller communities have even higher rates of bicycle use, with
Tofino leading the province with a bicycle mode share of over 13%,
followed by Oak Bay at over 10%, and Victoria at 9.5%. In fact, on
average the smallest communities throughout the province, especially
those with less than 15,000 residents, have the highest rates of bicycle
use.

Size of Community Average Bicycle Mode Share


< 5,000 residents 2.4%
5,000 – 15,000 residents 2.3%
15,000 – 50,000 residents 2.1%
50,000 – 100,000 residents 1.9%
> 100,000 residents 2.1%

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
Percentage of Work Trips Made by Bicycle in
Select BC Communities by Population Size, 2006

Saanich > 100,000 residents


Vancouver 50,000 - 100,000 residents
15,000 - 50,000 residents
Kelowna 5,000 - 15,000 residents
Richmond < 15,000 residents
Abbotsford
Victoria
Nanaimo
North Vancouver District
Kamloops
Chilliwack
Oak Bay
Esquimalt
Courtney
Penticton
Vernon
Whistler
Revelstoke
Comox
Smithers
View Royal
Tofino
Valemount
Fernie
Keremeos
Sicamous

0% 3% 6% 9% 12% 15%

Source: BC Stats

However, in most North American cities, including most communities in


British Columbia, cyclists are often seen as a small, fringe group: typically
young, male, and fearless. Most commonly, they are clad in activity-

4
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
specific gear: spandex, a helmet, bright clothing, lights and reflectors.
This image suggests that cycling is not an activity that is accessible to
everyone.

Yet this is not the case everywhere. In the great cycling cities in Europe –
such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Paris – cycling is the travel mode
of choice for men and women of all ages, from young to old. People cycle
to work and school, for social reasons or for exercise. In these cities, as
much as 40% of all trips are made by bicycle. These numbers and
demographics clearly indicate that North America has an untapped market
for cycling. The question facing bicycle professionals in North America is
how to successfully tap into this market and see a significant increase in
bicycle use.

Types of Cyclists
One way to investigate the untapped market for cycling is to look at
different types of cyclists, as well as those who currently do not cycle.
These groups are likely to have diverse travel behaviours, motivations,
and desires. The population can be categorized in a number of ways, for
example, by trip purpose (commuter cyclist, recreational cyclist), or by
how often one cycles. Two approaches, one from Metro Vancouver and
one from Portland, Oregon, are described below.

The Cycling in Cities Program at the University of British Columbia


recently conducted a survey in Metro Vancouver which identifies a “near
market” for cycling. This “near market” includes those people who
currently cycle or are willing to cycle in the future.

From a health promotion perspective this “near


market” comprises the people most likely to make
a behaviour change in the short- to medium-term,
thus an ideal market for targeted interventions.
The survey found that this “near market” makes
up about 31% of the adult population,
corresponding to about 500,000 people across the
Metro Vancouver region. This “near market” was
further segmented into four groups, according to

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
the frequency of cycling, to understand the needs and motivations of
different types of cyclists and to address the following goals specific to
each group:

Strategies for Near Market for Cycling


Cyclist Type Frequency of Cycling Aim
Regular Cyclists At least 1/week How to keep them cycling
Frequent Cyclists At least 1/month How to get them cycling more
Occasional Cyclists At least 1/year How to get them cycling more
Potential Cyclists Not in the past year How to get them started cycling

Most people in the “near market” population are frequent or occasional


cyclists, not regular cyclists. A significant number of people also fit into
the key target group of potential cyclists who had not cycled in the past
year. Certain demographic differences exist between these groups.
Regular cyclists are disproportionately male (65%), while potential cyclists
tend to be female (58%). Regular cyclists are also more educated than
other types of cyclists (55% with a university degree, compared to 44%
in the other groups). A lower proportion of the regular cyclists have
access to a motor vehicle than other groups (89%, compared to 95%).
There are no significant differences between groups according to age
distribution, or having children at home.

Another similar approach to classifying cyclists is the typology developed


by the City of Portland. They proposed a categorization, using four
groups, based on people’s willingness to use bicycles for transportation:
“The Strong and Fearless”, “The Enthused and the Confident”, “The
Interested but Concerned”, and then the non-cyclists or the “No Way No
How” group.

The first group, “Strong and Fearless” cyclists, are a small group of very
regular cyclists, representing less than 1% of the population, who would
cycle regardless of road conditions.

The “Enthused and Confident” group is made up of 7% of the population


and is comfortable on most cycling facilities, such as bicycle lanes on
arterial streets.

6
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
The “No Way No How” group makes up 33% of the population and
includes the very old and very young, as well as those unwilling to use a
bicycle for transportation, regardless of conditions. This group will not be
enticed to cycle to work or school under any circumstances and it is likely
that allocating additional resources to change their attitudes will not be
cost-effective.

What remains is the key untapped market, the “Interested but


Concerned” group, which is the largest market segment, representing
roughly 60% of the population in Portland. These people have only basic
cycling skills or even no cycling skills. They feel that they might be
interested in cycling, but they are concerned about some aspects of it.
They may be worried about the safety of cycling, or they may just simply
not know how to go about cycling. Perhaps they don’t know what routes
are available or if secure bike parking, showers and lockers are available
at their destination. They also represent most school children whose
parents may be reluctant to allow them to ride to school because of
perceived or real safety and security concerns. There is a significant
opportunity to focus on the needs of this large market segment to achieve
a significant increase in bicycle use.

The above populations (e.g., 60% Interested but Concerned, 33% No


Way No How) are estimations that have been supported by subsequent
surveys specific to Portland. In other cities where bicycle facilities and
culture are emerging, one might expect to have a different distribution in
the population. This framework can help bicycle planners understand who
they are planning for, and to select the most appropriate type of facility.
For example, bicycle lanes on arterial roads are not considered safe for
families. So while these types of bicycle facilities are sufficient for the
“Strong and Fearless” group and perhaps even the “Enthused and
Confident” group, they will probably attract only about 10% of the
population at most. On the other hand, facilities such as off-street
pathways, neighbourhood bikeways, or cycle tracks that provide
continuity as well as safety may attract more of the “Interested but
Concerned” group in these corridors.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
Although it is intuitive and useful to segment the cycling population, in
reality there is likely overlap between groups, as cycling behaviours,
attitudes, and needs vary along a continuum instead of categorically.
There may also be substantial crossover. For example, one regular cyclist
may make a 30 kilometre daily commute, while another regular cyclist
may use their bicycle to travel 1 kilometre to the local recreation facility
with their children. While both individuals frequently travel by bicycle,
they may have vastly different preferences for cycling facilities.

Barriers and Motivators of Cycling


Increasing the mode share for cycling requires an understanding of what
motivates people to cycle, and perhaps more importantly, what deters
people from cycling. Strategies to increase bicycle use can then focus on
addressing the key barriers to cycling among different types of cyclists.
The UBC Cycling in Cities survey asked about a suite of 73 factors that
might influence cycling, including items related to each of Engineering,
Education, Encouragement and Enforcement. The questions asked
respondents to rate each item along on a scale of +1 (strong motivator to
cycle) to -1 (strong deterrent to cycle).

The top ten motivators and deterrents to cycling are shown in the table
on the following page. Overall, the engineering factors were the strongest
reported influences on cycling. The majority of the strong deterrents
reflect safety concerns, such as motor vehicle traffic and speeds, potential
risk of injury from collisions, or the presence of debris or slippery road
conditions. Three of the top ten motivators were also safety related,
generally about separation and distance from motor vehicle traffic, and
facility design factors.

8
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
Top 10 motivating and deterring influences on cycling
mean
Motivators and Deterrents
influence*
A. Top 10 Motivators
1. The route is away from traffic noise & air pollution 0.79
2. The route has beautiful scenery 0.70
3. The route has bicycle paths separated from traffic for the entire distance 0.69
4. The route is flat 0.61
5. Cycling to the destination takes less time than traveling by other modes 0.59
6. The distance to your destination is less than 5 km 0.53
7. I can make the trip in daylight hours 0.50
8. You can take your bike on the SkyTrain at any time 0.50
9. 2-way off-street path has a reflective centre line for night & poor weather 0.49
10. Secure indoor bike storage 0.49
B. Top 10 Deterrents
1. The route is icy or snowy -0.86
2. The street has a lot of car, bus, & truck traffic -0.83
3. The route has glass or debris -0.76
4. Vehicles drive faster than 50 km/hr -0.76
5. The risk from motorists who don't know how to drive safely near bicycles -0.73
6. The risk of injury from car-bike collisions -0.67
7. It is raining -0.63
8. The route has surfaces that can be slick when wet or icy when cold -0.59
9. The route is not well lit after dark -0.59
10. I need to carry bulky or heavy items -0.57
*weighted mean score, where +1= much more likely to cycle, +0.5= more likely to cycle, 0=neutral, -0.5= less likely to
cycle, and -1= much less likely to cycle; less than 4% missing responses for all factors
Source: UBC, Cycling in Cities

Using this survey it was also possible to look at potential motivators and
deterrents according to the type of cyclist. Interestingly, there were very
few differences in how the cyclist segments ranked these top 10
motivating and deterring items. The six highest ranked deterrents were
almost identical: routes with ice or snow, with a lot of vehicle traffic, with
vehicles traveling faster than 50 km/hr, or with glass or debris; the risk
from motorists who don’t know how to drive safely near cyclists; and the

BC Recreation and Parks Association 9


Spring 2011
risk of injury from car-bike collisions. Potential cyclists ranked rainy
weather as a slightly greater deterrent than current cyclist groups. The
top four positive influences were similar for all cyclist types: routes away
from traffic noise and air pollution, routes with beautiful scenery, bicycle
paths separated from traffic, and flat routes, with the exception of regular
cyclists who were less concerned about whether the route was flat and
more motivated by the speed of cycling compared to other forms of
transport.

Preferred Facility Types


A network of bicycle facilities is crucial to get people cycling. However,
there needs to be careful consideration when designing and implementing
such facilities. Some questions to ask include:
Is it the kind of facility that cyclists are likely to use?
Does it attract new cyclists of all demographics, including those
who are under-represented now (such as women, youth, or older
adults)?

Facility types do vary in their desirability. When selecting and designing


bicycle facilities, it is important to consider the types of cyclists (e.g., the
“Interested but Concerned”, or recreational versus commuter cyclists) and
ensure that the facility type matches the target user group.

The UBC Cycling in Cities survey asked about current use patterns and
preferences for 16 different route types (listed in the table below).
Among these, it was found that separation from motor vehicles was
highly desirable for cycling facilities.

Route designs that most encouraged cycling are shown in the photos
following:

10
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
Source: Gavin Davison

The above three cycling facility types – which are either physically
separated from motor vehicle traffic or located on residential streets with
low motor vehicle speeds and volumes – were preferred by all types of
cyclists, including regular and potential cyclists. Regular cyclists were
willing to cycle on many of the 16 route types, including major streets and
highways with shoulders, although route types with motor vehicle parking
were less favourable. A key finding was that the potential and occasional
cyclists groups, as well as women, and people with children, did not feel
comfortable cycling on major city streets, even when bicycle lanes were
present. In terms of the seven facility options along major streets and
roads offered in the survey, only the fully separated cycle track, as shown
in the photo above on the right, was attractive to these groups.

The survey revealed a large disparity between the types of routes people
want to travel on, and the types of routes that are available and therefore
commonly used (see disconnect in ranking between preferences and
current use columns in the table on the following page). The preferred
route types are ranked quite low in terms of current travel: for example
the most desired facility type (paved off-street bicycle paths for bicycles
only) is ranked only eighth in terms of use. Similarly, the least desirable
route type (major city streets with parked cars) is quite commonly used –
ranked as the fourth most commonly used facility. Building facility types
that are desirable, either through new projects or through road retrofits,
is a clear way to adapt the current road network to one that is more
supportive for cyclists of all demographics, and more attractive to the
next wave of cyclists.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
Overall rank order for preferences and current use of 16 bicycle facility types
Preference Current Use
Facility Type
Rank Rank
How much would
How often do
you use [facility], if
Survey Question you currently
all route types
use [facility]?
were available?"
Paved off-street cycle paths for bikes only 1 8
Paved off-street multiuse paths 2 6
Unpaved off-street multiuse paths 3 5
Cycle path next to Major street, separated by barrier 4 16
Residential streets marked as bike routes, with traffic calming 5 3
Residential streets marked as bike routes 6 2
Residential street 7 1
Major streets with bike lanes, no parked cars 8 11
Rural road with paved shoulder and bike symbols 9 14
Major streets with bike symbols, no parked cars 10 9
Major streets with bike lanes and parked cars 11 12
Rural road with paved shoulder 13 13
Major streets with bike symbols and parked cars 12 10
Rural road with no paved shoulder 14 15
Major streets with no parked cars 15 7
Major streets with parked cars 16 4
Source: UBC, Cycling in Cities

Impact of Facility on Route Choice


While the above evidence is based on cyclists’ opinions, the available
research on actual cycling behaviours corroborates survey findings that
bicycle facilities are important. Real-life travel patterns show that cyclists
will detour out of their way in order to use designated bicycle facilities
and to avoid situations where they are obliged to ride in close proximity to
high motor vehicle volumes and speeds. A study of cyclists in Portland
showed that they spent 50% of their travel along roads with bicycle
facilities, when such routes represented only 8% of the underlying road
network.6 An analysis from Metro Vancouver showed that cyclists deviate
from shortest routes in order to take routes with better bicycle facilities,
including those with traffic calming features, bicycle stencils, and
signage.7

12
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
A pertinent and common question is how dense the cycling network
needs to be to meet cyclists’ needs, that is, what grid spacing is adequate
for cycling facilities. The answer is highly dependent on the local context,
the quality of the routes, and the trip requirements, but some research
has attempted to quantify this. In a Metro Vancouver study, the detour
distance was limited: on average, cyclists travelled less than 10% longer
than the shortest possible route, or 400 metres out of their way (about
two city blocks). This suggests that a bicycle route network with
designated facilities spaced a minimum of every 500 meters should be the
goal for urban areas where there is a desire to increase cycling
participation.

Safety
As shown above, lack of safety – whether real or perceived – is a barrier
to bicycle use. The research on safety considers two types of safety:
substantive safety, which refers to the number of cyclist injuries
and fatalities, and
perceived safety, or measures of the cyclists’ reported levels of
comfort.

Substantive Cyclist Safety


A number of studies have evaluated substantive safety based on data
from collisions involving cyclists. These have compared cyclist injury and
fatality rates between cities, countries, or over time. One key study found
that cyclists in the United States were two to three times as likely to get
killed as cyclists in Germany, Denmark or the Netherlands, on a per-
kilometre and per-trip basis, and that they were eight to 30 times more
likely to get injured.8 Furthermore, cycling is more dangerous than other
transport modes, as estimates from both the US and Europe suggest that
cyclists are seven to 70 times more likely to be injured, per trip or per
kilometre traveled, than car occupants. The paper argues that it is the
lack of cycling facilities that makes cycling unsafe in the United States,
and also that makes it inconvenient, slow, unpleasant, and unfeasible in
most places. Looking at the Canadian situation, the cycling fatality rate is
estimated at 2.39 fatalities per 100 million kilometres cycled, lower than
the US (5.74 fatalities per 100 million km), comparable with France (2.04)

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
and Germany (2.43), but double the rate in the cycling-friendly northern
European countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands. The report
suggests that perhaps the most important reason for the higher levels of
cycling in northern Europe – especially among women, children, and the
elderly – is that cycling is much safer there than in North America.9

Cycling Fatality Rates in Select Countries

These numbers reflect real reason for concerns around safety, especially
in North America. Moreover, given that the research is based only on
reported collisions, and only those involving motor vehicles but not
crashes or collisions with obstacles, pedestrians, or other cyclists, the
numbers are most definitely underestimates of the real risk.

However, the differences in risk between Europe and North America


suggest that cycling can be made safer. Specifically, facility provision and
design can improve cyclist safety. In a recent review that looked at the
evidence of the link between transportation infrastructure and cyclists’
substantive safety,10 there were a number of key findings to guide safe
infrastructure design:

• Purpose-built bicycle-only facilities (i.e., bicycle lanes and paths)


have the lowest risk of crashes and injuries. The risk is lower

14
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
than cycling on-road with motor vehicle traffic, or off-road with
pedestrians, e.g. on sidewalks or multi-use paths.
• Minor roads have lower injury risks than major roads.
• Sidewalks and unpaved off-road trails have the highest risks.
• At intersections, multi-lane roundabouts are more hazardous to
cyclists than other types of intersections, unless separated cycle
tracks are provided.
• Street lighting, paved surfaces, and low-sloped grades are
additional factors that seem to improve cyclist safety.

Perceived Cyclist Safety


Equally, if not more important to consider than objective measures of
cyclist safety is the perceived levels of safety and how these perceptions
influence bicycle use among different user groups. For example, a survey
found that 53% of respondents across Canada (and 59% of British
Columbian respondents) believed that cycling on the streets in their
community was dangerous because of motor vehicle traffic. Women were
significantly more inclined to that opinion than men (59% compared to
47%, respectively). Also, 70% of respondents located within five
kilometres of work said they would cycle more if safe, dedicated bicycle
lanes were available.11 The UBC Cycling in Cities study found that 50% of
survey respondents indicated that they feel that cycling is safe in their
respective municipality. By cyclist type, the responses ranged from 60%
of regular cyclists feeling that cycling is safe, to 41% of potential
cyclists.12

Safety in Numbers
Luckily, the evidence indicates that as levels of cycling increase, injury
and fatality rates per-trip and per-kilometre travelled decrease
substantially. This phenomenon – referred to as “safety in numbers”- has
been documented in studies from California, Australia, and Europe, in
studies that compare trends between cities, and also over time as shown
in the graph below from the City of Portland.13 There are several possible
explanations for the “safety in numbers” phenomenon. For one, in
locations with few cyclists, drivers will be less accustomed to check for
cyclists on the road at common conflict times such as turning, parking, or
overtaking. Another consideration is that where cycling rates are high, it

BC Recreation and Parks Association 15


Spring 2011
is more likely that drivers also use bicycles for transportation at times,
and are better able to predict the movements of cyclists. Additionally,
where there are more cyclists, there is more justification for increased
resources for bicycle facilities and safer design. Regardless, the message
is that if there are increases to participation in cycling, there are returns
in terms of increased safety.

Relationship between Cycling Traffic Levels


and Crash Rates, Portland OR

Source: Modified from Alta Planning and Design, 2008.

5.0 Conclusion
This lesson outlined the “5E’s” of cycling and laid the groundwork for the
focus on Engineering in this course. It presented frameworks that have
been used to describe different types of cyclists, and discussed their
respective motivations, barriers, and facility preferences. By building
facilities that appeal to the “near market” for cycling, or the “Interested
but Concerned”, significant increases in cycling may be realized.
However, lack of safety - both real and perceived - needs to be addressed
and improved to attract these markets. Luckily, there is a positive
feedback loop based on the “safety in numbers” phenomenon; as
ridership increases, safety increases as well.

16
Course Manual
Lesson 1B – Cyclists Needs and Issues
6.0 References and Further Information

1
Pucher and Buehler 2006 and 2008
2
United States Federal Highway Administration
3
John Pucher, Jennifer Dill, and Susan Handy. Infrastructure, Programs and Policies to Increase Cycling: An
International Review. Preventive Medicine, Vol. 50(S1): S106-125, January 2010
4
American Community Survey. Bicycle Commuting Trends, 2000 to 2008.
5
Statistics Canada. Commuting Patterns and Places of Work of Canadians, 2006 Census
6
Jennifer Dill. Bicycling for Transportation and Health: The Role of Infrastructure. Journal of Public Health Policy, 30
(SI): 95-110, 2009
7
Winters, Meghan, Teschke, K., Grant, M., Setton, E., Brauer, M. How Far Out Of The Way Will We Travel? Built
Environment Influences On Route Selection For Bicycle And Car Travel. In press, Transportation Research Record

8 Pucher J, Dijkstra L. Promoting Safe Walking And Cycling To Improve Public Health: Lessons From The Netherlands
and Germany, 2003, American Journal of Public Health.

9 Pucher J, Buehler R. Why Canadians Cycle More Than Americans: A Comparative Analysis Of Bicycling Trends And
Policies. Transportation Policy 2006, 13:265-279
10
Reynolds, C.O., Harris, M. A., Teschke, K., Cripton, P.A, Winters, M. The Impact Of Transportation
Infrastructure On Bicycling Injuries And Crashes: A Review Of The Literature. Environmental Health (2009) 8:47
11
Go For Green/Environics, 1998
12
NRG Research, 2006
13
Robinson DL. Safety in Numbers in Australia: More Walkers and Bicyclists, Safer Walking and Bicycling. Health
Promot J Austr 2005, 16:47-51;
Jacobsen P. Safety in Numbers: More Walkers and Bicyclists, Safer Walking and Bicycling.Inj Prev 2003, 9:205-209.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 17


Spring 2011
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Learning Objective ......................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline.............................................................................................1

3.0 Distinction Between Laws, Standards, and Guidelines ................................1

4.0 Relevant Laws, Policies, and Guidelines in BC .............................................2

4.1 National ................................................................................................. 2

4.2 Provincial ............................................................................................... 5

4.3 Municipal ............................................................................................... 7

5.0 Other Useful Resources ...............................................................................8

6.0 Conclusion................................................................................................. 12

ii Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
1.0 Learning Objective
To be able to work within the relevant laws, policies and guidelines that
apply to bicycle facility design in British Columbia and elsewhere.

2.0 Lesson Outline


There are a variety of resources available across Canada and
internationally that provide bicycle facility design professionals with
direction when designing bicycle facilities. This lesson first distinguishes
between laws, standards and guidelines and then briefly summarizes the
relevant national and provincial documents that design professionals
should be aware of when designing bicycle facilities, as well some of the
municipal tools that can also help support the provision of cycling
infrastructure. However, these guidelines do not address all of the
potential applications of cycling infrastructure, particularly for innovative
and emerging types of facilities. As such, this lesson provides a list of
further resources that can be consulted to find additional information
about the selection and design of specific types of bicycle facilities. This
lesson is not intended to replicate any applicable guidelines, but rather is
intended to provide professionals with the resources to find further
information as required.

3.0 Distinction Between Laws, Standards, and Guidelines


The implementation of bicycle facilities fits into an overall context that
involves both legal and political aspects. In Canada, the laws governing
travel on public roads, including bicycle traffic, fall under provincial
jurisdiction. These laws have a significant impact on road construction
standards, and aim to ensure all road users have adequate space on
public rights-of-way and that traffic moves safely and efficiently.

On the other hand, guidelines are intended to provide guidance on the


design and implementation of bicycle facilities under ideal circumstances.
The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) is the primary agency
that produces cycling guidelines applicable across Canadian jurisdictions,
however these guidelines have no legislative authority. The term

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
“guidelines” should be differentiated from the term “standards”, which
implies a level of exactness that is not always possible to achieve with
bicycle infrastructure and which may not be suitable or achievable in all
circumstances. Although the applicable guidelines should be followed
wherever possible, design professionals should recognize that specific site
conditions may make it difficult to achieve certain guidelines. Final design
of any bicycle facilities should be conducted by a licensed engineer. If the
engineers determine that they may not be able to achieve certain
guidelines due to site-specific circumstances, they should continue using
sound engineering and professional judgment to satisfy any safety,
operational and other considerations in the design of the facility. Design
professionals should document and justify any variations from published
guidelines.

4.0 Relevant Laws, Policies, and Guidelines in BC


There are number of relevant laws, standards and guidelines at the
national and provincial level that are applicable to designing bicycle
facilities in British Columbia. This section describes the relevant
documents and provides a brief summary of some of the tools that can be
used for implementing cycling facilities at the municipal level.

4.1 National
The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) is the primary agency
that produces cycling guidelines that apply across Canada. TAC has
developed a number of documents that are briefly summarized below.
The materials in this course are not intended to replace these guidelines,
which should be referenced directly by design professionals when
undertaking any bicycle facility designs.

Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada


TAC has recently updated its 1998 Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for
Canada with a document that is currently in final draft form. The updated
guidelines incorporate changes to recommended practices made in other
recently completed TAC documents, such as studies regarding the use of
coloured bicycle lanes, bicycle signage, and bicycle pavement markings in
conflict zones. This document provides guidance regarding the use of

2 Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
signage and pavement markings for bicycle facilities, and should be used
in conjunction with other relevant documents described below. The
document also includes examples through figures and descriptions of a
variety of typical applications of bicycle facilities, including:
bicycle pavement marking and signage configurations, including
bicycle lanes with or without on-street motor vehicle parking and
shared use lanes in both side-by-side and single-file operations,
transition applications, including bicycle lanes that begin or end
mid-block,
urban intersection applications, including bicycle lanes adjacent to
through and right-turn lanes, left turn bicycle lanes, bicycle lanes
adjacent to bus bays, bike boxes, left turn bicycle jughandles, and
bicycle lane markings through intersections,
contraflow bicycle lane applications,
merge / diverge lane and ramp applications,
roundabout applications, including single-lane and multi-lane
roundabouts,
multi-use trail crossings, including crossings at signalized
intersections, unsignalized intersections, and mid-block crossings,
railway crossings,
markings at traffic calming devices, and
conflict zones.

Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads (1999)


Chapter 3.4 of the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads provides
guidelines for bicycle facilities. The purpose of this guide is provide
designers with a set of guidelines and examples of common practice for
the geometric design of bicycle facilities that will be useful in producing
sound designs that are sensitive to the needs of both cyclists and other
users. The guide includes:
accommodation of cyclists, such as the operating space required
for bicycles, surface requirements, speed maintenance, and
connectivity,
bikeway functional classification for shared roadways, marked
wide curb lanes, paved shoulders, bicycle lanes, and off-street
pathways,
design considerations for on-street and off-street pathways,

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
alignment elements primarily related to off-street pathways, such
as design speeds, stopping sight distances, and horizontal and
vertical alignments,
cross-section elements, including lane widths, horizontal and
vertical clearances, and cross-slopes,
intersection treatments, including mid-block pathway crossings,
street intersections with bicycle paths, intersections with bicycle
lanes, bikeway ramps, interchanges, and railway and streetcar
crossings,
further details on specific features such as drainage gates, bicycle
lanes delineators, and traffic control devices, and
lighting.

Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada


The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCD-C)
provides optimum standards for the design of traffic control devices, and
guidelines for their implementation. Compared with the 2009 MUTCD in
the United States, which includes a separate section for bicycle traffic
controls, the Canadian counterpart has rather limited provisions for
cycling facilities. Part A (Signs) includes the following relevant signs for
cyclists:
regulatory signs (Cycling Prohibited Sign “RB-67”, and Reserved
Lane Signs “RB-80” and “RB-81”),
warning signs (Hill Sign for Bicycles “WA-31”, Slippery When Wet
for Bicycles Sign “WC-45”, and Bicycle Crossing Ahead Sign “WC-
7”), and
information signs (Bicycle Route Marker sign “IB-23”).

Part B (Traffic Control Signals), Part C (Pavement Markings), and Part D


(Temporary Conditions) contain few provisions for cyclists. More detailed
guidelines for the application of signage and pavement markings for
bikeways and pathways in Canada are covered under the TAC Bikeway
Traffic Control Guidelines.

Canadian Guide to Traffic Calming (1998)


This guide was developed to be used by a wide audience, including
transportation professionals, elected officials, and members of the

4 Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
community to provide guidelines selecting and designing variety of traffic
calming measures, including vertical deflections (such as raised
crosswalks, raised intersections, rumble strips, sidewalk extensions, speed
humps, and textured crosswalks), horizontal deflections (including
chicanes, curb extensions, raised median islands, and traffic circles), and
obstructions (including directional closures, diverters, raised medians
through intersections, and right-in/right-out islands). This document is
particularly relevant for the design of neighbourhood bikeways which
often include many of these traffic calming measures.

4.2 Provincial

Motor Vehicle Act


Under the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act, bicycles are treated as vehicles.
Cyclists are therefore required to comply with the general road traffic and
safety rules governing all road users. Most notably, cyclists must respect:
traffic lights, stop signs, and road signage in general,
right-of-way rules at intersections, which stipulate that a vehicle
turning right must yield to pedestrians crossing the roadway, and
that a vehicle turning left must yield to all oncoming traffic and to
pedestrians, and
the ban on consuming alcohol while cycling.

In addition to respecting the right-of-way rules listed above, motorists are


also required to follow specific rules of conduct when cyclists are present.
Most notably, they are forbidden to pass a bicycle within the same traffic
lane unless there is sufficient space to do so safely. Traffic laws do not
specify what constitutes “sufficient space”. This is left to motorists to
judge, depending on the situation, which can cause problems for cyclists.

The Motor Vehicle Act also includes a number of provisions aimed


specifically at cyclists:
Cyclists must ride as near as practicable to the right side of the
highway, which leaves some discretion as to what practicable
means. They are also forbidden to ride between two lanes of
traffic. Cyclists are not allowed to ride in reserved bus lanes
unless specifically indicated.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Cyclists who intend to make a left turn at an intersection must
approach the intersection in the lane closest to the right side of
the roadway from which a left turn is permitted. While in this
lane, the cyclist must keep to the left side of this lane. If there is
only one turn lane, the cyclist must keep the right of the turn
lane. If the lane is a shared left and through lane, the cyclist must
stay to the left side of this lane.
A person operating a bicycle must not use the bicycle to carry
more persons at one time than the number for which it is
designed and equipped.
A cyclist must not ride a bicycle when it is attached by the arm
and hand of the rider to another vehicle travelling on the
roadway.
Cyclists must ride in single-file, in the same direction as traffic,
and cannot use the sidewalk unless a municipal bylaw allows the
use of a sidewalk or unless cyclists are directed to use the
sidewalk by a sign.
Bicycles are generally not allowed on controlled access highways.
A list of highways where cyclists are prohibited can be found at:
www.th.gov.bc.ca/BikeBC/restrictions.html.
Cyclists must always remain astride of their bicycles, seated in the
saddle, and must keep hold of the handlebars at all times. They
must signal their intentions to others on the road using the hand
signals prescribed under traffic laws.
Cyclists must properly wear an approved bicycle safety helmet at
all times while riding a bicycle.
Bicycles must have certain equipment, such as brakes, reflectors,
headlights, taillights.

BC Supplement to TAC Geometric Design Guide (2007 Edition)


The Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure publishes a supplement to
the TAC Geometric Design Guide which outlines the additional
recommended practices for the design of cycling infrastructure on Ministry
of Transportation & Infrastructure projects. The supplement includes a
number of considerations for cycling including design widths for shoulder
bikeways, accommodating cyclists on low volume roads, fencing for

6 Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
pedestrians and cyclists, railway crossings, and bicycle safe drainage
grates.

Manual of Standard Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings (2000)


This manual provides standards for the design and use of traffic signs on
Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure roadways and is in general
conformance with the MUTCD-C described above. The manual includes a
number of recommended signs for cycling infrastructure, including
regulatory signs that prohibit cyclists from using the roadway and require
cyclists to stop and dismount for their own safety or that of pedestrians;
warning signs that alert motorist of a bicycle route that crosses a
roadway, inform motorists and cyclists of a shared roadway where
motorists and cyclists may both be present, or to warn cyclists of a
potentially hazardous road condition; and guide signs to be used in
conjunction with recognized bicycle routes. It should be noted that the
sign numbers in this guide have been updated in the Ministry’s Catalogue.
Also, there are many cycling related signs that are not covered in this
manual.

Catalogue of Standard Traffic Signs (2010)


The Catalogue of Standard Traffic Signs is provided for reference to
provincial standard traffic signs utilized along the provincial highway
system of British Columbia as authorized by the Ministry of Transportation
and Infrastructure. This document includes a section specifically related to
bicycle signs, and outlines recommended applications and dimensions for
a number of regulatory, warning, guide, and detour signs. There are also
cycling related signs in other sections of the catalogue, such as the “yield
to cyclists on red” sign which is found in the regulatory section.

4.3 Municipal
There are a wide variety of tools that municipalities can use to support
cycling infrastructure in their communities. This can include establishing
goals, objectives and policies related to cycling in citywide documents
such as Corporate Plans and Official Community Plans, as well as
regulatory tools such as zoning bylaws and parking bylaws which often
include requirements for bicycle parking and other end-of-trip facilities.
In addition, bicycle facilities can be incorporated into road design

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
standards in municipal Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaws.
Finally, many communities also have Bicycle Bylaws which have specific
regulations regarding bicycle use.

5.0 Other Useful Resources


The applicable resources described above may not address the planning
and design challenges faced with each type of bicycle facility. However,
there are a number or other resources that have been developed recently
in Canada, the United States, and internationally outlining best practices
and guidelines for bicycle facilities. A brief summary of some other useful
bicycle planning and design resources is provided below:

VéloQuébec–Technical Handbook of Bikeway Design (2nd Edition)


VéloQuébec is a Quebec-based non-profit corporation that works to
promote cycling for transportation, leisure and tourism purposes. The
organization has developed this comprehensive technical handbook which
provides essential information to successfully plan and create effective
and efficient bicycle facilities. The handbook is intended primarily for
engineers, planners and others and has been used extensively by
municipalities throughout Canada to provide guidance for the design of
bicycle infrastructure. The Technical Handbook of Bikeway Design is
available for purchase at:
http://www.velo.qc.ca/english/index.php?page=publications.

Canadian Institute of Planners – Community Cycling Manual (2004)


This document provides a comprehensive overview of bicycle planning
and design concepts, including an overview of the “5E’s” and the different
types of cyclists described in the previous lesson. The manual also
includes design guidelines for different types of bicycle facilities, including
shared bicycle routes, bicycle lanes, bicycle paths, and traffic calmed
streets. The manual also includes design guidelines for bicycle parking
and other end-of-trip facilities, bicycle traffic control devices such as
signage, pavement markings and bicycle signals, multi-modal integration,
and maintenance. The manual can be downloaded at:
http://www.physicalactivitystrategy.ca/index.php/beat/links/.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers – Promoting Sustainable
Transportation Through Site Design: An ITE Proposed Recommended
Practice (2004)
This report recommends site design practices that can be applied through
the land development process to promote the use of more sustainable
modes of transportation, such as walking, cycling and transit. The main
purpose of the report is to identify and incorporate features that make
sites more accessible to travel modes other than the single-occupant
vehicle. The report includes a number of specific recommendations for
bicycle facilities, including bicycle route location and design; bicycle
parking and other end-of-trip facilities; minimizing conflicts between
motor vehicles and cyclists in motor vehicle parking and loading areas;
and supporting policies and actions to promote cycling. This document
can be downloaded at:
http://www.cite7.org/resources/documents/ITERP-
PromotingSustainableTransportationThroughSiteDesign.pdf.

AASHTO – Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities (1999).


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
(AASHTO) has prepared a comprehensive and widely-used guide to
provide information on the development of facilities to enhance and
encourage safe bicycle travel. The guide provides information to help
accommodate bicycle traffic in most riding environments, including
planning considerations, design and construction guidelines, and
operation and maintenance recommendations. Instead of providing strict
standards, the document provides sound guidelines that will be valuable
in attaining good design sensitive to the needs of both bicyclists and other
road users. The guide includes an overview of bicycle planning,
guidelines for shared roadways, signed shared roadways, bicycle lanes,
shared use paths, and other design considerations, such as railroad
crossings, bicycles on freeways, bicycle facilities through interchange
areas and roundabouts, and support facilities. The guide is available for
purchase at:
https://bookstore.transportation.org/item_details.aspx?ID=104.

NACTO – Urban Bikeway Design Guide (in process)


The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) was
formed in the mid 1990’s to improve communication between American
BC Recreation and Parks Association 9
Spring 2011
cities regarding urban transportation issues. Cities for Cycling is an on-
going NACTO project to catalogue, promote and implement the world’s
best bicycle transportation practices in American municipalities. NACTO’s
Cities for Cycling project was developed out of the need for improved
information sharing concerning the design of bicycle facilities in the
United States. Many cities currently experiment with innovative bicycle
infrastructure designs from Europe, as well as pioneer some of their own,
however no comprehensive design guidelines exist on these more recent
innovations.

The NACTO Cities for Cycling Project has developed a comprehensive,


Urban Bikeway Design Guide, which seeks to fill this gap by informing and
promoting bicycle facility best practices in the United States and
demonstrating how to develop world-class cycling facilities. The guide
includes both a print version and a dynamic, regularly-updated web-based
version that includes a platform for discussion and information exchange,
and a printed summary that will be updated regularly. The guide serves
cities that are interested in improving the safety, convenience, and
comfort of their cycling network. The guide covers a range of bikeway
treatments, including bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, intersection treatments,
signals, and signs and markings. More information on NACTO’s Cities for
Cycling project can be found at:
http://nacto.org/cities-for-cycling/design-guide/

City of Portland – Bikeway Design Best Practices (2009)


The City of Portland’s recently adopted Bicycle Plan for 2030 includes an
appendix summarizing Best Practices in Bikeway Design. The Best
Practices are based on the experience of world leaders in bicycle
transportation to consider innovative and emerging treatments. The
purpose of the report is to create a guide for traffic engineers, designers,
and planners detailing tried-and-tested bicycle facility designs along with
essential considerations for implementation. The report includes
recommendations for:
bicycle lanes including conventional bicycle lanes, bicycle passing
lanes, buffered bicycle lanes, contraflow bicycle lanes, floating
bicycle lanes, coloured bicycle lanes, advisory bicycle lanes, and
cycle tracks,

10 Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
traffic speed and volume reduction measures, such as bicycle
streets, pinchpoints, chicanes, lower residential speed limits,
narrower width roadways, speed humps, woonerfs, and traffic
restrictive measures,
off-street pathways, including car-free zones, transitions, and
bicycle underpasses,
signalization, including the green wave for bicycles and traffic
signals for bicycles,
intersection treatments, such as forward stop bars, bike boxes,
combined bicycle lanes and right-turn lanes, bicycle left turn
lanes, traffic circles, median refuges, pass-through curb
extensions, and bicycle roundabouts,
signage and pavement markings,
transit integration, and
bicycle lifts.

The best practices guide can be accessed at:


http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?a=265909&c=4
4597.

Portland State University Initiative for Bicycle & Pedestrian Innovation /


Alta Planning + Design – Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning &
Design (2009)
This report serves as a planning and conceptual design guide for
planners, engineers, citizens, advocates, and decision-makers who are
considering bicycle boulevards (referred to in this course as
neighbourhood bikeways). The guide includes information on bicycle
boulevard planning, including considerations for route selection, public
involvement, and funding, as well as information on design elements
commonly used on bicycle boulevards including signage, pavement
markings, intersection treatments, traffic calming measures, and traffic
reduction measures. The report also includes marketing, maintenance and
safety considerations for bicycle boulevards as well as individual case
studies from across the United States. The guidebook can be downloaded
at: http://www.ibpi.usp.pdx.edu/guidebook.php.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
Transport for London – Cycling Design Standards (2005)
This report provides a comprehensive set of design standards for various
types of bicycle facilities, including shared roadways, bicycle lanes, and
cycle tracks. It also includes recommendations for signage and pavement
markings, construction specifications, and bicycle parking. The document
can be accessed at:
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/businessandpartners/publications/2766.aspx.

Copenhagen Road Directorate – Collection of Cycle Concepts (2000)


This report is intended for traffic planners as well as anyone interested in
cycling. The report provides a comprehensive overview of bicycle planning
and design, including communications and campaigns, links between land
use and transportation planning, planning and design of bicycle facilities,
signage and mapping, bicycle parking and road maintenance. The
document can be accessed at:
http://www.vejdirektoratet.dk/dokument.asp?page=document&objno=17
291.

6.0 Conclusion
There is a wide variety of documents that bicycle facilities design
professionals have at their disposal when designing bicycle facilities.
These include national and provincial documents that outline guidelines
for a number of different applications of bicycle facilities, as well as other
reference documents from elsewhere in Canada and internationally that
can be consulted to address any issues not covered through the
applicable national and provincial documents. Although the applicable
guidelines identified above should be followed wherever possible, bicycle
facilities designers should recognize that specific site conditions may make
it difficult to achieve certain guidelines. If the engineers determine that
they may not be able to achieve certain guidelines due to site-specific
circumstances, they should continue using sound engineering and
professional judgment to satisfy any safety, operational and other
considerations in the design of the facility. However, design
professionals will need to document any situations where they have not
adhered to relevant guidelines, to justify the reasons for not following
guidelines and to monitor the safety of any such facility to make changes
as needed.

12 Course Manual
Lesson 1C – Relevant Laws, Policies and Guidelines
Title Page 2A
Bicycle Facility Types

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


June 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Learning Objective ............................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline ..................................................................................................1

3.0 Guiding Principles .............................................................................................1

4.0 Facility Classification ........................................................................................ 2

5.0 Facility Selection...............................................................................................4

6.0 Conclusion ........................................................................................................8

ii Course Manual
Lesson 2A – Bicycle Facility Types
1.0 Learning Objective
To name and identify the various types of on-street and off-street bicycle
facilities and recognize their differences and appropriate uses.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by outlining some key guiding principles that can be
used to help identify and select appropriate types of bicycle facilities.
Recognizing that there are a wide variety of types of bicycle facilities, and
that no standard classification system exists to identify and define the
different types of bicycle facilities, the lesson then classifies bicycle
facilities into seven different facility types to be used for the purpose of
the course. The lesson concludes by discussing some considerations for
selecting the appropriate type of bicycle facility for a given corridor, such
as motor vehicle speeds and volumes, user preferences, and specific
corridor conditions.

3.0 Guiding Principles


There are many different types of cycling facilities throughout B.C. and
elsewhere, including shared bicycle routes, bicycle lanes, marked wide
curb lanes, neighbourhood bikeways, paved shoulders, cycle tracks, and
off-street pathways. Guiding principles for selecting bicycle facilities
include:
All roads in B.C. are legal for the use of bicyclists, except those
roads designated as limited access facilities which prohibit
bicyclists (identified on the Ministry of Transportation &
Infrastructure website at: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/BikeBC/
restrictions.html). This means that most streets are bicycle
facilities, and will be designed and maintained accordingly.
Bicyclists have a range of skill levels, from inexperienced or
recreational bicyclists (especially children and seniors) to
experienced cyclists (adults who are capable of sharing the road
with motor vehicles). These groups are not always exclusive –
some elite level athletes still like to ride on shared-use paths with

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
their families, and some recreational bicyclists will sometimes use
their bicycles for utilitarian travel.
At a minimum, facilities will be designed for the use of
experienced cyclists, with a goal of providing for “interested but
concerned” cyclists to the greatest extent possible. In areas
where specific needs have been identified (for example, near
schools) the needs of appropriate types of bicyclists will be
accommodated.
Designated bicycle facilities should provide clear and safe routes
to key destinations, particularly employment and shopping
centers, schools, parks, transit centers, and other locations.
Design guidelines are intended to be flexible and can be applied
with professional judgment by designers. Specific national and
state guidelines are identified in the Relevant Laws, Policies and
Guidelines lesson, as well as design treatments that may exceed
these guidelines.

4.0 Facility Classification


There are a range of different types of bicycle facilities that can be
applied in various contexts, and there is a wide variety of different terms
used to refer to bicycle facilities in different communities throughout B.C.
For the purposes of this course, a standardized nomenclature has been
developed, with seven types of bicycle facilities as described below.

Off-street pathways are physically separated from motor


vehicles and provide sufficient width and supporting facilities to
be used by cyclists, pedestrians, and other non-motorized users.
They can be reserved exclusively for the use of cyclists or can
accommodate multiple users. Design considerations for off-
street pathways are provided in Lesson 3A.
Cycle tracks are physically separated from motor vehicle travel
lanes but are located within the road right-of-way. Cycle tracks
are a hybrid type bicycle facility combining the experience of an
off-street path with the on-street infrastructure of a
conventional bicycle lane. Design considerations for cycle tracks
are provided in Lesson 4A.

2 Course Manual
Lesson 2A – Bicycle Facility Types
Bicycle lanes are separate lanes that are designated exclusively
for bicycle travel and also include pavement markings. Bicycle
lanes are most appropriate on streets where higher traffic
volumes and speeds indicate a need for greater separation.
Design considerations for bicycle lanes are provided in Lesson
4B.
Neighbourhood bikeways are routes on streets with low vehicle
speeds and volumes, which include a range of treatments
ranging from relatively basic facilities consisting of signage and
pavement markings to bikeways with varying degrees of traffic
calming implemented to improve safety for cyclists and other
road users. Design considerations for neighbourhood bikeways
are provided in Lesson 4C.
Marked wide curb lanes provide direct routes for experienced
cyclists along the outer lane of a roadway. Design
considerations for marked wide curb lanes are provided in
Lesson 4D.
Shoulder bikeways are typically found in on streets without curb
and gutter with shoulders wide enough for bicycle travel.
Shoulder bikeways often, but not always, include signage
alerting motorists to expect bicycle travel along the roadway.
Design considerations for shoulder bikeways are provided in
Lesson 4E.
Shared routes (with no bikeway designation) are unmarked
bicycle routes that provide key connections between a
designated bicycle facility and a destination. While it is not
appropriate to designate a bicycle route on every street, it is
important to remember that all streets in British Columbia can
be used by bicyclists, with the exception of some limited access
highways. As such, B.C.’s entire street network is effectively the
community’s bicycle network, regardless of whether or not a
bikeway stripe, stencil, or sign is present on a given street. As
these shared routes do not have any formal, bicycle-specific
infrastructure, they are not addressed in this course.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
5.0 Facility Selection
There are no ‘hard and fast’ rules for determining the most appropriate
type of facility for a particular location; engineering judgement and
planning skills are critical elements of this decision. There are a wide
variety of considerations for selecting the type of facility for a given
context, as summarized below:
Motor Vehicle Speed and Volume As noted in the Cyclist Needs
and Issues lesson, the biggest factor influencing bicycle use is
motor vehicle speed and volume. Different types of bicycle
facilities are appropriate on different roadway settings. For
example, as show in the figure below, on roads with low motor
vehicle speeds and volumes, facilities such as neighbourhood
bikeways are most appropriate. In congested environments
where traffic volumes may be higher but speeds remain
relatively low, bicycle lanes may be desirable with minimal need
for separation. As motor vehicle speeds and volumes increase,
there is an increasing need for physical separation from motor
vehicle traffic to attract the “interested but concerned” segment
of the population.

Facility Selection Based on Motor Vehicle Speeds and Volumes

Source: Victoria, Australia Department of Transportation

4 Course Manual
Lesson 2A – Bicycle Facility Types
Roadway Width In most cases, the available width will influence
the type of bicycle facility that can be considered. The most cost
effective facilities should be implementable within the available
curb-to-curb width and not require any road widening. As will be
discussed in the Implementation, Maintenance and Funding
lesson, there are a variety of strategies that can be used to
retrofit existing roads to accommodate bicycle facilities.

Users As described in the previous lessons, consideration should


be given to the skills, needs, and preferences of the types of
bicyclists who are anticipated to use the facility. Facilities near
schools, parks and residential neighbourhoods are likely to
attract a higher percentage of novice and youth cyclists.
Facilities that provide a greater degree of separation from high
motor vehicle speeds and volumes – such as off-street
pathways, cycle tracks, and neighbourhood bikeways – are
more appealing to this group.

On-Street Motor Vehicle Parking The turnover and density of on-


street parking can affect bicyclist safety, either in the case of
the potential for car doors opening or the potential for motor
vehicles entering or leaving parking spaces.

Truck and Bus Traffic Because of their width, trucks, buses, and
other large vehicles can cause unique problems for cyclists.
Where bus stops are located along a bicycle route, conflicts with
bus loading and unloading and pavement deterioration may also
be problems.

Conflict Points A high percentage of collisions involving bicycles


occur at intersections. Facilities should be selected so as to
minimize the number of crossings, or intersections should be
improved to reduce crossing conflicts. Some facility types are
less suitable in conditions where there are a high number of
crossing points, such as cycle tracks and off-street pathways.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Aesthetics The scenery along a corridor can be an important
consideration in selecting facility types, particularly for a facility
that will serve a primarily recreational purpose. Trees can also
provide cooler riding conditions and can provide a windbreak.

Costs / funding Facility selection will normally involve a cost


analysis of alternatives. Funding availability can limit the
alternatives considered. However, it is very important that a lack
of funds not result in a poorly designed or constructed facility.
The decision to implement a bicycle facility should be made with
a conscious, long-term commitment to a proper level of
maintenance. When funding is limited, emphasis can be given to
low-cost improvements such as bicycle route signage and
pavement markings, removal of barriers and obstructions to
bicycle travel, and low cost measures to reduce motor vehicle
speeds and volumes such as temporary directional barriers.
Facility selection should seek to maximize user benefits per
dollar funded.

Maintenance Designs which facilitate and simplify maintenance


will improve the safety and use of a facility. This is particularly
important for many rural and highway-oriented communities
throughout the province who may have bicycle facilities that
span multiple jurisdictions, such as the B.C. Ministry of
Transportation & Infrastructure. The maintenance requirements
and responsibilities for the type of bicycle facility should be
considered at the outset.

Land Use / Urban Context This describes which geographic


context which is most suitable for each type of facility. British
Columbia is comprised of a variety of contexts, from urban to
rural landscapes, and many variations in between. Bicycle
facilities differ between contexts; a shoulder bikeway and
roadway shoulder may safely and comfortably accommodate the
majority of bicyclists and pedestrians in a rural area, while
bicycle lanes on a major street in a high-density area may be
only appropriate for experienced bicyclists. A typology to help

6 Course Manual
Lesson 2A – Bicycle Facility Types
identify the suitability of different types of facilities based on
their context as well as user comfort as follows:
High Density settings, which are urban areas
characterized by relatively high levels of residential and
employment density, high levels of land use mix, and a
well-connected road network, but where there may be
limited road right-of-way available;
Medium Density settings, which are more suburban in
nature and are characterized moderate levels of
residential and/or employment density, low levels of land
use mix, and a less-connected road network; and
Low Density settings, which are areas with low levels of
residential and employment density, little land use mix,
and include a road network that is characterized by rural
collector and arterial roads.

Bicycle Facility Typology


Context
Class
High-Density Medium-Density Low-Density
Class 1 Cycle Track (parking Neighbourhood Bikeway Off-Street Multi-Use Path,
Comfortable for placement, channelized, or (with traffic calming and/or Paved (3m)
all users grade separated) Traffic diversion) Paved Shoulder (2m+)
Off-Street Exclusive Bicycle Off-Street Exclusive Bicycle
Path (4m) with Separate Path (4m) with Separate
Pedestrian Path (3m), Paved Pedestrian Path (3m), Paved
Neighbourhood Bikeway Off-Street Multi-Use Path,
(with traffic calming and Paved (3-4m)
diversion)
Class 2 Cycle Track (bollards or Bicycle lane (1.8m+) Off-Street Multi-Use Path,
Comfortable for delineators) Neighbourhood Bikeway Gravel or Paved (3m)
many users Off-Street Multi-Use Path, (with intersection Paved Shoulder (2m)
Paved (3-4m) treatments)
Bicycle Lane (1.8m+)
Neighbourhood Bikeway
(with traffic calming and/or
Traffic diversion)
Class 3 Bicycle Lane (1.5m) Bicycle Lane (1.5m) Paved Shoulder (1.5m)
Comfortable for Marked Wide Curb Lane Neighbourhood Bikeway
confident users (with signage and pavement
Neighbourhood Bikeway
(with intersection markings)
treatments)

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
6.0 Conclusion
There are a wide variety of types of bicycle facilities that can be
considered under different circumstances. However, there is no standard,
accepted terminology to describe the different types of bicycle facilities,
as municipalities throughout the province use a range of different terms
to classify their bicycle facilities. For the purpose of this course, a
standard terminology has been developed to identify and define bicycle
facilities. However, there is a range of different factors that bicycle
facilities planners and designers must consider when selecting the most
appropriate type of bicycle facility for a given corridor, such as motor
vehicle traffic speeds and volumes, available road width. There is no
“right answer” when selecting the type of bicycle facility for a given
corridor. Instead each of these factors needs to be considered based on
the unique conditions in each corridor to select the preferred type of
bicycle facility.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 2A – Bicycle Facility Types
Title Page
ISSUES AND CONSTRAINTS

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Learning Objective ......................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline.............................................................................................1

3.0 Issues and Constraints.................................................................................1

4.0 Conclusion...................................................................................................5

ii Course Manual
Lesson 2B – Issues and Constraints
1.0 Learning Objective
To identify the issues and constraints associated with bicycle facilities and
evaluate roadway conditions to determine the suitability of implementing
bicycle facilities.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson addresses some of the most common issues and constraints
to implementing bicycle facilities and proposes design solutions for
reducing their impacts. Although this lesson identifies some of the most
common issues and constraints, this is not intended to be a
comprehensive list, as there are other site-specific issues and constraints
with any given corridor that may not be identified below.

3.0 Issues and Constraints


An important consideration when initially selecting a bicycle facility for a
given corridor is identifying potential issues and constraints influencing
the type of facility that can be implemented, as well as the potential of
reducing safety for bicyclists or other travelers on the corridor. These
issues and constraints affect decisions around which corridor is most
suitable, what type of facility can be developed along the corridor, and
locations that are in need of additional consideration and design. Bicycle
design professionals should always conduct a site visit and review
available mapping and other data and documentation to identify the
issues and constraints as early as possible in the planning process.

Motor vehicle speeds and volumes


As noted previously, corridors with high motor vehicle traffic volumes and
speeds are significant deterrents for most cyclists. At the outset of a
planning process, bicycle facilities designers and engineers should review
available traffic data to get an understanding of the traffic volumes,
operating speeds, and amount of heavy vehicles using a corridor. A site
visit is also useful to observe the existing traffic conditions along a given
corridor.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
Right-of-Way Constraints
A common difficulty for providing adequate bicycle infrastructure is Marked wide curb lanes can be used
insufficient road right-of-way. If sufficient road right-of-way is not where right-of-way is insufficient to
available on a given corridor, options include either considering alternate provide bicycle lanes
corridors that could serve the same purpose, considering reduced width
facilities, or considering different types of bicycle facilities, as discussed
further in the Implementation, Maintenance and Funding lesson.

Property Impacts
In some situations, a given corridor may be interrupted by private
property, or additional right-of-way may need to be acquired to
accommodate a facility within a given corridor. Bicycle planners and
designers should review cadastral data early in the planning process to
identify any potential property impacts.

Impacts on Road Operations


Implementation of bicycle facilities should be considered within the
context of the broader transportation system, and must consider road
design and operational criteria in addition to bicycle facility design crtieria.
As such, the selection and design of any bicycle facility should consider
any roadway safety or operational impacts. Impacts on road operations
require case by case assessments early in the process.

Jurisdiction
In some cases, bicycle facilities may be considered on facilities under the
jurisdiction of other agencies. For example, a facility may require the use
or crossing of a highway under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of
Transportation & Infrastructure and would need consultation and
approvals from that agency. Similarly, if the proposed facility is on a
transit route, TransLink and/or BC Transit should also be consulted early
in the process. Facilities may also require crossing through properties
under the jurisdiction of other agencies, such as schools or hospitals.
Jurisdictional issues should be identified at the outset of the process and
bicycle facilities designers should work closely with other relevant
agencies to develop mutually acceptable solutions.

2 Course Manual
Lesson 2B – Issues and Constraints
Parking Conflicts
In some locations where right-of-way is constrained, bicycle lanes could
replace one or more on-street parking lanes where excess parking exists
and/or the importance of bicycle lanes outweighs parking needs. For
instance, parking may be needed on only one side of a street to
accommodate residences and/or businesses. Eliminating or reducing on-
street parking also improves sight distance for cyclists in bicycle lanes and
for motorists on approaching side streets and driveways. Prior to
reallocating on-street motor vehicle parking for other uses, a city should
Utility relocation and ditch infill can conduct a parking study to gauge demand.
significantly increase the cost of
providing a facility if widening is
Where space exists to develop a bicycle lane but motor vehicle parking
required
has a high turnover, conflicts can arise between bicyclists in the bicycle
lane and drivers parking. Many drivers crossing a bicycle lane may not be
aware to watch for bicyclists, or they may misjudge the speed of the
bicyclist. Vehicles pulling out of a parking spot or opening car doors can
be dangerous for bicyclists.

Utilities and Ditches


On roadways where accommodating bicycles would require widening the
road, some obstacles may deter bicycle facility development. For
example, the location of a telephone pole or other utility can significantly
increase the cost of pavement widening. Similarly, a ditch running
alongside a roadway would require filling prior to developing the paved
The Springwater Corridor in Portland, OR shoulder, which can involve significant costs and potentially have
is frequently crowded, causing conflicts environmental impacts.
between users
Impacts on Other Users
Bicycle lanes provide separated space for bicyclists, so interactions
between cyclists and drivers take place primarily at intersections. Where
bicycle facilities are located along shared roads or lanes, watching for
bicyclists may cause drivers to slow down. Conflicts between bicyclists
and pedestrians may also arise, particularly at intersections or along trail
facilities. Parks and transit centers can be particularly challenging areas
for bicyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrians may feel endangered by faster-
moving cyclists who share the facility.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
Significant Truck Traffic
Industrial areas or other locations that experience significant truck traffic
can be difficult or dangerous areas for cyclists, as they may not be as
visible to drivers. Cyclists also have a hard time seeing turn signals on
long trucks, and may not be aware that the driver is planning to make a
turn if the cyclist is riding alongside the truck in the “blind spot.”

Intersection Challenges
Automobile turning movements often create conflicts with cyclists in
bicycle lanes. Two of the most common bicycle-related crash types
include right- and left- hooks, which occur as a driver turns in front of a
bicyclist, or a bicycle fails to yield to turning traffic.

Due to limited pavement or right-of-way width, bicycle lanes often “drop”


at intersections to make room for dedicated right-turn lanes. The practice
typically results from a demonstrated or perceived need for vehicle
turning and storage capacity. Right-turning drivers merge across the
bicycle lane, and may not be aware of the presence of bicyclists.

Trail and cycle track crossings at intersections can be particularly


dangerous as drivers may not be aware to watch for cyclists crossing in a
crosswalk.

Highway Ramps At highway on-ramps, significant


Arterial streets may include free-flowing interchanges with high-speed automobile traffic turns across the
merge lanes at highway entrance and exit ramps. These conditions bicycle lane
create a challenging bicycle environment because:
Merging (especially exiting) motorists do not expect to see
cyclists.
Motorists cross the bicyclist’s travel path at high speeds as they
transition to/from ramps
The angle and position of the merging ramp creates visibility
challenges, forcing bicyclists to monitor overtaking traffic by
looking over their left and right shoulders
Exiting vehicles may not signal their intent to cross the bicyclist’s
travel path

4 Course Manual
Lesson 2B – Issues and Constraints
The design of merge/diverge points typically includes long
Drainage grates parallel to direction
vehicle/bicyclist conflict zones
of travel can be hazardous to cyclists

Drainage Grate Retrofits


Older drainage grates can cause slippery conditions for bicyclists or catch
a bicycle wheel if they have metal grates that are parallel to the direction
of travel. Newer grate styles have grates that are perpendicular to the
travel lane or in a grid or mesh pattern, which are much safer for
bicyclists.

4.0 Conclusion
There are a number of key issues that should be considered when
developing a bikeway corridor or route. Physical constraints such as
ditches, utility corridors, or other factors can impede the construction of a
bicycle facility. Other factors, including high levels of parking, truck traffic,
or significant turning traffic, can pose dangerous circumstances for
cyclists. The issues identified in this lesson require additional design
consideration and treatments to ensure safety for all users of the
roadway.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Learning Objective ......................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline.............................................................................................1

3.0 Description .................................................................................................. 1

4.0 Applicable Contexts ....................................................................................3

5.0 Benefits and Challenges ..............................................................................7

6.0 Applicable Guidelines..................................................................................8

7.0 Facilities .................................................................................................... 10

8.0 Other Design Considerations ..................................................................... 21

9.0 Conclusions ............................................................................................... 32

ii Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
1.0 Learning Objective
Apply best practices to designing off-street pathways (including corridor
treatments and intersection treatments) while recognizing the constraints
and challenges that can arise.

2.0 Lesson Outline


Hudson River Greenway, This lesson begins by providing a general description of off-street
New York NY pathways, summarizing relevant guidelines, and by discussing some of
the key benefits and challenges of pathways. The lesson then discusses
design considerations for exclusive bicycle pathways and multi-use
pathways, such as the different types of users, width, surface, striping,
and access restrictions. The lesson then discusses four approaches to
providing intersection treatments, including mid-block crossings,
unsignalized crossings, signalized crossings, and overpasses and under-
passes. Finally, the lesson concludes by discussing a variety of other
design considerations that can be considered to enhance the overall user
experience along the pathway, such as ensuring user safety by following
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and
by providing lighting, unique art and design, signage and wayfinding, and
other amenities such as rest areas, benches, litter receptacles, bicycle
parking, drinking fountains, and restrooms to create an attractive and
enjoyable user experience.

3.0 Description
Off-street pathways are physically separated from motor vehicles by an
open space or barrier and, depending on the application, can be used
either exclusively by cyclists or can be used by a number of users
including cyclists, pedestrians, joggers, in-line skaters, people walking
dogs, people with mobility aids, and a variety of other users.

Several studies have shown that motor vehicle traffic is one of the most
significant factors influencing bicycle use. Because off-street pathways are
physically separated from the roadway, they are perceived as low-stress,
safe, and attractive routes for cyclists who prefer to avoid motor vehicle

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
traffic. They can be great places for novice and child bicyclists to try out
their bicycling skills prior to taking trips on urban streets. In fact, the UBC
Cycling in Cities study indicated that off-street pathways were preferred
over on-street facilities by all types of cyclists. The most frequently cited
reasons that survey respondents provided as to why they preferred off-
street pathways were that they were free from motor vehicle traffic, felt
safe, and had fun and enjoyable experiences (see Cyclist Needs and
Issues Lesson).

Off-street pathways can be located parallel to an adjacent roadway or rail Dollymount Trail, Qualicum Beach BC
corridor, or in a park, greenway, or utility corridor where there is no
adjacent road or rail corridor. Off-street pathways often serve as the
“arterials” of the bicycle and pedestrian transportation system. For
example, the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails in the Capital Region
form the “spine” of that region’s bicycle and pedestrian network. Many
mid-sized and smaller communities throughout the province have also
been focusing on developing off-street pathways as the “spine” of their
active transportation networks. In general, though, off-street pathways
should serve as a complement to, and not replace, on-street bicycle
facilities.

Source: Luke Sales


Off-street pathways can be designed to accommodate either one-
directional or two-directional travel and can accommodate a wide variety
of users. This diverse mix of users can create congested and conflictive
path conditions similar to that on urban highways. Therefore, planning
and design of off-street pathways must be done with the same care and
attention to recognized guidelines and user needs as the design of on-
street bicycle facilities and other transportation facilities. As such, the
intended function of the pathway is a key consideration ideally worked
out at the planning stage, but is also necessary to inform design.
Facilities need to serve the intended use and minimize potential conflicts
between users of varying ability and purpose (such as between an avid
cyclist on a training run and child learning to ride a bicycle). Designers
need to resolve if they are designing for speed/leisure,
experienced/beginner, commuter/recreational, few/many, or for some
optimal balance very early in the planning and design process.

There are several different types of off-street pathways, including:

2 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
exclusive paved bicycle pathways,
multi-use paved pathways, and
multi-use unpaved pathways.

Multi-Use Pathway, Fort St. John BC


The UBC Cycling in Cities study found that, among these types of off-
street pathways, respondents preferred (in order): exclusive, paved
bicycle pathways; multi-use paved pathways; and multi-use unpaved
pathways.

It should be noted that use of the term “pathway” in this lesson relates to
facilities within a bicycle network that are intended to be used exclusively
by cyclists or cyclists and other users. In contrast, the term “trail” refers
to facilities that are intended for pedestrians and are typically unpaved.
This lesson focuses only on “pathways” used by cyclists and other users.

4.0 Applicable Contexts


Multi-use pathways can be developed in a wide variety of contexts on a
variety of rights-of-way and exist in many types of settings, including
urban, suburban, exurban, and rural. Increasingly, longer pathways use a
variety of rights-of-way and pass through many diverse environments.
Some of the common contexts for providing multi-use pathways include:
Rails-With-Trails Corridor, Kelowna BC Rails-to-trails, which are paths created on abandoned railway
corridors.
Rails-with-trails, which are paths created adjacent to active rail
lines, such as freight railroads, commuter rail lines, light rail, or
other rail transit facilities
Greenway trails, which are incorporated into linear natural areas
such as parks or conservation areas, along stream or river
corridors, along waterfronts including beaches and shorelines, or
along dykes.
Sidepaths, which are located adjacent to highways, roads, and
parkways.
Source: John Luton Utility corridors, such as power lines, water supply, or sewer
corridors, irrigation canals, or other utility lines.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
Other paths, such as those developed within university campuses,
on other institutional properties, or within large residential and/or
commercial developments.

Some of the key issues and opportunities with these types of


applications are provided below.

Rail Corridors
Rails-to-trails and rails-with-trails corridors offer many benefits as
conversions to pathways, including:
gentle grades,
existing base and sub-base for path construction,
access to the centre of communities, Rails-With-Trails Corridor, Nanaimo BC
historic preservation and revitalization opportunities,
scenic and natural resource preservation, and
creation of social linkages to the past and future.

However, some of the issues associated with these facilities include:


right-of-way acquisition and land ownership issues,
liability issues,
bridge, tunnel, stonewall, and other structure re-use and
rehabilitation issues,
potential historic resource impacts, and
potential environmental contamination.
Source: John Luton

Greenway Corridors
When pathways are located in greenways, they are typically one
component of a larger corridor, which is primarily defined by its
environmental features or functions, including waterways, forests,
wetlands, shorelines, or other natural or restored landscapes.
Moreover, the reason that the corridor exists may not be primarily to
create a context for a path, but for largely environmental purposes.
Greenway paths present unique planning and design challenges,
including:
positioning the pathway within the greenway corridor,
minimizing and managing environmental disturbance and
impacts, both during construction and on-going use,

4 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Off-Street Path Within Road Corridor, reducing stormwater runoff and protecting against erosion,
Mississippi River incorporating environmental restoration such as bioengineering
and low-impact stormwater management techniques, and
designing the pathway to be compatible with the larger goals and
purposes of the corridor.

Roadway Corridors
In some cases, locating a pathway adjacent to a roadway may be the
best or only option available. Off-street pathways can be provided
directly adjacent to the roadway with a buffer separation, or can be
located parallel to the roadway. Pathways alongside roadways can be an
attractive option as they can provide the benefits of route directness
that are offered by many off-street facilities, while providing a high level
of comfort for users. However, these facilities create a situation where a
Source: John Luton portion of the bicycle traffic rides against the normal flow of motor
vehicle traffic and can result in wrong-way riding where cyclists enter or
leave the path. This can also result in an unsafe situation where
motorists entering or crossing the roadway at intersections and
driveways do not notice bicyclists coming from their right, as they are
not expecting traffic coming from that direction. Stopped cross-street
Galloping Goose Trail Adjacent
Road Corridor, Victoria BC motor vehicle traffic or vehicles exiting side streets or driveways may
frequently block path crossings. Even bicyclists coming from the left
may also go unnoticed, especially when sight distances are poor. Off-
street pathways within a road right-of-way can be considered in the
following circumstances:
sufficient right-of-way width exists
the path will generally be separated from all motor vehicle traffic,
bicycle and pedestrian use is anticipated to be high,
to provide continuity with an existing path through a roadway
corridor,
the path can be terminated at each end onto streets or trails with
Source: John Luton
good bicycle and pedestrian facilities,
there is adequate access to local cross-streets and other facilities
along the route,
any needed grade separation structures do not add substantial
out-of-direction travel,

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
the total cost of providing the proposed path is proportionate to
Singh Street Off-Street Pathway,
the need, compared to the cost of providing on-street facilities.
Kamloops BC

Short Connections
In many cases, off-street pathways can be used for short sections to
complete a connection that cannot be made using the roadway network.
This can often be the case in suburban communities to provide
connections in areas with discontinuous roadway networks, such as
connections between cul-de-sacs or through parks. Off-street pathways
can be used to create important connections and improve connectivity
for non-motorized users.

Off-Street Pathway Connection,


Vancouver BC

6 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
5.0 Benefits and Challenges
The table below summarizes some of the key the benefits and challenges
of off-street pathways.

Benefits Challenges
Safety Separation from motor Visibility at crossings
vehicle traffic increases Enabling cyclist turning
user safety and comfort movements
Exclusive bicycle paths Lighting
mitigate safety conflicts
Multi-use pathways present
with other users
safety conflicts with other users
Convenience Convenient where path Crossings of major roads can be
can provide continuous, unsafe or inconvenient
direct travel Trash and debris can collect,
requiring frequent maintenance
Snow removal can be challenging
Cost Can be cost effective Higher cost than most on-street
utilizing existing bicycle facilities, especially where
corridors or upgrading property is not protected
existing facilities Costs are highly variable and
based on existing conditions
Impacts Corridors are separated Crossing points can impact road
from motor vehicle operations as motorists may not
traffic and have no be aware of the facility
impacts on road Regular sweeping requires
operations specialized sweepers
May require property / right-of-
way acquisition
Users Suitable for users of all ages and On multi-use pathways, conflicts should be
skill levels mitigated with pavement markings or
Can encourage new signage
bicyclists
Encourages family
outings and recreational
bicycling
Can act as “stepping stone” to
convert recreational cyclists to
commuter cyclists
Applicability Greenways with natural features Not usually appropriate in denser urban
including rivers, lakes and parks environments, unless along a natural
Also can be parallel to roadways feature
unbroken by frequent driveways Inconvenient along corridors with many
driveways or cross-streets

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
6.0 Applicable Guidelines
Chapter 3.4 of the TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads
outlines guidelines for off-street pathways related to design speed,
stopping sight distance, curvature, width, clearances, and grades for
multi-use corridors. A brief summary of these guidelines is briefly
summarized below; however, the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian
Roads should be referenced for further details.

Corridor Guidelines

a) Design Speed
TAC guidelines recommend that bicycle paths be designed for a selected
speed that is at least as high as the preferred speed of the faster cyclists.
In general, the guidelines specify a minimum design speed of 30 km/h;
however, when the downgrade exceeds 4%, or if strong tailwinds prevail,
they recommend a design speed of 50 km/h. On unpaved paths, where
cyclists tend to ride more slowly, the guidelines advise a lower design
speed of 25 km/h.

b) Stopping Sight Distance


Minimum stopping sight distance for bicycles is the distance required to
bring a bicycle to a controlled full stop, and is a function of the cyclists’
perception and brake reaction time, the initial speed of the bicycle, the
coefficient of friction between the tires and the surface, and the braking
capability of the bicycle. The guidelines include a range of minimum
stopping sight distances for a range of speeds from 10 to 50 km/h and for
grades up to 12%.

c) Curvature
The guidelines include the minimum radius of a circular curve based on
bicycle speed, superelevation, and coefficient of friction.

d) Width
TAC provides guidelines for the width of off-street facilities based on
whether they are one-directional or two-directional, and whether they are
intended for use exclusively by cyclists or if they are shared multi-use
pathways. The table below outlines minimum off-street path widths.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Width Guidelines for Off-Street Pathways
Level Classification Lane Width
(m)
Level 1 One-way, exclusive 1.5 – 2.0
One-way, shared with pedestrians 2.0 – 3.0
Level 2 Two-way, exclusive 2.5 – 3.5
Two-way, shared with pedestrians 3.0 – 4.0

However, the guidelines emphasize that these are minimum values and are
only suitable when:
bicycle traffic is expected to be low, even on peak days or
during peak hours,
pedestrian use is expected to be occasional,
horizontal and vertical alignments are to standards that
minimize risk of accident and collision and provide adequate
clear zones and frequent passing opportunities, and
maintenance vehicles that would damage pavement edges are
not expected.

Further, the guidelines state an increase in width may be warranted


when:
there is substantial bicycle volume,
cyclists will be likely to ride two abreast,
pedestrians or joggers will likely share the facilities with cyclists;
grades are steeper, or
the facility will be used by maintenance vehicles.

e) Clearances
Horizontal clearance of 0.6 metres is generally recommended
between a pathway and any lateral obstruction.
Vertical Clearance of 3.6 metres for tunnels and underpasses.

f) Grades
The guidelines specify that grades greater than 5% normally be avoided.
Where there are compelling reasons for exceeding 5%, the length is kept
as short as possible and higher design speeds are desirable to
accommodate higher speeds in the downhill direction. On long steep
BC Recreation and Parks Association 9
Spring 2011
grades it is desirable to have a relatively flat area of grade, in the order of
less than 3%, every 100 metres for rest. Where a new bicycle path is
proposed, it is preferable to make the route longer to maintain lower
grades, than shorter with higher grades.

Intersection Guidelines
TAC has developed guidelines for intersection treatments in the Bikeway
Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada. TAC recommends the use of
“Elephant’s Feet” Pavement Markings at intersections with off-street
pathways. The guidelines include recommendations for the crossings at
signalized and unsignalized intersections and at mid-block locations.

7.0 Facilities

Corridor
In addition to the considerations noted previously in the section on Exclusive, Divided Bicycle Pathway with
applicable guidelines, there are a number of design considerations for off- Parallel Pedestrian Path, Victoria BC
street pathway corridors that are discussed in this section. First and
foremost, the pathway design needs to consider the users of the facility,
and whether it will be reserved exclusively for cyclists or if it will be used
by multiple users. This should also consider the different types of cyclists
that may use the facility, ranging from commuter to recreational cyclists,
and should recognize that although some commuter cyclists may simply
be using the facility to get from “A” to “B”, many others may be drawn to
the use the facility based on the overall experience along the pathway.
The section then discusses a number of other considerations for pathway
design, such as width of the facility, surface type, striping, and access
restrictions.

Users

a) Only Cyclists
Exclusive bicycle paths are intended solely for cyclists and to reduce their
potential for conflict with pedestrians and other non-motorized users. In
many communities that have attempted to separate users, pedestrians
frequently use the pathways designated for cyclists and in-line skaters,

10 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
and vice-versa, defeating the purpose of separated pathways. To
Exclusive, Undivided Bicycle Pathway encourage exclusive bicycle use, the bicycle pathway should be
Adjacent to Pedestrian Pathway, complemented by a separate pedestrian facility that provides equivalent
Vancouver BC connectivity, convenience and experience. At a basic level, the pedestrian
and bicycle paths should be separated by a minimum distance of one
metre, although additional width is better to provide options for
treatments that improve separation and quality and reduce maintenance
of awkward strips. If this distance cannot be maintained due to a lack of
space, the two paths can run side by side for short stretches.

Multiple Users
On a multi-use pathway, all users typically share the entire width of the
facility. Multi-use pathways include a variety of users, such as cyclists,
pedestrians, runners, wheelchair users, people with scooters, people with
strollers, in-line skaters, skateboarders, equestrians, dogs and other
animals. Multi-use pathways are also used for a wide variety of trip
Exclusive, Divided Bicycle Pathway,
purposes. User behaviour, such as travel speed and willingness to make
Victoria BC
stops, varies considerably with different trip purposes such as commuting
to work or school, exercising, or engaging in recreational outings. In
addition, people of all ages and abilities use and enjoy multi-use
pathways – from the very young to the very old, from the novice cyclist to
the marathon trainer.

This diverse set of users represents people with various skill levels and
different travel modes, using different types of equipment, and travelling
at different speeds. Some studies have shown that integrating cyclists
with other users on one facility may present safety concerns regarding
the potential for conflict with other users, particularly due to the
possibility of being confined to slower speeds when mixing with
pedestrians. The US Federal Highway Administration has found that
bicyclists’ level of service on pathways is very sensitive to user mix, and
that where the amount of foot traffic (such as runners and pedestrians)
surpasses 15% of trail use, bicyclists level of service is significantly
impacted. However, these potential user conflicts can be successfully
minimized through effective pathway planning, design, and management.
Source: John Luton
Because the speeds of users can range from 4 km/h to 50 km/h, it is
therefore important that a pathway is sufficiently wide that faster-moving
users can travel around slower-moving users, thereby avoiding conflicts
BC Recreation and Parks Association 11
Spring 2011
and collisions. As such, when designing multi-use pathways, it is
important to have a firm understanding of the types of users that are
anticipated on that facility and to consider their needs in the facility
planning and design.

Research by the Federal Highway Administration notes that pathways can


be designed with two treadways in the same corridor. One treadway may
be paved to accommodate cyclists, and the other treadway may be soft
surface to accommodate pedestrians and joggers, although it should be
recognized that many pedestrians may gravitate towards using the paved
treadway intended for cyclists. The study notes that a multiple treadway
design that effectively reduces the conflicts between different users of the
facility will have significant level of service benefits for the treadway used
by cyclists.

Width
Width is the most important design consideration for off-road pathways.
Research conducted by the US Federal Highway Administration found that
width is the key factor in determining bicycle level of service, and that
every additional 0.3 metres of pathway width has a positive impact on
level of service. In order to minimize the potential for conflicts between
pathway users, the width of a pathway should be sufficient to
accommodate the numbers and types of expected users. Other
s communities throughout British Columbia use the following applicable
guidelines:
The minimum desired width for a multi-use pathway is 4.0
Width of Pathway Elements
metres.
Widths of 6.0 metres or more may be necessary on high-use
pathways. A reduced width of 3.0 metres is acceptable on low-
use pathways with less than 200 persons per hour during peak
periods. A constrained width of as little as 2.4 metres is
acceptable for short sections where there are major physical
constraints on the pathway width or if there are property
constraints.
Where multi-use pathways are expected to accommodate
significant numbers of in-line skaters, a minimum width of 4.0
metres is required, regardless of the usage of the pathway. The

12 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
width required by an in-line skater reflects the width of the
skating stride as well as a manoeuvring allowance.
As an interim condition, for pathways constructed in a retrofit
situation, pathway widths of 3.0 m are acceptable. In low-use
applications, widths of 2.5 metres are acceptable as an interim
condition.
Shoulders a minimum of 0.5 metres wide should be provided
adjacent multi-use pathways.

Soft shoulders (at least 0.5 metres wide) should be provided on both
sides of the path, and a wider shoulder should be provided to
accommodate runners and joggers where space permits. Soft shoulders
should consist of a low ground cover of grass or compacted gravel. The
use of uncompacted gravel, bark or wood chips in the shoulder
Minimum Requirements for Pathway Structures is discouraged as these materials may end up scattered upon
the pathway, which can create a hazard for cyclists and other
wheeled users.

Multi-use paths are particularly appropriate for recreational


uses, such as greenways along lakes, rivers, and parks. In
addition, this type of facility can provide substantial
transportation benefits by providing routes along major streets
in suburbs or rural areas, where motor vehicle traffic speeds
and volumes preclude bicycles and pedestrians from sharing
space with automobiles.

Surface
Desirably, off-street pathways should be hard-surfaced, using
concrete or asphalt. This means that all non-motorized users
can be accommodated, including in-line skaters, persons in
wheelchairs and cyclists on bicycles with narrow tires. Soft-
surfaced pathways may be preferable in environmentally
sensitive areas, and are typically constructed of materials such
as a compacted aggregate which should be firm, stable, and
slip-resistant. Soft surfaced pathways can accommodate most
users, but are generally unsuitable for in-line skaters, some

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
cyclists, and some wheelchair users. In some cases, multi-use pathways
incorporate both a hard surface and a soft surface.

The figure on the previous page illustrates the minimum requirements for
asphalt, concrete, and compacted aggregate surfaces. These standards
are sufficient to accommodate occasional use by lightweight vehicles such
as automobiles and pick-up trucks for which single axle loads do not Aggregate Surface Multi-Use
exceed 1000 kg. If a pathway is to be used by heavier service vehicles, Pathway, Burnaby BC
the dimensions should be increased accordingly.

In some circumstances, multi-use pathways may also be unpaved.


Unpaved pathways are generally suitable only for pedestrians, cyclists on
mountain bikes, and horses. They are generally not suitable for people in
wheelchairs and most people with disabilities, or for bicycles with narrow
tires. As such, this treatment should only be considered where the path is
intended to be used for recreational purposes, and not for commuting
purposes. Unpaved paths are typically dirt, grass, or loose gravel, and
are often narrow with limited clearances.

Striping
Both exclusive and multi-use paths can be divided with a striped
centreline, to separate opposite directions of travel. Although the use of a
painted centerline can reduce the possibility of a conflict between cyclists
travelling in different directions, they can contribute to conflicts that arise
when faster moving pathways users cross the centerline to pass slower
moving users. Many pathway users also disregard centerlines, which also
creates conflicts. In addition, a centerline implies a “rule” that is likely to
generate complaints but not be enforced.

14 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Although the use of a painted centerline is advisable for safety in some
Centreline on Curve with Limited cases, research by the United States Federal Highway Administration
Sight Distance indicates that divided paths with a striped centreline provide a lower level
of service in terms of traffic flow than do undivided paths.1 The presence
of a centreline on pathways appeared to reinforce to cyclists that it was
necessary to pass slower users only by using the opposite lane, restricting
passing opportunities to when the opposing lane is open. However, the
scope of this research is limited and does not go into depth on whether
paths divided by a striped centreline enjoyed safety benefits by promoting
more conservative passing behaviors.

The observed effect of divided paths on traffic flow is worth considering in


situations where the facility is intended for commuting purposes, where
traffic flow may be a high priority. Divided paths are generally endorsed in
constrained areas where passing may be dangerous, around curves where
sight distance is impaired, or for trails with high usership where passing
behaviors need to be regulated. In many cases, the best design for a
multi-use path may be to divide it with a centerline in areas with the
conditions mentioned above, and leave it undivided in sections with ample
width and sight distance.

Generally, shared use paths do not have marking or striping at the


pavement edges. In some instances, it is beneficial to add a white stripe
to the pavement edge to more clearly define the edge of the hard
Removable Bollards surface, particularly in areas where the right-of-way is constrained and
the pathway abuts an obstruction such as a fence, or if there are low
lighting conditions. This line serves the same function as the fog line
typically panged along uncurbed roadways.

Access restrictions
Multi-use paths should also be designed to restrict access from
unauthorized motor vehicles. Bollards can be placed at path or roadway
crossings to permit bicycle or pedestrian access while restricting motor
vehicle access. Removable or unlockable bollards should be used rather
than gates along existing paths, as gates are an impediment to safe and
convenient trail access for cyclists and mobility-impaired users.

1
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2006.
BC Recreation and Parks Association 15
Spring 2011
Removable and unlockable bollards also maintain easy path access for
maintenance and emergency vehicles. The placement of bollards should
ensure a 1.6 metre clearance for cyclists, and should be placed some
distance from the intersection so that users are focused on cross-traffic
rather than the obstruction. Some communities are beginning to reduce
the use of bollards and gates as motorized users become more familiar
with paths and their function.

Intersections
The critical locations on an off-street pathway are where these facilities
intersect major roadways. Crossing treatments can be used to assist
cyclists, pedestrians and others in crossing major roads, and to minimize
potential conflicts with motor vehicles. While at-grade crossings create a
potentially high level of conflict between path users and motorists, well-
designed crossings have not historically posed a safety problem, as
evidenced by the thousands of successful paths with at-grade crossings.
In most cases, path crossings can be properly designed at-grade to a
reasonable degree of safety and meet existing traffic and safety
standards.

Evaluation of path crossings involves analysis of vehicular and anticipated


path user traffic patterns, including motor vehicle speeds and volumes
(average daily traffic and peak hour traffic), street width, sight distance
and path user profile (such as age distribution and destinations served).
Crossing features for all roadways include warning signs both for motor
vehicles and path users. Consideration must be given for adequate
warning distance based on motor vehicle speeds and line of sight, with
visibility of any signing absolutely critical.

The following intersection approach is based on established standards,


published technical reports, and experiences from cities around North
America. Path/roadway crossings generally will fit into one of four basic
categories:
Level 1: Marked/Unsignalized / Level 1+: Marked/Enhanced,

Level 2: Route Users to Existing Signalized Intersection,

Level 3: Signalized/Controlled or

16 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Level 4: Grade-separated Crossings.
“Elephant’s Feet” Pavement These crossing types are discussed in more detail in the sections below.
Markings, Vancouver BC
Where off-street pathways intersect major roads, TAC recommends the
use of “Elephant’s Feet” Pavement makings, which can either be placed
on one side of the crosswalk markings, or can be combined with the
crosswalk markings and are used to indicate where cyclists should
proceed through an intersection.

Level 1: Marked/Unsignalized; Level 1+: Marked/Enhanced


A marked/unsignalized crossing (Level 1) consists of a marked crosswalk
and signage, often with no other devices to slow or stop traffic. The
approach to designing crossings at intersections and mid-block locations
depends on an evaluation of vehicular traffic, line of sight, path traffic,
use patterns, motor vehicle speed, road type and width, and other safety
issues such as proximity to schools. Signing for path users must include a
standard “STOP” or “YIELD” sign and pavement marking, sometimes
combined with other features such as bollards or a kink in the pathway to
slow bicyclists. Care must be taken not to place too many signs at
crossings lest they begin to lose their impact.

Increasing the attention of motorists through an enhanced treatment


(Level 1+) may require additional alerting devices such as a flashing light,
roadway striping or changes in pavement texture.

Where a pathway parallel to a roadway or a path through open space that


emerges near a road intersection crosses an intersecting road, the
pathway should be aligned so as to direct pathway users to cross in the
crosswalk. This configuration maximizes the visibility of pathway users to
motorists.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 17


Spring 2011
Level 1 Pathway Crossing, Unsignalized Mid-Block

Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Level 2: Route Users to Existing Signalized Intersection


Crossings within approximately 75 metres of an existing signalized
intersection with pedestrian crosswalks are typically diverted to the
signalized intersection for safety purposes. For this option to be effective,
barriers and signing may be needed to direct pathway users to the
signalized crossings. In most cases, signal modifications would be made
to add pedestrian detection. The figure below provides an example of
how pathway users can be re-routed to an existing intersection.

18 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Level 2 Crossing Treatment

Level 2/3 Exclusive Bicycle Pathway Crossing at Signalized Intersection

Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 19


Spring 2011
Level 3: Signalized/Controlled Crossings
New signalized crossings may be recommended for crossings that meet
pedestrian, school, or modified warrants. These are located more than
approximately 75 metres from an existing signalized intersection and
where 85th percentile travel speeds are approximately 65 km/h and above
and/or ADT exceeds 15,000 motor vehicles. Each crossing, regardless of
motor vehicle traffic speed or volume, requires additional review by a
professional engineer to identify sight lines, potential impacts on motor
vehicle traffic progression, timing with adjacent signals, capacity, and
safety.

Trail signals are normally activated by push buttons, but also may be
triggered by motion detectors or in-pavement loop detectors (see Bicycle
Lane lesson). The maximum delay for activation of the signal should be
two minutes, with minimum crossing times determined by the width of
the street. The signals may rest on flashing yellow or green for motorists
when not activated, and should be supplemented by standard advanced
warning signs.

In situations where there are few “crossable” gaps and where motor
vehicles do not stop for pedestrians waiting to cross (or because of
multiple lanes, it is unsafe to cross in front of a stopped motor vehicle),
there are a number of innovative pedestrian traffic signals that do not
operate as full signals that could be installed. Many of these models have
been used successfully for years overseas, and their use in North America
has increased dramatically over the last decade.

Level 4 Underpass
Level 4: Grade-Separated Crossings
Grade-separated crossings may be needed where existing
bicycle/pedestrian crossings do not exist, where daily traffic volumes
exceed 25,000 motor vehicles, where 85th percentile speeds exceed
approximately 70 km/h, or at major barriers such as railways. Safety is a
major concern with both overcrossings and underpasses. In both cases,
trail users may be temporarily out of sight from public view and may have
poor visibility themselves. Underpasses, like parking garages, have the
reputation of being places where crimes occur.

20 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Level 4 Overpass Design and operation measures are available which can address trail user
concerns. For example, an underpass can be designed to be bright,
attractively finished, equipped with emergency cell phones at each end
and completely visible for its entire length prior to entering. Other design
considerations with underpasses include conflicts with utilities, drainage,
flood control, and maintenance requirements. Overpasses (as shown at
right) pose potential concerns about visual impact and functional appeal,
as well as space requirements necessary to meet, or preferably, exceed,
American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for slope.

8.0 Other Design Considerations

Safety
Safety of off-street pathways is a function of the planning and design
considerations related to the pathway, the context or environment within
which the path is developed, and the practices of people using the path.
Off-street pathway design guidelines, as described above, identify the
functional, capacity and geometric parameters that promote basic safety
requirements. These are typically applicable to facilities in conventional
contexts (such as corridors with sufficient width, moderate topography
and minimal constrictions) intended for users with average ability and
some awareness and acceptance of conventional trail etiquette.

However, safety involves more than the application of standards to


“conventional” or “average” conditions. The design approach for off-street
pathways should strive to foster a perception of safety among users and,
passively or actively, to encourage intended safe use in addition to
meeting basic tests as represented by standards. Some safety
considerations relate to crime prevention and to lighting (as discussed in
the sub-sections below). Other considerations and issues that should be
anticipated in the design process to promote safety include the following:

Path width and future traffic volumes The development of off-


street pathways is a response to current needs and to intended
BC Recreation and Parks Association 21
Spring 2011
objectives to encourage more cycling in a community. In many
cases, much of the future use cannot be easily projected and is
heavily influenced by “latent demand” and the suitability of the
developed facility. A well-designed path in a convenient location
serving significant nodes could easily result in much higher and
more varied use than anticipated in a particular design. While
“crowded” may be a desirable indicator of success, over-
crowding will lead to un-safe conflicts and potentially discourage
use. Designers should carefully consider the potential new use
that might be generated from a new or improved path and allow
for this as practical and feasible in the design width.

Horizontal clearances As noted above, the minimum horizontal


clearance recommended by TAC is 0.6 metres to a lateral
obstruction. A number of factors could lead to increasing this
clearance for particular hazards or in particular situations:
o Clearance to top of a bank – 1.2 metre minimum and
preferably more at outside of curves
o Clearance at intersections and tight corners – 1.0 metre
to allow for the lean angle of the cyclist
o Clearance to walls and railings – 1.0 metre desirable
o Clearance to trees – preferably provide at least 3 to 4
metres offset from path for safety clearance and to allow
space for root growth reducing potential for damage to
path; consider “root barrier” for trees located within 4
metres of path or with aggressive roots.

Railings, fences and barriers


o Locations – Minimize as possible to address essential Railing with Rub Rail
access control and separation from hazard conditions
o Height – Minimum safety railing height of 1.4 metres on
bridges and at top of walls or vertical drops; provide 0.2
metre wide “rub rail” between 0.9 and 1.1 metres to
prevent handle bar ends from catching on vertical rails
within 0.6 metres of path edge
o Transitions – Taper the offset of railings and fences from
the pathway to provide additional clearance to minimum
0.6 metre for initial 3 – 4 metre length from approach end

22 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
o Corners – radius or cut-off to increase clearance

Shoulder surfacing
o Finished grade – flush to path grade preferred; avoid
vertical and abrupt edges
o Surface materials – stable materials such as compacted
crushed gravel or grass; avoid loose gravels and materials
that can be dislodged onto path

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is an approach
to deter crime by creating conditions that communicate a high likelihood
of detection or apprehension. Relevant CPTED strategies for off-street
pathways should focus on natural surveillance, access control and
territorial reinforcement. In essence, the environmental design approach
should provide a high level of visibility and casual monitoring of activity
along a path and communicate a clear sense of ownership and
responsibility for appropriate presence and use.

In general, paths parallel to streets are inherently safer than paths


through parks and open space. The primary reason for this is greater
potential for casual monitoring of the activity on the path by passing
motorists and, in some cases, from adjacent residential and commercial
properties along the street. However, all pathway designs will benefit
from consideration and implementation of strategies such as:

Facilitate monitoring from adjacent roadways, residential


properties and active public spaces
Maintain reasonably long forward sightlines, especially at access
points and at approaches to curves for pathways not located
adjacent to roads.
Minimize and clearly define access points to trails within linear
parks and open space but do not overly limit the opportunity for
escape.
Avoid fences or minimize fence heights where required.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 23


Spring 2011
Plant trees to express public ownership but select tree species
that allow open views to under the tree canopy. Select low
shrubs to maintain sightlines.
Provide tangential approaches to and sightlines through
underpasses.
Provide lighting (see discussion below).
Identify paths as public property through frequent and
consistent signage, branding and other messaging.
Provide emergency contact information as part of a signage
program.
Provide sufficient, convenient and durable furnishings; in
particular, provide litter/recycling receptacles and “doggie bag”
dispensers to encourage user maintenance.
Identify and design so as to facilitate appropriate maintenance
and servicing inspection and operations
Draft maintenance guidelines and checklists to encourage
regular maintenance and inspection and repair of damage and
sub-standard conditions as soon as practicable.
Consider programming for cycle patrols and
monitors/”ambassadors” and, if implemented, provide
information signage to indicate these services.

Lighting
Lighting and illumination of off-street pathways should generally be
provided to support safety and functionality. The requirement for lighting
will be influenced by the type and intensity of use and by the context of a
particular path. Lighting should be considered a requirement in the
following situations:
Medium to heavily used bicycle and multi-use commuter
pathways
Bicycle and multi-use pathways through parks and open space
without ambient lighting from adjacent streets or which are
obscured from public view
Locations with hazards (eg. non-standard alignment), conflict
points (eg. intersections) and areas of safety concern (eg.
obscured corners, ramps, underpasses)

24 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
In urban settings and at and between nodes such as population
centres and destinations

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) standards should be used to


determine suitable illumination levels and uniformity in various situations.
In general, illumination and uniformity standards are lower for off-street
pathways than for roadways. However, public expectations may
encourage higher illumination and uniformity than standards suggest in
order to encourage use. Cut-off control and light colour are critical
considerations. While glare control and “dark sky” considerations are
important, perception of adequate lighting usually depends on ambient
and reflected lighting rather than surface lighting. In essence, people feel
more comfortable when they can “see” the light. Glare should be
controlled to ensure that the forward illuminated sight distance is not
compromised and to avoid impact on adjacent properties.

Light sources should favour “white” light, such as metal halide, and avoid
high-pressure sodium in order to maintain natural rendition of skin tones
and perception of “apparent” light levels. LED light sources should be
considered for energy efficiency and service life in addition to acceptable
colour rendition.

In general, light fixtures should be mounted at a height in the range of 4


metres to 6 metres above grade to provide pedestrian scale, facial
illumination and to maintain a comfortable perception of lighting
adequacy.

Aesthetics and Experience


Off-street pathways provide significant opportunities for enhancing the
experience and engagement of users with the places through which they
pass. Many users will focus on getting from “A” to “B”, however, these
users and many others will be attracted by the opportunity to “enjoy the
journey”. By considering the experience of users and bringing aesthetic
responses into the planning and design process, designers can contribute
to facilities that are likely to be more popular, be used more appropriately
and responsibly, and encourage an appreciation of place by users. These

BC Recreation and Parks Association 25


Spring 2011
are hallmarks of going beyond functionality to derive higher value for
investments in alternate transportation infrastructure.

Aesthetic and experience design opportunities are wide open – some


possibilities and considerations include:

Landscape integration – Pathways should fit to and be perceived


as part of the landscape rather than appear to be imposed on it.
Strategies include:
o Alignment design that follows existing topography and
minimizes cut and fill (“travel over” rather than “pass
through”); gradual and smooth transitions to existing
grade
o Existing and proposed planting, especially trees, used to
reinforce alignment, articulate transitions and establish
rhythm and sense of movement
o Vary alignment and use topography and planting to
manipulate views of path and surroundings (variously
shift, obscure and expose views and shift focus between
near and far views)
o Engage landmarks as points of reference and orientation
o Accentuate access points, gathering nodes and rest stops
with more detailed and varied treatments

Interpretation – Historical, natural, cultural, environmental and


other “stories” can be told and expressed along the path to
engage users and provide better understanding of their
community and the place they are at. Possible elements could
include:
o Sign posts and markers identifying sites, events, features,
people (eg. “Smith’s Farm” site)
o Site specific information signs providing broader content
and context (eg. details about the “Smith’s”)
o Thematic interpretation kiosks providing a range of
content and various inter-related perspectives to a
particular topic (eg. agricultural history)

26 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Art and design – Creative art can be used to animate spaces,
stimulate emotions, interpret themes and challenge perspectives
to engage users of pathways. Art and design can be realized in
the treatment of elements integral to the path development
program and through programs developed to enhance
developed facilities. Opportunities include:
o Landmarks and interpretation components
o Sculptural and interactive installations
o Site and environmental art
o Custom design of furnishings, way-finding elements and
other manufactured or constructed elements
o Special materials and finishes including patterned and
coloured pavements, thematic objects, motifs and colour
palettes (eg. railroad, agricultural and environmental
references)

In addition, programmed performance events and activities,


such as concerts in the park, buskers and exhibits, could be
considered to periodically animate appropriate spaces and
locations along the path.

Signage and wayfinding


Signage and wayfinding systems are important elements of an effective
pathway system. These features should be incorporated as components
of most networks to establish a consistent identity, provide clear
direction, inform and educate users, encourage safe operation, and
promote greater utilization. A system plan could include a signage and
wayfinding program that sets out design concepts and standards in
relation to the network plan, general opportunities and specific
community desires and objectives. Key considerations to inform the
signage and wayfinding program include:
Network structure – access points, staging areas, path types and
standards, route function and layout
Identity and branding – network and component pathway
names, target users (residents, visitors), geographic focus

BC Recreation and Parks Association 27


Spring 2011
(community or district), relationship to community marketing
and economic development
Users – mix, capability, volume, desires, concerns

Components of a signage and way-finding system could include:


1. Major system maps and directories – Kiosks or panel structures
located at primary access or staging points including system
brand/graphic identity; system map with relevant context; path
routes, types and identifier (name or number); access points; Route Marker, Kamloops BC
orientation (“You are here”); notices and warnings; user
instruction and etiquette; emergency information; map/brochure
pocket

2. Secondary maps – Kiosks or panel structures located at


secondary access points and key intersections including system
brand/graphic identity; local network map and context in overall
system; access points; path routes, types and identifier; local
information such as time/distance, notices and warnings;
emergency information

3. Route markers – Post-top or bollard mounted signs, banners or


other devices located at decision points and at points along a
route; including: system brand/graphic identity, route identifier,
directional information; combine with other signs as possible to
reduce clutter

4. Paint markings – Where required to clarify route designation or


direction at intersections or non-standard locations

Wayfinding signs are typically placed at key locations leading to and along
bicycle routes, including where multiple routes intersect and at key
bicyclist “decision points.” Wayfinding signs displaying important
destinations, distances and “riding time” can dispel common
misperceptions about time and distance while increasing users’ comfort
and accessibility to the bicycle network.

28 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Wayfinding Sign, Wayfinding Sign, Wayfinding Sign,
Germany Portland, OR Berkeley, CA

Amenities
Amenities support user comfort and convenience and help to attract
increased and more general use of pathways. Amenity programs should
be resolved with the path design to identify needs and opportunities and
Informational Kiosk, to guide implementation so as to promote user comfort and minimize
Victoria BC conflicts. Design considerations include:

Rest areas
o Rest areas should be provided at access/staging points,
points-of-interest, viewpoints and similar locations with
attributes that encourage resting, waiting, meeting and
general leisurely use of a pathway. Major rest stops
include primary access/staging points, key intersections
between paths along roadside and paths within parks and
open space and nodes within areas of high activity, such
as commercial and community centres.
o At a minimum, rest areas will include one or more
benches and could include drinking fountain, litter
receptacle, general or site-specific signage, shade trees,
decorative surfacing and other amenities.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 29


Spring 2011
o Rest areas should allow for barrier free access and be
sized and positioned to allow for use without impeding
adjacent traffic on the path.
o Separation of the rest area from the path with low
planting and railings will clarify the intended use and Bench Oriented Towards River,
space. Kamloops BC

Benches
o Locate at rest stops
o Orient bench towards point of interest or towards path in
absence of obvious focal point
o Benches with back provide more comfortable and relaxing
seating; backless benches allow users to choose which
direction to face
o Provide minimum clearance to bench from path and
increase clearance to allow additional 0.9 metre leg room
clearance for benches facing path; provide hard surfaced
pad with minimum 0.9 metre width beyond ends and
seating edge of bench to allow for access

Litter Receptacles
o Locate at major rest stops and other locations as
warranted by use
o Provide receptacles with multiple compartments for
separation of trash and recyclables and consider
maintenance schedule to determine adequate capacity
o Locate in close proximity to path allowing for minimum
clearance

Bicycle Parking
o Locate bicycle racks at major rest stops, commercial
centres, gathering nodes and other locations where
cyclists may wish to stop and leave their bicycle
unattended.
o Provide strong and durable stands that provide support to
the bicycle frame rather than wheels.
o Orient racks such that bikes are positioned parallel to
path to minimize conflict of bikes with use of path.

30 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Drinking Fountain on Pathway, Drinking Fountains
Kamloops BC o Drinking fountains should be provided as possible at
major rest stops and every few kilometres along a path.
o Fountains should be universally accessible and easy to
use for children.
o Locate fountains to provide minimum clearance to path
and to avoid conflict with use of path
o Fountains should have automatic shut-off and drain
connection to sanitary sewer or rock pit.

Restrooms
o Development of dedicated restrooms for cycle facilities
are generally not practical but availability of facilities
along a path should be considered. Potential locations
include parks, community centres and libraries and
commercial centres especially with service stations and
fast food restaurants.
o Development of a cycle path may be an impetus to
construction of public restrooms within a park or other
public area to support multiple needs.
o Restroom locations should be identified on major signs
and secondary maps.

Low impact/sustainable design


Off-street pathways are one piece of overall sustainable community
development and can be designed and developed to improve the quality
and value of the bicycle facility and incorporate other strategies to protect
environmental values and conserve resources. An integrated design
approach and careful consideration of the values, issues and opportunities
at the site being considered is critical to realizing the potential benefits in
a cost-effective manner.

As one example, an off-street path can be designed as a component of a


“green street” combined with alternative rainwater management and
naturalized regionally adapted planting schemes. The boulevard between
the street and the off-street pathway could be designed as a bio-swale to
intercept, attenuate and infiltrate low-volume rain events. The bio-swale
BC Recreation and Parks Association 31
Spring 2011
could support trees, shrubs, flowering plants and ornamental grasses with
reduced or no requirement for supplemental irrigation and the planting
treatment would improve the attractive qualities and separation of the
path to improve user experience. In addition, porous concrete or asphalt
could be considered instead of conventional materials. Although porous
materials will provide stormwater management benefits, designers should
consider the impact of the surface texture for cyclists and other users.

Multi-use paths through linear parks and open space within a


neighbourhood can support reduced street width by relocating some
functions from the street, encourage and offset higher density in compact
and clustered development, and protect natural features, such as
watercourses, by increasing separation to private property. Again, this
approach will encourage use of the cycle path to achieve fundamental
transportation demand reduction, health improvements and energy
conservation objectives.

9.0 Conclusions
Off-street pathways have a broad level of appeal to all types of cyclists as
well as other users, such as rollerbladers, joggers, people with mobility
aids and others. Off-street pathways can be designed to accommodate
only bicycles or a range of users. There are a number of design
considerations for the design of pathways – such as design speed, width,
and surface – that need to take into account the intended users of the
pathway. The critical points on an off-street pathway are at intersections
and there are a range of treatments that can be considered to facilitate
bicycle crossings at mid-block locations, unsignalized intersections, and
signalized intersections. The design of off-street pathways also needs to
consider the overall experience of the pathway – although many users will
focus on getting from “A” to “B”, many others will be attracted by the
opportunity to “enjoy the journey”. The design of off-street pathways
should consider opportunities to enhance the user experience by ensuring
user safety by following Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
(CPTED) principles and by providing lighting, unique art and design,
signage and wayfinding, and other amenities such as rest areas, benches,
litter receptacles, bicycle parking, drinking fountains, and restrooms to
create an attractive and enjoyable user experience.

32 Course Manual
Lesson 3A – Off-Street Pathways
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Learning Objective ............................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline ..................................................................................................1

3.0 Description .......................................................................................................1

4.0 Applicable Contexts ..........................................................................................2

5.0 Benefits and Challenges....................................................................................3

6.0 Applicable Guidelines .......................................................................................4

7.0 Facilities ...........................................................................................................4

8.0 Implementation.............................................................................................. 12

9.0 Conclusions .................................................................................................... 16

ii Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
1.0 Learning Objective
Apply best practices to designing cycle tracks (including corridor
treatments and intersection treatments) and implement them in both
existing and new roadways, while recognizing the constraints and
challenges that can arise.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by providing a general description of cycle tracks,
summarizing relevant guidelines, and by discussing some of the key
benefits and challenges of cycle tracks. The lesson then discusses the
corridor treatments that are typically used to provide physical separation
between cyclists and motor vehicles, including parking placement,
channelization, mountable curbs, and posts and delineator posts, as well
as the treatments commonly provided at intersections. The lesson
concludes with a number of case studies to demonstrate how cycle tracks
have been successfully implemented in a number of cities throughout
North America, including Montreal, New York, Portland and Vancouver.

3.0 Description
A cycle track is an exclusive bicycle facility that combines the user
Cycle Track Separated from Motor experience of a separated path with the on-street infrastructure of a
Vehicle Traffic by On-Street Parking conventional bicycle lane. Cycle tracks have different forms and go by
different names (such as protected bicycle lanes, separated bicycle lanes,
or on-road bicycle paths) but all share common elements – they provide
space that is intended to be exclusively or primarily for bicycles, and are
separated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes and sidewalks.
Cycle tracks can be either one-way or two-way, on one or both sides of a
street, and are separated from motor vehicles and pedestrians using a
variety of possible treatments, such as pavement markings, pavement
colouring, bollards, delineators, curbs, medians, barriers, planters, or a
combination of these elements.

As noted in the Cyclist Needs and Issues Lesson, several studies have
shown a preference for facilities that are separated from motor vehicle

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
Carrall Street Greenway,
traffic. In fact, the Cycling in Cities study found that cycle tracks were the Vancouver
most preferred type of on-street facility. Several examples of cycle tracks
can be found in British Columbia, including No. 3 Road in Richmond, and
Carrall Street, Burrard Bridge, Dunsmuir Viaduct, and Dunsmuir Street in
Vancouver.

Cycle tracks combine the benefits of increased comfort offered by off-


street pathways due to their separation from motor vehicle traffic, with
the benefits of route directness provided by on-street facilities. Properly
designed cycle tracks can eliminate conflicts between bicycles and parking
cars by placing the cycle track on the inside of the parking lane if one
exists, and can reduce the danger of “car dooring”. This increased
comfort can play a significant role in increasing bicycle use, particularly
No. 3 Road, Richmond
among the “interested but concerned” market. Danish research has
shown that cycle tracks can increase bicycle ridership by 18 to 20 percent,
compared with a five to seven percent increase found resulting from
bicycle lanes.1

Despite the increased comfort offered by cycle tracks, there are a number
of cycle track design issues. As bicyclists are not travelling directly
alongside motor vehicles, motorists may not be aware of their presence,
leading to increased vulnerability at intersections. Also, conflicts with
pedestrians and other sidewalk users can occur, particularly on cycle
tracks that are less well-differentiated from the sidewalk or that are
located between a sidewalk and a transit stop. In addition, regular street
sweeping trucks cannot maintain most cycle tracks; however, smaller
street sweepers can accommodate the narrower roadway. These issues
can be addressed through the design process, as outlined in this lesson.

4.0 Applicable Contexts


Cycle tracks are most appropriate on urban or suburban arterial roads
with high motor vehicle speeds and volumes, and on commercial high
streets which provide convenient and direct access to destinations.
Because of the difficulty and danger of allowing other traffic to cross the

1
Jensen, Soren Underlien, Claus Rosenkilde and Niels Jensen. Road safety and perceived
risk of cycle facilities in Copenhagen.

2 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
cycle track, they are not recommended on streets where there are many
major and closely spaced intersections. Conversely, cycle tracks work well
on streets with signalized intersections and minor side roads. Cycle tracks
are particularly appropriate on roads that have fewer cross-streets and
longer blocks. Cycle tracks should only be constructed along corridors
with adequate right-of-way. Sidewalks or other pedestrian facilities should
not be narrowed as pedestrians will likely walk on the cycle track if
sidewalk capacity is reduced.

5.0 Benefits and Challenges


The table below summarizes some of the key the benefits and challenges
of cycle tracks.
Benefits Challenges
Safety Separation from motor vehicle Visibility at crossings
traffic increases user safety and Enabling cyclist turning
comfort movements
Convenience Convenient in situations with Inconvenient along corridors
longer blocks or corridors with many driveways
unbroken by driveways Collects trash and debris
requiring frequent
maintenance. Snow removal
can also be challenging
Cost Provides significant benefits in Higher cost than bicycle lanes
terms of increased ridership or neighbourhood bikeways
and crash reduction if properly Costs are highly variable and
designed based on existing conditions
and design
Impacts Limited impact on road Impacts road operations at
operations as they are driveways and intersections
separated from motor vehicle Regular sweeping requires
traffic specialized sweepers
Requires wide right-of-way
Potential loss of parking
Users Suitable for users of all ages If adequate pedestrian
and skill levels facilities are not provided the
Can increase bicycle ridership cycle track will likely become a
by as much as 20 percent. de facto sidewalk
Applicability Ideal for use along higher Not appropriate on low
speed roads with few automobile-volume roadways
intersections or roads with many access
points

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
6.0 Applicable Guidelines
Guidelines for bicycle lanes and off-street facilities are provided in the
TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads. These guidelines also
contain design direction for some devices that separate bicycle lanes from
motor vehicle traffic, such as buttons, tubular posts, and bollards. The
guidelines state that raised physical separations should generally be
avoided for reasons of safety, street maintenance considerations, and
turning conflicts with motor vehicle traffic. However, no specific guidelines
are provided for other applications of cycle tracks, such as parking
placement, channelization, and grade separated cycle tracks (as discussed
in further detail below). Much of the North American experience on cycle
tracks has been based on experience from Europe, particularly the
Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany in a recent summary of lessons
learned prepared by Alta Planning + Design (see References and Further
Information section below).

7.0 Facilities
Corridor

a) Separation
By definition, cycle tracks are separated from motor vehicle travel lanes
and pedestrians by a physical barrier, such as on-street parking or a curb,
or are grade-separated. Shy-distances increase the perception of
separation and of wider lanes by providing additional clear space through
pavement markings or low barriers. Cycle tracks using a barrier
separation can be at-grade, or either above or below the level of the
travel lanes and cross-streets. Visual and physical cues should be present
that show where bicyclists and pedestrians should travel. This can be
done through grade separation, pavement colouring, or surfacing.
Whatever form of separation is used, openings in the barrier or curb are
necessary for driveway and minor street access, becoming potential
conflict points between bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

Choices regarding cycle track width and type are dependent on road
safety and costs, as well as ease of passage, perceived risk, and comfort..
4 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
Types of cycle track separation from the general purpose travel lane
include:
parking placement,
channelization,
elevated, and
bollards or delineators.

In many cases, on-street parking or motor vehicle travel lanes have been
removed to accommodate the cycle track adjacent to the travel lanes
without roadway widening. Each type of separation is described below.

Parking Placement
Where on-street parking exists, the cycle track can be placed between the
parking and the sidewalk. The cycle track can be at street level or
elevated. Drainage inlets should be provided adjacent to the sidewalk
curb to facilitate run-off. This technique is common in Copenhagen,
Denmark and has also recently been used in Portland, OR and New York,
NY.

Source: Gavin Davidson

Source: Jonathan Maus

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Channelization
Cycle tracks can be at street-level, provided that there is a physical
separation. The curb creates the separated space, as well as prevents
passengers from opening doors into the cycle track and discourages
pedestrians from walking on the facility. Other treatments can include
planters or bicycle parking.

Elevated
Cycle tracks can be grade-separated from the roadway. The cycle track
should be 50 to 75 millimetres above street-level using a hard curb, and
the sidewalk should be an additional 50 to 75 millimetres above that.
Where cyclists may enter or leave the cycle track, or where motorists
cross at a driveway, the curb should be mountable with a small ramp,
allowing cyclist turning movements.

6 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
Bollards and Pavement Markings
In addition to grade separation or channelization, the cycle track should
have signage, pavement markings and/or different colouration or
texture, to indicate that the facility is provided for bicycle use. Signage,
in addition to bollards, can add to the physical separation of the facility.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
b) Width
One-way cycle tracks should have a minimum width of two metres clear
to provide safe passing for bicyclists. At constrained intersections and
depending on the type of separation used, the cycle track can be
narrowed to 1.5 metres. In the Netherlands, cycle tracks are typically
2.1 metres wide, although 2.4 metres is desirable for new construction.
In higher demand situations, each lane can be as wide as 3.0 metres.
The figures below show example cross sections of cycle tracks with and
without on-street parking, respectively.

Cycle Track With On-Street Parking Cycle Track Without On-Street Parking

For two-way bicycle lanes, guidelines in the Netherlands recommend a


minimum width ranging from 2.4 metres in cases with relatively low
bicycle volumes to 4.0 metres in cases with higher bicycle volumes, as
shown in the table at right.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
The buffer between the cycle track and the motor vehicle or parking lane
provides safety and comfort for bicyclists in the cycle track. A buffer is not
Example Guidelines for Width of 2- required of a cycle track wider than 2.1 metres, but is recommended
way Cycle Tracks
where possible.
Peak Hour
Bicycle The CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic provides guidance in the
Cycle Track
Volumes
Width Netherlands for the width of the buffer area, including the barrier
(both directions,
bicycles per hour) between the cycle track and the automobile travel lanes. These buffer
0 – 50 2.4 metres areas should be suitable for street furniture, low vegetation, and/or trees.
50 – 150 3.0 metres According to these example guidelines, inside built-up areas, the buffer
> 150 4.0 metres area should be a minimum of 0.35 metres. The table below shows the
Source: CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic
guidelines for buffer width depending on type of barrier.

Example Guidelines for Cycle Track c) One-way vs two-way cycle tracks


Barrier Width in Built-Up Areas Cycle tracks are typically one-directional, although two-way cycle tracks
have been implemented in many communities throughout Europe and
Barrier Type Buffer Width
North America, including Montreal and Vancouver. Two-way cycle tracks
Lamp posts 1.0 metre offer good levels of safety between intersections, but complicate traffic at
Vegetation 2.3 metres intersections, as they increase the number of points where bicycles and
Fence 0.6 metres turning vehicles cross paths. In addition, cyclists riding against the flow
Physical barrier 1.0 metres of motor vehicle traffic may surprise pedestrians and vehicles at
Source: CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic intersections. The VéloQuébec Technical Handbook of Bikeway Design
indicates that two-way cycle tracks are acceptable in the following
situations:
on a street without intersections or without access on one side.
For example, along waterway or rail line, the absence of
intersections and access eliminates conflicts with automobiles;

on one-way streets with a limited number of intersections and


driveways (ideally, fewer than one every 300 metres), and
preferably a single motor vehicle lane; or

On two-way streets where left-hand turns are prohibited, and


with a limited number of intersections and driveway entrances
(ideally, fewer than one every 300 metres).2

2
VéloQuébec. Technical Handbook of Bikeway Design (2nd Edition)
BC Recreation and Parks Association 9
Spring 2011
Two-way cycle tracks require a higher level of control at intersections, to
allow for a variety of turning movements. These movements should be Example Guidelines for Cycle Track
guided by a separated signal for bicycles and for motor vehicles. Barrier Width in Rural Areas

For two-way cycle tracks, the minimum recommended buffer width is 1.0 Speed Limit Buffer Width
metre. In rural areas, the barrier and buffer area should be dependent on 65 km/h 1.5 – 2.5 metres
the speed of the main road, as shown at right. 80 km/h 4.5 – 6.0 metres

Source: CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic


d) Cycle track and transit interactions
In general, cycle tracks should not be located along major transit routes.
However, where bus stops are present, they are typically located on the
outside of cycle tracks in the Netherlands and in Copenhagen, with de-
boarding passengers required to cross the cycle track. Sometimes, they
provide an adequate stopping area in the buffer area for transit riders, so
that they do not walk directly off the bus and into the cycle track. If a
bus-boarding area is not possible, a zebra-striped area can indicated
where pedestrians will board or disembark from transit vehicles.

In addition, there should be adequate visibility for pedestrians to safely


cross the cycle track. Signage or markings should instruct bicyclists to
yield to disembarking passengers. Buses should not stop closer than 5
metres before an intersection, to promote visibility for cyclists in the cycle
track.

Alternatively, the cycle track can be located on the left side of the street
to minimize conflicts at bus stops. This strategy has been used along 8th
Avenue and 9th Avenue in New York City.

7.2 Intersections
The greater separation of cyclists and motor vehicles that cycle tracks
afford produces added comfort for cyclists on the cycle track, but it
creates additional considerations at intersections that must be addressed
for safety. The most common conflict is right-turning motorists conflicting
with cycle track users. Both roadway users and cyclists have to expand

10 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
their visual scanning to see potential conflicts. To mitigate for this issue,
Driveway Crossing Identified with several treatments can be applied at intersections:
Bicycle Symbols
Driveways and low-volume cross-streets. A cycle track should
retain priority at low-volume intersections and driveways. In
order to indicate to motorists and cyclists in driveways and low-
volume side streets that they are expected to yield to cyclists in
the cycle track, the crossings could have bicycle pavement
markings, or coloration or texture. The cycle track should not
change grade; rather, motorists are required to mount the curb
to cross, thereby slowing down and recognizing a change.

Protected Phases at Signals. This treatment requires additional


signal phases and can increase delay. With this treatment, left
and right turning movements are separated from conflicting
Advanced Signal Phase for through movements. The use of a bicycle signal head is used in
Cyclists, Montreal PQ many jurisdictions to ensure all users know which signals to
follow, although bicycle signal heads are not currently
recognized in the provincial Motor Vehicle Act. Demand-only
bicycle signals can be implemented to reduce vehicle delay to
prevent an empty signal phase from regularly occurring. With
this scenario, a push button or imbedded loop within the cycle
track should be available to actuate the signal. If many cyclist
left turns are expected, this movement should be given its own
signal phase and push button.

Advanced Signal Phases. Signalization can also be set to provide


cycle track users a green phase in advance of motor vehicle
phases. The amount of time will depend on the width of the
intersection.

Removal of On-Street Parking. At non-signalized and signalized


intersections the removal of on-street parking (if present) prior
to the intersection can all raise visibility and awareness for
cyclists.

Access Management. The reduction in the number of potential


conflict points can also benefit a cycle track corridor. Medians,
driveway consolidations, or restricted movements reduce the
potential for conflict.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
Right Turning Bicycle Movements:
Straight and Right Turn Bicycle
At intersections where a substantial proportion of bicycle traffic makes a
Lanes at Intersection,
right-hand turn, while other bicycle traffic continues forward from the
Copenhagen DK
cycle track, an additional right-hand turn lane should be provided within
the track (see image at left). This allows right-turning cyclists to slow
down for the turning movement, while cyclists continuing straight can do
so freely. This separates the potential cyclist conflict from their potential
conflict with other intersection users (e.g., pedestrians and motor
vehicles) and simplifies the intersection movements for all parties. It is
very important that cars cannot make right turns on red if the through
bicycle movement occurs on a separate signal phase from automobile
traffic or if there is a bicycle box present where cyclists may be queuing
ahead of stopped motor vehicles.
‘Copenhagen Left’ pavement
Left Turning Bicycle Movements: markings, Vancouver, BC
The “Copenhagen Left” (also known as the “Melbourne Left,” the “jug-
handle turn,” and the “two-stage left”) is a way of enabling a safe left-
turn movement by bicyclists in a cycle track (see image at right).
Bicyclists should not be allowed to make left-turn movements from the
cycle track and are often physically barred from moving into the roadway
by the cycle track barrier.

Instead, bicyclists approaching an intersection can turn right into the


intersecting street from the cycle track, to position themselves in front of
cars. Bicyclists can go straight across the road they were on during next
signal phase. All movements in this process are guided by separate traffic Bike Box for Left Turns from Cycle
signals – motorists are not allowed to make right turns on red signals. In Track in Motor Vehicle Parking Area,
addition, motorists have an exclusive left-turn phase, in order to make Portland OR
their movements distinct from the bicyclists’. Portland, OR has recently
used bike boxes on its cycle track by placing the box in the width of the
roadway area used for motor vehicle parking, as shown at right.

8.0 Implementation
Cycle tracks can be challenging to implement on existing roads, and often
require the removal of on-street motor vehicle parking or a motor vehicle

12 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
travel lane. The cost to install cycle tracks can vary widely depending on
the treatments used. Case studies of how existing roadways have been
retrofitted to provide cycle tracks in North American cities are provided
below:

The City of Montreal has developed an extensive network of two-way


cycle tracks through its downtown core. The most prominent cycle track is
the Claire Morisette Bike Path on DeMaisonneuve Boulevard, which was
completed in 2007 and provides a two-way, four kilometre link for cyclists
on this two-lane, one-way street through the downtown. The cycle track
is separated from motor vehicle traffic by a raised curb through the
downtown core, with attractive lighting and artwork. Outside the
downtown core, the cycle track is buffered by delineator posts. The
design also includes extensive use of “sharrow” symbols (a bicycle symbol
with chevron markings) through conflict zones such as driveways and
intersections to raise awareness to motorists of the presence of bicycles.
Implementation of the cycle track required the elimination of
approximately 300 parking spaces to implement. The cycle track is
maintained throughout the entire year.

Claire Morisette Bike Path, Montreal QC

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
Two new cycle tracks were implemented in 2008 and 2009 on 8th Avenue
9th Avenue Cycle Track,
and 9th Avenue in New York City. The one-way cycle tracks run for seven
New York NY
blocks between 16th and 23rd Streets in Chelsea. The design required
that one motor vehicle traffic lane was eliminated in order to create
space for the cycle track, leaving three one-way motor vehicle lanes.
The design uses a lane of parked motor vehicles, as well as a painted
buffer zone with delineator and large planters to keep motor vehicles
from entering the facility. The cycle track is 3 metres wide to allow
for regular maintenance using the City’s road sweepers, and is
separated from parked automobiles by a 2.5 metre buffer. The cycle
track is located on the left side of the one-way streets to avoid
conflicts with bus stops located on the right side of the street, and
includes discrete signal phases for cyclists to eliminate conflicts
between cyclists and left-turning motor vehicles. The
cycle tracks were implemented as part of a “complete
street” redesign which aimed to improve conditions
for cyclists, pedestrians, and motor vehicles. For
example, major project elements on the 9th Street
redesign included shortening the pedestrian crossing
distance of this 21 metre wide avenue by providing
landscaped pedestrian refuge islands, which improved
the streetscape and reduced the pedestrian crossing
distance by almost 10 metres. The project was
achieved without creating significant additional traffic
congestion – before the project 9th Avenue had four
unassigned traffic lanes; the project created three
through traffic lanes and dedicated left turn bays.

14 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
SW Broadway Cycle Track, The City of Portland, OR recently installed a cycle track as part of a
Portland OR demonstration project on SW Broadway to provide a connection between
downtown Portland and Portland State University. The one-way cycle
track runs 7 blocks from SW Clay to SW Jackson and was implemented by
the Portland Bureau of Transportation after an analysis of motor vehicle
traffic volume indicated that three standard travel lanes were not needed.
The cycle track was implemented by removing a three metre motor
vehicle travel lane and relocating the motor vehicle parking lane. Cyclists
are separated from moving motor vehicle traffic by parked cars and a
painted buffer-zone to protect cyclists from car doors. The cycle track is
2.1 metres and the buffer width is 0.9 metres, to fit within the width of 3
metres previously used for the motor vehicle travel lane. The design also
includes a green bike box to facilitate left turns out of the cycle track as
noted above. The bike boxes are shielded from motor vehicle traffic by
the parked cars. The project cost the City approximately $80,000.

Locally, the City of Vancouver has begun to focus on implementing cycle


tracks through the downtown core. This began with a pilot project in July
2009 to provide separated facilities on the Burrard Bridge. The City set
Source: Jonathan Maus aside one of the travel lanes leaving downtown for bicycles only, and
separated it from vehicle traffic with a concrete barrier. One sidewalk was
Dunsmuir Street Cycle Track, set aside for cyclists going the other way and also protected with a
Vancouver BC concrete barrier, and pedestrians have exclusive use of the remaining
sidewalk. Following the 2010 Winter Games, the City implemented a
second facility on the Dunsmuir Viaduct and separated it from motor
vehicle traffic with a concrete barrier. The two-way separated facility
connects cyclists travelling west into the Downtown and east to the
Adanac Bikeway. The City recently constructed a two-way cycle track pilot
project on the north side of Dunsmuir Street, and will continue with a
second phase to ultimately connect this facility with the Burrard Bridge.
The Dunsmuir Street cycle track was implemented by reallocating one 3.0
metre motor vehicle travel lane and existing 1.5 metre bicycle lane –
leaving two motor vehicle travel lanes – and by removing 13 of the 25
parking spaces on Dunsmuir Street. A 1.0 metre buffer is typically
provided between motor vehicles and the cycle track. Three types of
physical separation are used to separate motor vehicles from cyclists on
the Dunsmuir Street cycle track – paint and planters, medians with bicycle
racks, and motor vehicle parking with a painted buffer zone, similar to the
BC Recreation and Parks Association 15
Spring 2011
Portland and New York examples. As the Dunsmuir Street cycle track has
two-way bicycle travel on a street with one-way westbound motor vehicle
travel, additional traffic signals have been added for cyclists travelling in
the opposite direction of motor vehicles. In order to minimize impacts on
transit, bus stops also needed to be reconfigured with a refuge median
for transit users to enter and exit buses. The project cost the City
approximately $810,000.

9.0 Conclusions
Cycle tracks are an emerging type of bicycle facility in North America.
They are perceived as comfortable and safe facilities that can attract
cyclists who are concerned about cycling adjacent to motor vehicle traffic.
Although cycle tracks are common in many Northern European cities,
there is little design guidance available to date from the North American
context. Lessons can be learned from the European examples as well as
recent projects in Montreal, New York, Portland, and Vancouver among
others.

16 Course Manual
Lesson 4A – Cycle Tracks
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Learning Objective ............................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline ..................................................................................................1

3.0 Description .......................................................................................................1

4.0 Applicable Contexts ..........................................................................................2

5.0 Benefits and Challenges....................................................................................2

6.0 Applicable Guidelines .......................................................................................3

7.0 Facilities ...........................................................................................................4

8.0 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 21

ii Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
1.0 Learning Objective
Apply best practices to designing bicycle lanes (including corridor
treatments and intersection treatments) and implement them in both
existing and new roadways, while recognizing the constraints and
challenges that can arise.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by providing a general description of bicycle lanes,
summarizing relevant guidelines, and by discussing some of the key
benefits and challenges of bicycle lanes. The lesson then discusses the
variety of different corridor treatments that be considered, including
conventional bicycle lanes (with or without on-street parking), coloured
bicycle lanes, contra-flow bicycle lanes, left side bicycle lanes, floating/off-
peak bicycle lanes, uphill bicycle lanes, bicycle/bus lanes, and two-way
bicycle lanes. The lesson concludes by discussing some of the treatments
commonly provided at intersections.

3.0 Description
Bicycle lanes are separate travel lanes designated for the exclusive use of
bicycles. In most cases, they are located on the right-hand side of the
road adjacent to the curb, and are identified with a solid white line and by
signage and pavement markings placed at regular intervals. Bicycle
traffic in a bicycle lane is typically one way in the same direction as the
adjacent travel lane. Bicycle lanes are generally used on urban roads with
curbs.

If properly designed, bicycle lanes can increase safety and promote


proper riding. For this reason, bicycle lanes are desirable for bicycle
commute routes along major roadways. Bicycle lanes help to define the
road space for bicyclists and motorists, reduce the chance that motorists
will stray into the cyclists’ path, discourage bicyclists from riding on the
sidewalk, and remind motorists that cyclists have a right to the road. One
key consideration in designing bicycle lanes in an urban setting is to
ensure that bicycle lanes and adjacent parking lanes have sufficient width

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
so that cyclists have enough room to avoid a suddenly opened motor
vehicle door.

4.0 Applicable Contexts


Bicycle lanes are the most commonly used type of bicycle facility in most
North American cities and are most appropriate for urban and suburban
collector and arterial roads that have higher motor vehicle traffic volumes
and higher motor vehicle speeds. The City of Portland Bikeway Design
Best Practices Guide recommends the use of bicycle lanes on roadways
with 3,000 motor vehicles per day or higher.

5.0 Benefits and Challenges


The table below summarizes some of the key benefits and challenges of
bicycle lanes.

Benefits Challenges
Safety Turning movements are generally simple Beginner cyclists may be uncomfortable riding
in motor vehicle traffic
Bicyclists are more visible in the street
Bicycle lanes too close to parked cars can result
in ‘dooring’
Convenience Provide direct routes to key destinations Bicycle lanes on roads with high motor vehicle
traffic can present conflicts for bicyclists
On-street facilities can be maintained with
attempting to turn
other street maintenance activities
Cost Often relatively low cost; can often be Cost can be higher if insufficient right of way
accommodated through roadway re-striping exists or curb and gutter relocation is required
or re-configuration
Impacts Requires little right-of-way Design challenges to address conflicts with
turning movements at intersections and at
Separates cyclists from motor vehicle traffic
driveways, bus stops, and on-street parking
Can increase bicycling, particularly
Bicycle lanes may require road narrowing, lane
commuting
removal or parking removal
Users Suitable for commuters and more If adequate pedestrian facilities are not
experienced riders provided, the bicycle lane may become a de
facto sidewalk
Not appealing to newer cyclists
Applicability Ideal for use along collector and arterial Not appropriate on low automobile-volume
streets residential roadways

2 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
6.0 Applicable Guidelines
Longitudinal Bicycle Lane Pavement Guidelines for bicycle lanes are provided in the TAC Geometric Design
Markings Guide for Canadian Roads. The guidelines include standards for bicycle
lane width, ranging from 1.5 metres to 2.5 metres depending on the
speed and composition of motor vehicle traffic as follows:
Minimum width: 1.5 metres;
If motor vehicle traffic volumes exceed exceeds 6,000 AADT, or
if trucks exceed 10% of motor vehicle traffic volumes: 2.0
metres; and
If roadway speed is 100 km/h or greater: 2.5 metres.

The TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada also states that,
although bicycle lanes should not be less than 1.5 metres wide, lane widths
Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada as narrow as 1.2 metres may be used where road width is limited. The
document includes the following guidelines for pavement markings in
bicycle lanes:
Bicycle lane lines are solid, white in colour with a width of 100
Bicycle Lane Pavement Marking mm.
Symbols Where motor vehicles are permitted to move into or cross the
bicycle lane to perform a turning movement, broken line
segments should be used. In such situations, a 15 metre
minimum broken line is used.
Bicycle lanes should include bicycle and diamond symbols
spaced at 75 metres or as conditions dictate, and approximately
10 metres downstream from an intersection or crosswalk.
Directional arrow markings may also be used to identify the
correct direction of cyclist movement in a bicycle lane.

The document also includes guidance regarding signage and pavement


markings, as well as examples through figures and descriptions of a
variety of typical applications of bicycle facilities:
Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada bicycle pavement marking and signage configurations for bicycle
lanes with or without on-street motor vehicle parking
transition applications, including bicycle lanes that begin or end
mid-block;
urban intersection applications, including bicycle lanes adjacent
to through and right-turn lanes, left turn bicycle lanes, bicycle

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
lanes adjacent to bus bays, bike boxes, left turn bicycle
jughandles, and bicycle lane markings through intersections;
contraflow bicycle lane applications
merge / diverge lane and ramp applications
roundabout applications, including single-lane and multi-lane
roundabouts;

7.0 Facilities
Corridor
Bicycle lanes are identified with a solid white line, and bicycle symbols are
painted on the roadway within the bicycle lane at regular intervals. A
lane’s usable width is normally measured from the curb, excluding the
gutter pan, to the center of the lane stripe, although adjustments should
be made for drainage grates and longitudinal joints between the street
pavement and the curb gutter pan. If parking is permitted on a street,
bicycle lanes should be placed between the parking lane and the travel
lane.

There are several classes of bicycle lanes, including conventional bicycle Conventional Bicycle Lanes
lanes, coloured bicycle lanes, and other treatments such as
contra-flow bicycle lanes, floating or off-peak bicycle lanes, uphill
bicycle lanes and combined bicycle/bus lanes. Each facility is
described below.

Conventional Bicycle Lanes (without on-street parking)


At a minimum, bicycle lanes should be 1.5 metres wide,
excluding the gutter, although a desirable width is 1.8 metres to
increase user comfort. On roadways with posted speeds of 70
km/h or more, and/or significant truck or bus traffic, bicycle
lanes should be a minimum of 1.8 metres wide, excluding the
gutter. Bicycle lanes should not be wider than 2.0 metres, as this
encourages two-way bicycle travel and encourages motorists to
park in the lane.

4 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
Conventional Bicycle Lanes (with on-street parallel parking)
While bicycle lanes adjacent to on-street parallel parking are common,
they can be dangerous for bicyclists if not designed properly. Crashes
caused by a suddenly opened motor vehicle door are a common hazard
for bicyclists using this type of facility. The width of a motor vehicle door
swing is typically 2.9 metres. As such, where bicycle lanes are provided
adjacent to on-street parked motor vehicles, the combined width of the
bicycle/parking lane should be at least 4.4 metres. This provides 2.4
metres for the parking lane, a 0.5 metre buffer zone to provide adequate
clearance for cyclists to avoid opened car doors, and 1.5 metres for
bicycles.

Bicycle Lane with Buffer Zone, Bicycle lane with full-time on-street parking
New York NY

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

An inside bicycle lane line or parking delineation markings are required,


instead of providing a wide bicycle lane. Wide bicycle lanes may
encourage the cyclist to ride farther to the right to maximize distance
from passing motor vehicle traffic, but may place cyclists in the door
zone. Wide bicycle lanes may also cause confusion with unloading motor
vehicles in busy areas where parking is typically full. In addition, the
buffer zone can be more clearly delineated with the use of parking “T’s”
or diagonal stripes.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Conventional Bicycle Lanes (with on-street diagonal parking) Bicycle Lane Adjacent to Back-In
Diagonal parking is common in many communities, particularly in Diagonal Parking, New Westminster
downtown areas with high parking demand. Diagonal parking has BC
several advantages over parallel parking, including:
more parking spaces per block.
room for the creation of curb extension on many corners.
traffic calming due to reduced travel lane width and slower
average motor vehicle speeds.

Despite these benefits, head-in diagonal parking can create safety and
comfort issues for all roadway users, including cyclists, thereby
decreasing cyclists’ willingness to travel on streets with this type of
parking facility. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid head-in
diagonal parking configurations adjacent to bicycle lanes. At locations
where diagonal parking is preferred, back-in parking should be used. This
requires drivers to pull in front of a vacant space and reverse into the
parking space. This forces the drivers to look behind them before crossing
the path of oncoming bicyclists, improves motorists’ sightlines of
oncoming bicycle and motor vehicle traffic while exiting, and reduces the
likelihood of cyclists being struck by car doors. Several cities have studied
back-in angled parking and found significant benefits. Pottstown, PA, for Configuration of Bicycle Lane
example, found a 25% reduction in the number of crashes as a result of Adjacent to Back-In Diagonal Parking
back-in angled parking and a 43% reduction in crashes resulting
in injury.

6 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
Coloured Bicycle Lanes
Coloured bicycle lanes can be used in high-conflict areas, to alert drivers
Red Bicycle Lane, Bend OR
of the presence of bicyclists and bicycle lanes. In some cases, a
contrasting colour is applied to continuous sections of roadways. These
situations help to better define road space dedicated to bicyclists and
make the roadway appear narrower to drivers, which can result in
beneficial speed reductions. More commonly, coloured bicycle lanes are
used to guide cyclists through major motor vehicle/bicycle conflict points.
These conflict areas are locations where motorists and cyclists must cross
each other’s path (e.g., at intersections or merge areas). Cyclists are
especially vulnerable at locations where the volume of “conflicting” motor
vehicle traffic is high, and where the motor vehicle/bicycle conflict area is
long. Coloured bicycle lanes typically extend through the entire
bicycle/motor vehicle conflict zone. Coloured bicycle lanes require
additional cost to install and maintain. Techniques include:
paint,
coloured asphalt, and
coloured and textured sheets of acrylic epoxy coating.

There is little consistency in the colour that is chosen. In Canada,


Blue Bicycle Lane Through Conflict Zone, coloured surfaces are not prescribed by either the TAC Bikeway Traffic
Portland OR Control Guidelines for Canada or the MUTCD. They have no legal meaning
and there is no obligation to use them. In Canada, the selection of the
appropriate colour has been a matter of study by TAC in recent
years; however, no definite standard has been set to date. In the United
States green is now mandated as the new standard colour by the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) and green bicycle lanes now exist in
many cities including Seattle, New York City, Portland, and Boston. On
the other hand, the City of Victoria uses blue bicycle lanes at select
locations, and the City of Vancouver and Ministry of Transportation &
Infrastructure use red bicycle lanes in select locations. TAC recommends
that in selecting a pavement marking material, white or colour, the road
authority should ensure that the manufacturer has guaranteed that the
material is skid resistant and durable while maintaining a high degree of
reflectivity. In the interests of consistency and simplifying maintenance, it
is recommended that one colour is used for cycle infrastructure within a
municipality. This treatment typically includes accompanying signage
alerting motorists of motor vehicle/bicycle conflict points.
BC Recreation and Parks Association 7
Spring 2011
Coloured Bicycle Lane Through Conflict Point

Buffered Bicycle Lane, Vancouver WA

Buffered Bicycle Lanes


A buffered bicycle lane provides a buffer space between the bicycle lane
and motor vehicle travel lane or parking lane to increase the space
between cyclists and motorists. Buffered bicycle lanes are appropriate on
bicycle lanes with high automobile speeds and volumes, and facilities with
high volumes of truck or oversized vehicle traffic. Source: Washington DOT

Contra-Flow Bicycle Lanes


A contra-flow bicycle lane provides a striped lane going against the flow Buffered Bicycle Lane, New York NY
of automobile travel and are used to facilitate two-way bicycle movement
on a road that is one-way for motor vehicles. The lanes should be
separated by a solid single yellow line. This type of treatment should only
be considered after all other methods to accommodate bicycles along a
corridor have been considered. This treatment is to be considered the
exception, and not the rule, for one-way streets and should only be
considered on short stretches of one-way roads where cyclists would be
unduly inconvenienced by the longer, non contra-flow bicycle route. As a
part of trial implementation, designers need to determine an effective
sign design to accompany this treatment. A standard two way traffic
warning sign may be most appropriate. Potential applications include:
bicyclists can safely and conveniently re-enter traffic at either
end,
sufficient width to provide bicycle lane,
no parking on side of street with bicycle lane,
existing high bicycle usage of street, Source: Transportation Alternatives

8 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
less than three blocks in length, and
no other reasonable route for bicyclist.

Contraflow Bicycle Lane Design

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Left Side Bicycle Lane


Several cities provide bicycle lanes on the left side of one-way streets
(with or without a supplemental right-side bicycle lane). Left side bicycle
lanes provide several benefits:
They accommodate bicyclists on roadways with a high demand
for bicycle left turn movements onto and off the street (e.g., to
connect users with a path or other bicycle facility, or a high
number of bicyclist destinations exist on street’s left side).

BC Recreation and Parks Association 9


Spring 2011
They accommodate bicyclists on transit routes with numerous Left Side Bicycle Lanes,
stops (a left side bicycle lane eliminates conflicts between San Francisco CA
bicycles and buses conflicts).

Floating / Off-Peak Bicycle Lanes


Peak hour parking restrictions make it difficult to develop bike lanes on
arterial roadways. Concepts such as floating or off-peak bike lanes are
designed to overcome this obstacle. The “floating bike lane” treatment
designates a single lane (4.3-4.9 m wide) to function as a parking lane, a
designated bike lane, and then both, depending on the time of day.
During peak commute times when parking is not allowed, cyclists ride
within a striped bike lane adjacent to the curb. During off-peak hours
when parking is allowed (with parked motor vehicles occupying the bike
lane), bicyclists use the remaining space between parked cars and
adjacent motor vehicle travel lanes. This treatment currently exists along Off-Peak Bicycle Lanes
the Embarcadero in San Francisco, where a demonstrated need for on-
street parking exists during non-peak commute hours. Tow-Away Zone
enforcement signs supplement the street’s striping configuration.
Although observers identified some initial confusion among cyclists and
motorists, this measure has proven successful over the long term.

Potential applications include:


primary bicycle commute routes, and
not enough width to provide standard bike lane and parking.

Uphill Bicycle Lanes


The right-of-way or curb-to-curb width on some streets may only provide
enough space to stripe a bike lane on one side (assuming travel lanes and
on-street parking are not removed). Under these conditions, bicycle lane
striping could be added to the uphill side of the street. Bicyclists
ascending hills tend to lose momentum, especially on longer street
segments with continuous uphill grades. This speed reduction creates
greater speed differentials between bicyclists and motorists, creating
uncomfortable and potentially unsafe riding conditions. Separating motor
vehicle and bicycle traffic, uphill bicycle lanes (also known as “climbing
lanes”) enable motorists to safely pass slower-speed bicyclists, thereby
improving conditions for both travel modes. This measure often includes

10 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
delineating on-street parking (if provided), slightly narrowing travel lanes,
and/or shifting the centerline if necessary. The measure is currently used
in Portland, Seattle, Madison, Kamloops and other cities.

Combined Bicycle/Bus Lanes


Typically situated adjacent to the curb, combined bicycle/bus lanes are
used where sufficient width exists for a bus lane, but not for separated
bus and bicycle lanes. Generally, such multiple uses are operationally
acceptable unless considerable bus and bicycle traffic exists. High bus and
bicycle volumes may create a “leap frog” effect with buses and bikes
passing each other frequently. Combined bicycle/bus lanes should include
appropriate signage and pavement markings indicating the lane’s purpose
(e.g., to prevent motorists from using the lane as a right-turn lane).

Two-Way Bicycle Lanes


Two-Way Bicycle Lanes, Two-way bicycle lanes are uncommon, because they create safety issues
Minneapolis MN at intersections where there are increased conflict points created by
turning movements. They often feature a high crash rate, because motor
vehicle users on cross streets often do not know to expect two-way
bicycle traffic in a bike lane, and may not know where to look to see
cyclists using the facility. These issues can be mitigated through the
installation of warning signage, and restricting certain turn movements,
but these measures are much more expensive and design-intensive than
a typical one-way bike lane installation. For this reason, most on-street,
two-way bicycle facilities are cycle tracks, which require similar traffic
control changes but provide other enhancements such as lateral
separation from motor vehicle traffic and a raised grade that bicycle lanes
do not include. A two-way bike lane located in the center of Hennepin
Avenue in Minneapolis, MN has a high crash rate between left-turning
cars and bicyclists, but enjoys high ridership and is popular in the local
community.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
Intersections
The following sections describe appropriate treatments for Bicycle Through Lane Adjacent to
accommodating bicyclists who have been traveling in a bicycle lane Right Turn Motor Vehicle Lane
through intersections.

Bicycle Through-Movements with Right-Turn Motor Vehicle Lane


When confronted with intersections where a bicycle lane crosses a right-
turn-only lane, bicyclists will have to merge with right-turning motorists.
Since bicyclists are typically traveling at speeds less than motorists, they
should signal and merge where there is a sufficient gap in right-turning
traffic, rather than at any predetermined location.

A dashed line across the right-turn-only lane is not recommended on


extremely long lanes, or where there are double right-turn-only lanes. For
these types of intersections, all striping should be dropped to permit
judgment by the bicyclists to prevail. A ‘Bike Xing’ sign may be used to
warn motorists of the potential for bicyclists crossing their path.

A dashed strip should be used to delineate the transition zone for


bicyclists and motorists where motorists are required to pass through the
bicycle lane to access an introduced right turn lane. Where the curb lane
transitions to a right-turn parking lane, the dashed strip should be
discontinued through the merge area. Finally, an option where right-of-
way width is limited is to provide a shared bicycle/right-turn lane using
“sharrow” stencils. Several cities (e.g., San Francisco, Eugene, Oregon,
and Kona, Hawaii) have successfully used the shared bicycle/right-turn
lane in physically-constrained areas. Case studies cited by the Pedestrian
and Bicycle Information Center indicate that this treatment works best on
streets with lower posted speeds (50 km/h or less) and with lower motor
vehicle traffic volumes (10,000 ADT or less).

12 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
Bicycle Lane Adjacent to Introduced Right-Turn Lane

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Bicycle Lane Adjacent to Curb Lane Transition

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
Shared Bicycle /Right-Turn Lane

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Bike Boxes
Bike boxes include a bicycle lane leading to a “box” situated behind the
Bike Box, Vancouver BC
crosswalk and in front of the motor vehicle stop bar. The bike box enables
cyclists to move to the front of the queue and position themselves ahead
of motor vehicles. They allow for easier intersection crossing on high
volume cycling routes where cyclists must cross a heavy stream of motor
vehicle traffic, and are typically used where there are frequent left turn
bicycle movements. Cyclists wait for no more than one signal cycle and
are able to make left-turning movements safely, rather than having to
merge into motor vehicle traffic as they approach the intersection. Bike
boxes also allow bicyclists to avoid breathing exhaust fumes from motor
vehicles idling at the intersection and improve the visibility of bicyclists. A
bicycle marking is stenciled in the box and should be accompanied by
signs communicating where bicycles and motor vehicles should stop, as
well as “no right turn on red” signs.

14 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
Bike Box, Portland OR Bike boxes are most appropriately used:
at intersections with a high volume of bicycles and motor
vehicles,
where there are frequent turning conflicts and/or intersections
with a high percentage of turning movements by both bicyclists
and motorists,
when there is no right turn on red, and
when they can be combined with a bicycle signal (optional).

The recommended bike box depth is 4.0 metres, or at a minimum depth


of 2.75 metres. Bike boxes have been used in Cambridge, MA, Portland,
OR and Eugene, OR and are used throughout Metro Vancouver, BC. They
Source: www.flinttrading.com
have been used in a variety of locations throughout Europe.

Bike Box Configuration


Bicycle Left-Turn Pocket Lane
Using a standard-width bicycle lane adjacent to the left-hand turn lane,
bicycle left-turn pocket lanes reduce conflicts with turning motor vehicles.
The “Bicyclists Merging” sign may be placed on the right side of the road
before the left-side turn pocket. Bicycle left-turn pocket lanes can be
used:
• where there are low to moderate speeds,
• on lower volume arterials and collectors, and
• in instances of heavy vehicular left-hand turning movements.

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 15


Spring 2011
Left-Turn Bicycle Lane

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Left Turn Bicycle Lane, Victoria BC Left Turn Bicycle Lanes, Portland OR

Source: John Luton

Bicycle Markings Through Complex Intersections


Bicycle lane markings may be provided through complex intersections to
guide cyclists through these locations and to alert motorists to the

16 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
presence of a bicycle route through the intersection. Bicycle lane
markings are dashed through the intersection to connect with the far-side
bicycle lane, either in through movements or left-turning movements.
Conflict zone markings using the “sharrow” symbol can also be used in
these situations. Sharrow symbols are used extensively through conflict
zones in Montreal.

Bicycle Lane Markings Through an Intersection

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 17


Spring 2011
Bicycle Left Turn Markings Through an Intersection

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Sharrow Markings Though a Conflict Zone

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

18 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
“Sharrow” Markings Through Intersection, Montreal QC

Bicycle Lanes at Roundabouts


Bicycle lanes should not be provided within the circulatory roadway of a
roundabout. For single-lane roundabouts, TAC recommends that bicycle
traffic should merge with the traffic stream or use an alternate off-street
bicycle bypass if provided. For multi-lane roundabouts, a bicycle bypass
should always be provided. Bicycle ramps should be provided that angle
up to a shared use path where the bicycle exits the roadway, and angled
down toward the roadway where the bicycles re-enter the roadway.

Although TAC recommends the use of bicycle pavement markings on the


approaches to roundabouts (as shown in the images on the following
page), the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure does not
recommend the use of bicycle pavement markings within the travel lanes
prior to a roundabout. In particular for multi-lane roundabouts, the
Ministry prefers the use of a separate pathway and promotes use of the
separate pathway through route signage and pavement markings.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 19


Spring 2011
Bicycle Lane at Single or Multi-Lane Roundabout, With
Bicycle
Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Bypass
Control Guidelines for Canada

Bicycle Lane at Single Lane Roundabout, No Bicycle


Bypass

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

20 Course Manual
Lesson 4B – Bicycle Lanes
8.0 Conclusion
Bicycle lanes are one of the most common types of bicycle facilities in
North America, although there are a wide variety of possible applications
of bicycle lanes that can be considered depending on the context. In
addition, there are a variety of treatments available to help cyclists
through intersections.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 21


Spring 2011
Title Page

BC Recreation and Parks Association i


Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Learning Objective ......................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline.............................................................................................1

3.0 Description .................................................................................................. 1

4.0 Applicable Contexts ....................................................................................2

5.0 Benefits and Challenges ..............................................................................4

6.0 Applicable Guidelines..................................................................................4

7.0 Facilities ......................................................................................................5

8.0 Other Considerations ................................................................................ 16

9.0 Conclusions ............................................................................................... 17

ii Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
1.0 Learning Objective
Apply best practices to designing neighbourhood bikeways (including
corridor treatments, and intersection treatments) and implementing them
in both existing and new roadways, while recognizing the constraints and
challenges that can arise.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by providing a general description of neighbourhood
bikeways, summarizing relevant guidelines, and by discussing some of
their key benefits and challenges. The lesson then discusses the different
levels of neighbourhood bikeways based on the degree to which bicycle
traffic is prioritized over motor vehicle traffic. The lesson summarizes the
treatments typically considered within each of the five levels of
neighbourhood bikeways. The lesson concludes by summarizing some
additional design consideration for neighbourhood bikeways, including
opportunities to incorporate stormwater management features, public art,
landscaping and street trees, and pedestrian amenities.

3.0 Description
Neighbourhood bikeways (often referred to as “bicycle boulevards” in
some jurisdictions) refer to shared bicycle routes which are generally
located on local streets (including local streets in commercial and
industrial areas) and which have been optimized to varying degrees to
prioritize bicycle traffic. Because traffic volumes and speeds on these
roads are generally low, cyclists and motorists are able to safely share the
road without the need for significant physical improvements to the
roadway. In some cases, the only improvements required are signage
identifying the road as a bicycle route, and crossings where the shared
routes intersect major roads. In cases where a higher degree of
prioritization is assigned to bicycles, designers typically implement traffic
calming measures to reduce motor vehicle traffic volumes and speeds,
and to improve safety and comfort of cyclists and pedestrians.
Neighbourhood bikeways are typically provided on parallel routes to
busier arterial or collector roads.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
Neighbourhood bikeways are designed to combine the benefits of route
directness that are provided by other on-street facilities with the safety
and comfort benefits of off-street pathways since they are located on
local roads with lower motor vehicle traffic speeds and volumes.
Neighbourhood bikeways, therefore, provide a broad level of appeal to a
variety of cyclists, including commuter cyclists (who benefit from the
lower motor vehicle traffic volumes without significant increases in trip
times) and less experienced cyclists (who may not be comfortable cycling
on higher volume roads). For less experienced cyclists, bikeways can also
serve as “stepping stone” facilities that help increase their comfort level
using on-road facilities.

4.0 Applicable Contexts Grid Street Network


Neighbourhood bikeways work best in road networks with a strong,
continuous grid pattern, which are found in many urban centres and in
traditional neighbourhoods throughout the province. The logical and
interconnected layout of these street networks are generally easy to
navigate, tend to continue over long distances, and provide numerous
route options to destinations. In some locations, a large city block, park,
or other barrier may reduce connectivity in the grid street system,
requiring cyclists to use higher speed streets. In these instances,
designers should identify opportunities to develop new non-motorized
connections or design treatments that will increase cyclists’ comfort and
safety when travelling along the segments of higher speed roadway.
“Loop and Lollipop” Street Network
On the other hand, development of effective neighbourhood bikeways in
suburban or rural settings can often be challenging due to a lack of
alternate through roadways and the concentration of motor vehicle traffic
on arterials. The “loop and lollipop” street patterns commonly found in
many suburban housing developments may be reasonably good at
keeping traffic speeds low and discouraging through traffic on residential
streets, but these benefits sacrifice connectivity. In these systems, the
through roads are generally the main streets with heavy, high-speed
traffic with limited crossing opportunities, conditions that are intimidating
for less traffic-tolerant cyclists.

2 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
While this type of street pattern presents challenges to creating
neighbourhood bikeways in the suburban context, there are often hidden
opportunities. For example, by focusing on a “fused-grid” approach,
pathways can be constructed to provide connections for pedestrians and
cyclists along dead-end streets, which combines the connectivity benefits
of a grid network for pedestrians and cyclists, with the low traffic volumes
and speed benefits along neighbourhood streets in a “loop and lollipop”
street pattern. Even without substantial connectivity improvements,
opportunities for neighbourhood bikeway development within the “loop
and lollipop” roadway pattern exist. In some circumstances, they require
little more than wayfinding improvements and careful attention to major
intersection crossings to create a useful neighbourhood bikeway.

In terms of operational characteristics of roadways to be considered for


neighbourhood bikeways, daily motor vehicle volumes are typically less
than 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles, although volumes below 1,500 vehicles per
day are preferred. Roadways selected for neighbourhood bikeways ideally
would also have lower posted speed limits of 30 km/h and typically lack a
directional dividing line. In general, designers prefer a speed differential
between motor vehicles and cyclists of no more than 20-25 km/h.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
5.0 Benefits and Challenges
The table below summarizes some of the key the benefits and challenges
of neighbourhood bikeways.
Benefits Challenges
Safety Traffic calming can reduce motor Motor vehicles not complying with
vehicle traffic volumes and speeds traffic calming
Convenience Provide direct routes to key Routes often do not directly
destinations connect to commercial
destinations; cyclists must find
On-street facilities can be
own route to arterials near end of
maintained with other street
trip
maintenance activities
More frequent maintenance of
bikeways required than standard
practices on other local streets
Cost Can be inexpensive to implement Cost depends on quantity and
depending on degree of traffic intensity of treatments; highly
calming adaptable

Impacts Traffic calming can be popular with Cyclists integrated with local motor
neighbours near facility vehicle traffic
Can improve aesthetics of street Less visible network
Benefits all other street users Facilities with insufficient traffic
through improved safety calming and diverter treatments
may increase “cut-through” motor
Physical traffic calming measures
vehicle traffic
can improve compliance with
traffic laws and reduce the need Diversions may initially be
for traffic enforcement if done unpopular with neighbors and can
properly increase motor vehicle traffic on
parallel streets
Users Appealing to most users If route is not as direct may not be
as desirable for commuter cyclists
Appealing to newer cyclists
Can act as “stepping stone” to
convert recreational cyclists to
commuter cyclists
Applicability Ideal for use along local streets Not appropriate on high volume,
that parallel major roads high speed roads

6.0 Applicable Guidelines


TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads states that shared
roadways with motor vehicle traffic volumes of 0 – 1,000 AADT should
have a shared roadway lane width of 4.0 metres. In addition, the TAC

4 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Canadian Guide to Neighbourhood Traffic Calming provides design
direction regarding the implementation of 25 traffic calming devices,
including those listed above. Finally, the Bikeway Traffic Control
Guidelines provides recommendations for bicycle markings at several
traffic calming devices, including curb extensions, chicanes, and speed
humps. Although these guidelines perform some direction for the
neighbourhood bikeways and the installation of traffic calming measures,
additional guidance focused specifically on designing high quality
neighbourhood bikeways can be provided from other materials, notably
the Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design guidebook
which was recently published by the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian
Innovation at Portland State University.

7.0 Facilities
Level of Treatments
Neighbourhood bikeways can be categorized based on the degree to
which bicycles are prioritized over motor vehicles. This can range from a
basic application where the only measures consist of bicycle route signage
and pavement markings on local roads, to providing intersection
treatments to aid bikeway users in crossing arterial streets, to installing
traffic calming measures designed to reduce motor vehicle speeds and
diverters that restrict motor vehicle access while maintaining full access
for pedestrians and bicycles. Each of these different treatments builds
upon the last, adding to the level of prioritization for non-motorized
modes. The figure below shows how the increasing intensity of
neigbourhood bikeway treatments can be conceptualized on a scale from
1 to 5. The appropriate level of treatments will vary with motor vehicle
traffic conditions in each neighbourhood.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Intensity of Neighbourhood Bikeway Treatments

6 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Level 1: Signage
Neighbourhood Bikeway In many cases, neighbourhood bikeways can be implemented easily and
Information Signage with low cost with the application of bicycle route signage to identify the
road as a bicycle route. The purpose of signage is to identify routes to
both cyclists and motorists, provide destination and distance information,
and warn users about changes in road conditions as needed. In addition
to serving these roles, signage also helps to “brand” the neighbourhood
bikeway network, fostering familiarity among cyclists and motorists about
traffic conditions that can be expected on these facilities. Three types of
signage are typically provided on neighourhood bikeways:
Information signs, which identify routes to both cyclists and
motorists and also serve to passively market the neighbourhood
bikeway network.
Wayfinding signs, which supplement information signs to provide
cyclists with direction, distance, and/or estimated travel time to
destinations such as commercial areas, transit hubs, schools and
universities, and other bikeways.
Warning signs, which alert motorists and cyclists of road condition
changes including the end of the bicycle boulevard, upcoming
traffic calming features, and traffic control devices.
Signage alone does not create a neighbourhood bikeway. However, if
traffic volumes and speeds are already low and intersections facilitate
bicycle travel, then signage may be all that is required. The figures below
show examples of typical signage used on neighbourhood bikeways.

Neighbourhood Bikeway Wayfinding Signage

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
Level 2: Pavement Markings
Bikeway Pavement Markings
In addition to signs, bicycle pavement markings can be placed on the
Portland, OR
roadway to identify the route as a bikeway. Bikeway pavement markings
in North America are not as highly standardized, and as a result, cities are
still experimenting with different designs. The figures below show
different approaches to bikeway markings in Berkeley, CA and Portland,
OR, where they are known as bicycle boulevards. For reference, the
Portland markings are approximately 0.3 metres wide, while the Berkeley
markings are greater than 1 metre. The Portland markings sometimes
include a directional arrow that complements wayfinding signage and
helps cyclists navigate turns on the bikeway route.

Bikeway Pavement Marking,


Level 3: Intersection Treatments
Berkeley, CA
The critical locations on a neighbourhood bikeway are where these
facilities intersect major roads. Crossing treatments can be used to assist
cyclists, pedestrians and others in crossing major roads, and to minimize
potential conflicts with motor vehicles. The type of crossing treatment
depends on the width of the intersecting road, the volume of motor
vehicle traffic, and the number of cyclists, pedestrians and others using
the crossing. The range of crossing treatments that are typically
considered where neighbourhood bikeways intersect major roads are
discussed below:

Median islands incorporate a raised island located on the


centreline of the road, separating opposing directions of motor
vehicle traffic. Median islands at marked crossings make it
easier for pedestrians, cyclists and others to cross the roadway,
as they only need to wait for a gap in one direction of motor
vehicle traffic in order to cross half the road at a time. Median
islands can also be extended through an intersection to obstruct
turning movements to and from the side street, thereby
reducing motor vehicle traffic volumes at the intersection and
along the bicycle route.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Median Island
Minimize stops at local street crossings. Stop signs increase cycling
time and energy expenditure due to frequent starting and stopping,
leading to non-compliance by both cyclists and motorists alike, or use
of other routes. Neighbourhood bikeways should minimize the number
of stops along the route by re-orienting stop sign so that they do not
face the direction of the neighbourhood bikeway and instead control
cross traffic. If an intersection control must be used, yield signs are
preferred. However, after the intersection is modified, an increase in
motor vehicle volume or speed along the route may occur. This can be
mitigated by providing traffic calming measures.

Signalized crossings are used where the number of people crossing the
Bicycle Activated Pushbutton roadway is higher, and where motor vehicle traffic volumes and
speeds are higher. Signals can only be activated by cyclists and
pedestrians who must push a button, as shown in the figure below.
Motor vehicles on the side street cannot activate the signals. The
pushbutton should be installed at the edge of the roadway so cyclists
do not need to dismount to activate the signal.

Bicycle loop detectors at traffic signals are marked so that cyclists


know where to position their bicycles to activate the detector. In
many cases, the same detector that is used for automobiles can be
used for bicycles. At intersections with bicycle lanes, additional
detectors may be required in the bicycle lane.
Bicycle Loop Detector Pavement
Marking Bicycle Loop Detector

Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada


BC Recreation and Parks Association 9
Spring 2011
Crossing at off-set intersections. Off-set intersections are created Two-Way Centre Left Turn Bicycle
when the “legs” of an intersection do not line up directly across from
Lane at Off-Set Intersection
one another. Bicycle lane turn lanes can be provided to provide a
designated space for cyclists the off-set intersection. This can include
creating bicycle left-turn lanes, which create space for two-way left
turns using pavement markings, or providing a bicycle left turn lane
with a raised median which creates a single protected left-turn lane
using a raised curb median.

Level 4 - Traffic Calming


Traffic calming measures consist of devices that provide either a
horizontal or vertical deflection in order to reduce motor vehicle speeds
and volumes and improve cyclist safety. This category refers to measures One-Way Centre Left Turn Bicycle
that do not restrict motor vehicle access but are effective in reducing Lane With Raised Median
speeds and volumes and improving safety for cyclists (measures that
restrict motor vehicle access, such as diverters and directional closures,
are discussed in the following section). There are several typical traffic
calming measures in this category:

Traffic circles are raised islands located in the centre of an


intersection, often replacing either uncontrolled intersections or
intersections controlled by stop signs. Traffic circles are effective
in significantly reducing motor vehicle traffic speeds, and also
eliminate the need for cyclists to stop as is the case where stop
signs are provided. Traffic circles also provide opportunities for
landscaping to improve the aesthetics of the bicycle route. Traffic Circle on Neighbourhood
Traffic circles can present a challenge if used on hills where Bikeway
cyclists can travel through an intersection at high speeds, and if
used where a high volume of turning movements are expected.

10 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Speed Hump and Signage Speed humps consist of a raised area of a roadway, which deflect
the wheels and frame of a traversing motor vehicle. They are
effective in preventing motor vehicle speeding, as they typically
slow motor vehicles to approximately 30 to 35 km/h traveling
over speed humps. Speed humps should be extended across the
entire width of the roadway, with gaps for drainage at the curbs.
They are typically accompanied by warning signage. Speed
humps and traffic circles are used in conjunction on many
neighbourhood bikeways.

Curb extensions involve extending the curb on one or both sides


of the roadway. Curb extensions provide benefits for pedestrians,
by reducing the crossing distance at intersections and improving
pedestrian visibility. They are also effective in reducing motor
Signage and Pavement Markings vehicle traffic speeds. Curb extensions provide opportunities for
at Curb Extension landscaping to improve the aesthetics of the bicycle route. In
some cases, cyclists may feel forced into the path of automobiles
if the curb extensions do not provide adequate spacing for
cyclists. TAC recommends the use of the “sharrow” symbol in the
centre of the lane in advance of the cub extension.

Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
Level 5 - Traffic Diversion
Traffic diversion measures refer to devices that restrict motor vehicle
movement at intersections, while allowing unrestricted movements for
cyclists and pedestrians. These devices are effective in reducing motor
vehicle traffic volumes on neighbourhood streets. However, it should be
noted that emergency vehicle access can be an issue with traffic
diversion devices. Municipalities should work with local emergency
services prior to implementing traffic diversion devices. Below are the
typical measures designers should consider in this category:

Diverters are barriers placed diagonally across an intersection,


forcing motorists to turn rather than travel straight through.
Diverters incorporate gaps for pedestrians and bicycles. Diverters
should be designed to permit through movements for cyclists and
diagonal movements for pedestrians and those using a wheelchair
or other mobility aid.

Bike Permeable Diverter

12 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Directional Closure
Directional Closures consist of curb extensions or barriers
constructed to the centreline of the roadway at an intersection
to prevent one direction of motor vehicle traffic while allowing
for two-directional bicycle traffic through the closure.

Right-In/Right-Out Islands are raised triangular islands located


on one approach to an intersection. When implemented with a
cut-through for cyclists, motor vehicle traffic is restricted only to
right-turning movements, while cyclists maintain the ability to
pass through the island.

Bicycle Cut-Through at Right In/Right Out Island with Bicycle Cut-


Right-In/Right-Out Island Through at Unsignalized Intersection

Right In/Right Out Island with Bicycle


Cut-Through at Signalized Intersection

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
Raised Median Island Through Intersection prevents left turns
and through movements to and from the side street. These
create the same effect as two opposing right-in/right out islands
because they prevent left turns and straight through movements
on both sides of the intersection. Gaps are provided for cyclists
and pedestrians and should be at least 2.8 metres in width to
allow adequate refuge for bicycles with trailers and tandems.
Raised median islands through intersections improve safety for
cyclists and pedestrians by reducing the number of conflicting
movements and by providing a refuge area while crossing the
roadway.

Median Island Through Intersection

14 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Full Closures to Motor Vehicles restrict motor vehicle access
while increasing connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists by
developing continuous non-motorized route connections that not
accessible to motor vehicles. They create a “dead-end” for
motor vehicles where a through street may have once existed
but provide full access for pedestrians and cyclists.

Full Road Closure

BC Recreation and Parks Association 15


Spring 2011
8.0 Other Considerations
Green Streets / Stormwater Treatments Public Art on Neighbourhood
Traffic calming and traffic diversion measures on neighbourhood bikeways Bikeway, Vancouver BC
(as well as on other streets) provide an important opportunity to achieve
other benefits such as reducing the impact of stormwater runoff. This can
be achieved through stormwater collection swales and pervious asphalt or
concrete. These design features capture excess stormwater runoff, filter
stormwater impurities, increase groundwater recharging, and reduce the
load of excess stormwater on existing drainage systems and can be
applied to a variety of measures such as curb extensions, traffic circles,
and medians. In addition to stormwater benefits, these techniques can
also help improve the environmental sustainability, help beautify the
landscape, and create a more attractive and livable environment.

Public Art
Public art can define the space along a neighbourhood bikeway, and is
also a great way to increase public involvement. The act can even be
functional, such as decorative bicycle parking. Ideas for public art along
neighbourhood bikeways include:
public competitions for artistic bicycle parking or intersection
Landscaping on Neighbourhood
mural designs,
Bikeway, Vancouver BC
commissioned sculptures that identify the termini of
neighbourhood bikeways, and
Themed artwork or logos that identify a particular neighbourhood
bikeway route.

Landscaping and Street Trees


Corridors landscaped with street trees and planted medians beautify the
streetscape and provide traffic calming benefits. Funding for landscaping
can come through partnerships with parks and recreation and
environmental services departments, as well as private funding sources.

Ideally, plants used for landscaping are native of low maintenance.


Cooperative agreements may be formed with nearby residents and
business owners to provide for minor maintenance activities such as
watering and pruning.

16 Course Manual
Lesson 4C – Neighbourhood Bikeways
Public Art Incorporated into Pedestrian Amenities
Pedestrian and Cyclist Amenities, The very design features that make neighbourhood bikeways great places
Vancouver BC to cycle also make them great places to walk. These features can be
further enhanced through the installation of pedestrian amenities such as
park benches, water fountains, and pedestrian-oriented street lighting
that create an inviting and comfortable pedestrian environment. The
addition of pedestrian amenities advances the notion that the benefits of
neighbourhood bikeways extend beyond cyclists.

9.0 Conclusions
Neighbourhood bikeways are an effective way to provide relatively low
cost cycling infrastructure that is desirable to a broad array of cyclists.
There are various degrees to which neighbourhood bikeways can
prioritize cycling over motor vehicle traffic, and include treatments
Pedestrian Amenities,
ranging from signage and pavement markings to those that reduce motor
Vancouver BC
vehicle speeds and volumes or even restrict motor vehicle access. In
addition to these treatments, neighbourhood bikeways can help create
more attractive, sustainable and livable neighbourhood streets by
considering stormwater treatments, public art, landscaping and street
trees, and pedestrian amenities.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 17


Spring 2011
BC Recreation and Parks Association i
Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Learning Objective ............................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline ..................................................................................................1

3.0 Description .......................................................................................................1

4.0 Applicable Contexts ..........................................................................................1

5.0 Benefits and Challenges....................................................................................2

6.0 Applicable Guidelines .......................................................................................2

7.0 Facilities ...........................................................................................................3

8.0 Conclusions ......................................................................................................5

ii Course Manual
Lesson 4D – Marked Curb Lanes
1.0 Learning Objective
Apply best practices to designing marked wide curb lanes (including
corridor treatments, and intersection treatments) and implementing them
in both existing and new roadways, while recognizing the constraints and
challenges that can arise.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by providing a general description of marked wide curb
lanes, summarizing relevant guidelines, and by discussing some of their
key benefits and challenges. The lesson then discusses the different levels
of marked wide curb lanes, including a share lane application and single
use application.

3.0 Description
Marked Wide Curb Lane, A marked wide curb lane is designed to allow sufficient width for an
Vancouver BC automobile to safely overtake a bicycle, without crossing over into the
adjacent or oncoming motor vehicle traffic lane. This shared use of a
wider curb lane also helps to assimilate bicycles into the roadway,
fostering a mutual respect between motorists and cyclists. However,
marked wide curb lanes may not be particularly attractive to most cyclists,
as they do not specifically designated road space for cyclists.

4.0 Applicable Contexts


Marked wide curb lanes are used on urban and suburban collector and
arterial roads, where higher motor vehicle traffic volumes require that
additional space be provided to accommodate bicycles, but where
insufficient space exists to provide bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, or shoulder
bikeways. Marked wide curb lanes should be used on roadways with
posted vehicle speeds of 60 km/h of less.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
5.0 Benefits and Challenges
The table below summarizes some of the key the benefits and challenges
of marked curb lanes.

Benefits Challenges
Safety Turning movements are operationally Inexperienced cyclists may be
simple but can present conflicts for uncomfortable riding in motor
cyclists attempting to turn [benefit?] vehicle traffic
Bicyclists are more visible in the Marked wide curb lanes too close
street to parked cars can result in
Educates cyclists how to share the “dooring”
road with other motor vehicles Conflict points at bus stops and
driveways
Convenience Provide direct routes to key On roads with high motor vehicle
destinations traffic volumes, marked wide curb
On-street facilities can be maintained lanes can present conflicts for
with other street maintenance bicyclists attempting to turn due to
activities volume and speed of motor vehicle
traffic
Cost Low cost, typically only involves
signage and pavement marking
Impacts Requires little right-of-way Does not separate cyclists from
Less maintenance required than motor vehicle traffic
bicycle lanes as they do not Conflicts with turning movements
accumulate as much debris at intersections,
Conflicts at driveways, bus stops,
and on-street parking

Users Suitable for commuters and more


experienced riders
Not appealing to interested but
concerned target market which
makes up the majority of potential
cyclists, thus can be less successful in
increasing mode share compared to
other facilities
Applicability Ideal for use along collector and Not appropriate on low
arterial streets in urban settings with automobile-volume residential
limited road right of way roadways or high-speed regional
roads

6.0 Applicable Guidelines


The TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads outlines several
guidelines for marked wide curb lanes. In particular, guidelines specify
shared roadway lane widths based on motor vehicle traffic volumes, as
follows:
2 Course Manual
Lesson 4D – Marked Curb Lanes
AADT 0-1,000 = Standard roadway lane – 4.0 metres
AADT 1,000 – 3,000 = Standard roadway lane – 4.3 metres
AADT 3,000 – 6,000 = 4.0 – 4.5 metres
AADT > 6,000 = 4.3 – 4.8 metres

The Guidelines for the Design and Application of Pavement Markings


recommends that marked wide curb lanes be identified by a bicycle
symbol with two chevron markings. These symbols should be spaced
every 75 metres or as conditions dictate, as well as immediately after an
intersection and 10 metres before the end of a block.

7.0 Facilities

Corridors
Marked wide curb lanes provide a means of accommodating cyclists
“Sharrow” Pavement Marking within existing roadways that do not have sufficient space to provide a
bicycle lane.

Marked wide curb lanes should typically be at least 4.3 metres wide
(excluding the gutter), which is 0.6 to 1.0 metres wider than a typical
motor vehicle travel lane. This additional width provides sufficient space
for an automobile to safely overtake a bicycle, without crossing into the
adjacent or oncoming motor vehicle traffic lane.

If on-street parking exists along the route, designers should allow a width
of 2.4 metres for parked motor vehicles, in addition to the 4.3 metres
required for the wide curb lane with stencils. This standard also allows
enough width for cyclists to avoid conflicts with opening car doors. The
width of a marked wide curb lane should not exceed 4.5 m, however, as
this would enable motor vehicles to pass other motor vehicles on the
right.

Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for


Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
A marked wide curb lane incorporates bicycle symbols and Dimensions of Marked Wide Curb Lanes
chevron markings (also known as “sharrows”) stencilled at and Placement of Pavement Markings
regular intervals on the pavement surface in the intended area
of bicycle travel. The symbols raise awareness to both cyclists
and motorists of the correct cycling positioning in the lane,
which serves to alert motorists to the potential presence of
bicycles even when there is no bicycle on the road. Because an
area of the roadway is identified for bicycle use, marked wide
curb lanes are more attractive than unmarked wide curb lanes
to casual and recreational cyclists who may be afraid of motor
vehicle traffic. The roadway stencils are also a means of
increasing awareness of bicycle facilities and encouraging
cycling.

On roadways without on-street parking, the centre of the


sharrow symbol should be positioned so that it is 1.0 metre
from the curb. On roadways with on-street parking, the
sharrow symbol should be located a minimum of 3.4 metres from the curb
to position the cyclist outside the car door zone.

Marked wide curb lanes do not include a white line separating bicycles
from other traffic, which means that some concerns regarding standard
bicycle lanes are avoided. Many motorists – and even cyclists – interpret
the white line to mean that cyclists are confined to the bicycle lane. With
marked wide curb lanes, on the other hand, motorists and cyclists both
recognize that cyclists are free to ride elsewhere on the roadway as
necessary (such as to make a left turn or when travelling through an
intersection).

Where the travel lane is reduced to a width of less than 4.0 metres, and if
the posted speed limit is 50 km/h of less, the stencils may be placed in
the centre of the travel lane to allow single file bicycle and motor vehicle
operations, referred to as a “single file” application. This application
should be considered only after reviewing the potential conflicts in this
application, particularly in situations with truck or bus traffic. This marking
should also be used in conjunction with a sign indicating a single file
application.

4 Course Manual
Lesson 4D – Marked Curb Lanes
Single File Application Intersections
Sharrow symbols may also be used to correctly position cyclists at
intersections in locations where guidance is of concern due to mandatory
right-turn lanes and where there is insufficient width for a bicycle lane.
This treatment is known as sharrows, or shared lane markings, and has
been experimented with for various uses TAC recommends that there be
a 1.5 metre gap between the tip of the sharrow and the bottom of the
bicycle stencil.

8.0 Conclusions
Marked wide curb lanes can be used on urban and suburban collector and
arterial roads, where higher motor vehicle traffic volumes require that
additional space be provided to accommodate bicycles, but where
insufficient space exists to provide bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, or shoulder
bikeways. Although they are less appealing to many cyclists, they are a
cost effective way in which bicycle facilities can be provided.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
BC Recreation and Parks Association i
Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Learning Objective ............................................................................................1

2.0 Lesson Outline ..................................................................................................1

3.0 Description .......................................................................................................1

4.0 Applicable Contexts ..........................................................................................2

5.0 Benefits and Challenges....................................................................................3

6.0 Applicable Guidelines .......................................................................................3

7.0 Facilities ...........................................................................................................4

8.0 Conclusions ......................................................................................................8

ii Course Manual
Lesson 4E – Shoulder Bikeways
1.0 Learning Objective
Apply best practices to designing shoulder bikeways (including corridor
treatments, and intersection treatments) and implementing them in both
existing and new roadways, while recognizing the constraints and
challenges that can arise.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by providing a general description of shoulder
bikeways, summarizing relevant guidelines, and by discussing some of
their key benefits and challenges. The lesson then discusses design
considerations for corridors and for conflict points at interchange ramps
and at railway crossings.

Shoulder Bikeway, 3.0 Description


Vancouver Island BC
Paved shoulders are provided on rural highways for a variety of safety,
operational, and maintenance reasons:
Space is provided for motorists to stop out of traffic in case of
mechanical difficulty, a flat tire, or other emergency,
Space is provided to escape potential crashes,
Sight distance is improved in cut sections,
Highway capacity is improved,
Space is provided for maintenance operations such as snow
removal and storage,
Source: John Luton Lateral clearance is provided for signs and guardrails, and
Structural support is given to the pavement which can extend the
service life of the road surface

Paved shoulders provide an opportunity to implement bicycle facilities,


referred to as shoulder bikeways. Similar to bicycle lanes, shoulder
bikeways are separate travel lanes designated for the use of bicycles (in
addition to the uses described above). They are located on the right-
hand side of the road and are identified with a solid white line separating
the paved shoulder from motor vehicle traffic lanes, and can include
bicycle signage and pavement markings placed at regular intervals.
However, it should be recognized that most paved shoulders throughout
BC Recreation and Parks Association 1
Spring 2011
the Province are not marked with bicycle symbols, although cyclists are
permitted to use most of these facilities. If pavement markings are
provided, the markings should consist only of the standard bicycle Shoulder Bikeway Pavement
symbol. This bicycle symbol should not be supplemented with a diamond
Marking Symbol
symbol as is the case with bicycle lanes, because shoulder bikeways are
not reserved exclusively for cyclists. Similarly, the bicycle symbol should
not be supplemented with the sharrow marking as is the case with
marked curb lanes because the bicycles and motor vehicles are not
sharing the travel lane. Because they are located in a shoulder area,
there is no parking adjacent to the paved shoulder.

4.0 Applicable Contexts


Shoulder bikeways are most appropriate for roadways that have higher
motor vehicle traffic volumes and speeds and which are located on
highways, arterial streets, and collector streets without curbs and gutters.
Adding or improving paved shoulders to accommodate bicycles often can
Source: TAC, Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada
be the best way to accommodate cyclists in rural areas, and can be a
relatively low cost solution to implement in many rural and highway-
oriented communities throughout the Province.

2 Course Manual
Lesson 4E – Shoulder Bikeways
5.0 Benefits and Challenges
The table below summarizes some of the key the benefits and challenges
of shoulder bikeways.
Benefits Challenges
Safety Turning movements are generally Beginner cyclists may be
simple uncomfortable riding in motor
Bicyclists are more visible in the vehicle traffic
street Often located on high speed, high
volume roads
Convenience Provide direct routes to key Paved shoulders can present
destinations conflicts for bicyclists attempting
On-street facilities can be to turn
maintained with other street
maintenance activities
Cost Lowest cost treatment, as shoulder Cost can be higher if insufficient
typically already exists right-of-way exists or ditch infill is
required
Impacts Requires little right-of-way Conflicts with turning movements
Separates cyclists from motor at intersections
vehicle traffic Conflicts at driveways and bus
Can increase bicycling, particularly stops
commuting
Users Suitable for commuters and more If adequate pedestrian facilities
experienced riders are not provided, the bicycle lane
may become a de facto sidewalk
Not appealing to newer cyclists
Applicability Ideal for use along rural collector Use along high-speed regional
and arterial streets roads requires greater separation
from motor vehicle traffic

6.0 Applicable Guidelines


Shoulder Bikeway, Victoria BC The TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads provides guidelines
for shoulder bikeways. The guidelines include standards for shoulder
width, which are the same as for bicycle lanes. Guidelines for the width of
shoulder bikeways range from 1.5 metres to 2.5 metres depending on the
speed and composition of motor vehicle traffic as follows:
Minimum width: 1.5 metres,

If motor vehicle traffic volumes exceed 6,000 AADT, or if trucks


exceed 10% of motor vehicle traffic volumes: 2.0 metres, and

If roadway speed is 100 km/h or greater: 2.5 metres.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
The TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada also provide
guidelines for crossings at low speed and high speed interchange ramps
and at railway crossings.

7.0 Facilities
Corridors
Shoulder bikeways are designated for the use of bicycles as well as other
travel modes as needed for safety, operational, or maintenance reasons.
They are located on the right-hand side of the road and are identified
with a solid white line and by signage and pavement markings placed at
regular intervals. Shoulder bikeways should generally be a minimum of
1.5 metres wide, although this has been reduced to 1.2 metres in some
communities as an interim standard. On roadways with a posted speed
between 70 and 80 km/h and between 5,000 and 10,000 motor vehicles
per day, a shoulder bikeway width of 2.0 metres is desirable. For
roadways with posted speeds in excess of 80 km/h and daily traffic
Paved Shoulder with Rumble Strip,
volumes greater than 10,000 motor vehicles, a minimum width of 2.5 m is Nebraska
desirable.

Shoulder bikeways should be paved and free of obstructions, such as


drainage aprons. If rumble strips are used to prevent motor vehicle drive-
off accidents, they should be located on the far left of the shoulder, within
150 millimetres of the white fog line, and should be a maximum of
300 millimetres wide. The remainder of the shoulder should be a
minimum of 1.5 metres wide. It should be noted that the Ministry of
Transportation & Infrastructure does not use continuous shoulder rumble
strips (SRS) where cyclists are permitted on the shoulder. Shoulder
rumble strips are installed in a skip pattern of 15 metres of SRS followed
Source: Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Centre.
by a gap of 3.5 metres in order to facilitate cyclist movement from the
Photo taken by Bob Boyce
shoulder.

Many existing gravel shoulders have sufficient width and base to support
shoulder bikeways. It is best to widen shoulders in conjunction with
pavement overlays for several reasons:
The top lift of asphalt adds structural strength,
The final lift provides a smooth, seamless joint,

4 Course Manual
Lesson 4E – Shoulder Bikeways
The cost is less, as greater quantities of materials will be
purchased,
Traffic is disrupted only once for both operations.

When shoulders are provided as part of new road construction, the


pavement structural design should be the same as that of the roadway.
Paved Shoulder Across Lower Speed
(<= 70 km/h) Diverging Ramp Facility
Intersections
Intersection treatments for shoulder bikeways are generally similar to
intersection treatments for bicycle lanes. Designers should pay particular
attention to intersections where a paved shoulder crosses a right-turn
only lane. When confronted with intersections where a paved shoulder
crosses a right-turn-only lane, bicyclists will have to merge with right-
turning motorists. Since bicyclists are typically traveling at speeds less
than motorists, they should signal and merge where there is a sufficient
gap in right-turning traffic, rather than at any predetermined location.

A dashed line across the right-turn-only lane is not recommended on


extremely long lanes, or where there are double right-turn-only lanes. For
these types of intersections, designers should drop all striping to permit
bicyclists to use their own judgment. A “Bike Xing” sign may be used to
warn motorists of the potential for bicyclists crossing their path.

Interchange Ramps
As paved shoulders are often located on rural highways, a key
consideration is accommodating cyclists though conflict points at
interchange ramps. The TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for
Canada provides guidelines for crossing interchange ramps for lower
speed roadway applications (<=70 km/h) and higher speed roadway
applications (>70 km/h).

For lower speed roadway applications, it is recommended to carry the


bicycle facility through the merge/diverge area using dashed lane
markings. In addition, TAC recommends optionally considering conflict
zone markings using “sharrows” can in these situations. In contrast, the
Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure recommends considering the

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
use of red coloured pavement making to mark conflict zones in lower
speed roadway applications.

For ramps along higher speed roadways, the high speed differential
between motor vehicles and cyclists introduces significant conflict if a
bicycle facility is carried straight through across the ramp, as motorists
may not expect to yield to cyclists. There are two ways to allow for
cyclists crossings at off-ramps:

Signage indicating the location further up the ramp where a


cyclist may cross. In this case, it is desirable to widen the
shoulder by 3.5 metres, in addition to the width of the shoulder,
to provide cyclists with a waiting area.
A jughandle crossing.

For high speed crossings, the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure


recommends the use of signage directing cyclists to cross only when safe.
At on-ramps, the signage option is used to guide cyclists across the ramp.

6 Course Manual
Lesson 4E – Shoulder Bikeways
Paved Shoulder Across Higher Speed (> 70 km/h) Diverging Ramp Facility Using
Signage and Waiting Area

Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

Paved Shoulder Across Higher Speed (> 70 km/h) Diverging Ramp Facility Using
‘Jughandle’ Crossing

Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada

BC Recreation and Parks Association 7


Spring 2011
Railway Crossings
Bicycle ‘Jughandle’ at Skewed Railway
Special care must be taken whenever a bicycle facility intersects railroad
Crossing
tracks. The most important improvements for bicyclists are smoothness,
angle of crossing, and flange openings, as described below:
Smoothness Rubber or concrete track guards should be used
between rails. Concrete performs better than other materials
under wet conditions and, when laid with precision, provides a
smooth ride. Rubberized crossings provide a durable, smooth
crossing, although they tend to become slippery when wet. If
asphalt pavement is used, it must be maintained in order to
prevent a ridge buildup next to the rails.
Angle of crossing The bicycle facility should cross the tracks at a
90 degree angle wherever possible. This can be accomplished
at skewed railway crossings with a bicycle ‘jughandle’. If the
skew angle is less than 45 degrees, special attention should be
given to the bicycle route alignment to improve the angle of the
approach, preferably to 60 degrees or greater, so cyclists can
avoid catching their wheels in the flange and losing their
balance.
Flange openings The open flange area between the rail and the
roadway surface can cause problems for cyclists, since it can
catch a bicycle wheel, causing the rider to fall. Flange width
should be kept to a minimum. On spur tracks and other rail
lines with speed limits of less than 15 km/h, compressible
flangeway filters can also be used to reduce the risk of a bicycle
Source: TAC Bikeway Traffic Control Guidelines for Canada
wheel being caught in the flangeway.

8.0 Conclusions
Shoulder bikeways are a suitable type of bicycle facility for many rural and
highway-oriented communities. Although they not be as appealing to all
types of cyclists as some other facilities, they are a cost-effective and
practical solution.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 4E – Shoulder Bikeways
BC Recreation and Parks Association i
Spring 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Learning Objective .............................................................................................. 1

2.0 Lesson Outline .................................................................................................... 1

3.0 Implementation.................................................................................................. 1

4.0 Operations and Maintenance ............................................................................. 5

5.0 Funding ............................................................................................................ 14

6.0 Conclusions ...................................................................................................... 20

ii Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
1.0 Learning Objective
To identify the strategies that can be used to implement on-street bicycle
facilities into existing roadways, as well as maintain and fund cycling
infrastructure.

2.0 Lesson Outline


This lesson begins by providing a toolbox of strategies for implementing
on-street bicycle facilities on existing roadways. A variety of approaches
are discussed including removing, reducing or reconfiguring motor vehicle
parking lanes, removing motor vehicle travel lanes, reducing motor
vehicle travel lane widths, removing or relocating obstructions, widening
shoulders, or considering alternate facility types or interim standards.
The lesson then provides an overview of general maintenance
requirements for on-street and off-street bicycle facilities, including street
construction and repair and regular maintenance activities, including
winter maintenance requirements. Finally, this lesson provides an
overview of some public and private sector funding sources that
municipalities can consider to help fund cycling infrastructure, as well as
other funding strategies that can be considered to take advantage of
other roadworks or development opportunities.

3.0 Implementation
This section presents a toolbox of strategies for retrofitting existing
streets with on-street bicycle facilities, with a specific emphasis on bicycle
lanes, shoulder bikeways, and marked wide curb lanes (examples of how
cycle tracks have been implemented in existing roadways are provided in
the Cycle Tracks lesson). On wide streets with sufficient right-of-way,
bicycle facilities can be provided with minimal cost. As noted in previous
lessons, bicycle lanes and shoulder bikeways are typically 1.5 to 1.8
metres wide with pavement markings taking the form of striping and
bicycle stencils, while marked wide curb lanes can be accommodated in
situations with less available space. These facilities create a predictable

BC Recreation and Parks Association 1


Spring 2011
environment for motorists and bicyclists by clarifying the appropriate
position for each user on a roadway.

The measures below represent various approaches for adding bicycle


facilities to existing streets. Although opportunities to add bicycle facilities
through roadway widening may exist in some locations, most major
streets require street retrofit measures within existing curb-to-curb
widths. As a result, the measures effectively reallocate existing street
width through striping modifications to accommodate bicycle facilities.

The retrofit measures described below are most appropriate for


addressing connection gaps and lineal gaps, though they could
supplement other measures to address corridor and system gaps.
Although largely intended for major streets, these measures may be
appropriate on some local or neighbourhood streets where bicycle lanes
would best accommodate cyclists. On streets with width constraints, it is
possible to provide bicycle facilities through the following options:
Accommodating Bicycle Lanes
remove, narrow, or reconfigure parking,
Through Parking Reduction
remove motor vehicle travel lanes,
reduce motor vehicle travel lane width,
remove or relocate obstructions,
widen shoulders (on rural roadways without curb and
gutter),
consider different facility type, or
implement interim standards.

The following sections address each of these strategies and


consider how they could be implemented.

Remove, Narrow, or Reconfigure Parking


Bicycle facilities could replace one or more on-street motor
vehicle parking lanes on streets where excess parking exists
and/or the importance of bicycle facilities outweighs parking
needs. For instance, parking may be needed on only one side of
a street to accommodate residences and/or businesses. The
figure at right shows how bicycle lanes can be provided by
removing one lane of parking. Alternatively, parking lanes can
be narrowed to 2.1 metres, particularly in areas with low truck

2 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
parking volumes, although design professionals should ensure that the
design does not place cyclists in the “door zone”.

Eliminating or reducing on-street parking also improves sight distance for


cyclists in bicycle lanes and for motorists on approaching side streets and
driveways. Prior to reallocating on-street parking for other uses,
municipalities should conduct a parking study to gauge demand.

Remove Travel Lanes


Removing a single motor vehicle travel lane — often referred to as a
“road diet” — will generally provide sufficient space for bicycle lanes on
either side of a street. Streets with excess motor vehicle
Accommodating Bicycle Lanes Through Lane capacity provide opportunities for bicycle facility retrofit
Removal projects. Under these conditions, bicycle lanes could take the
place of one or more vehicle travel lanes. Depending on a
street’s existing configuration, traffic operations, user needs,
and safety concerns, various lane reduction configurations
exist. For instance, a four-lane street (with two travel lanes in
each direction) could be modified to include one travel lane in
each direction, a center turn lane, and bicycle lanes. This can
also be accommodated on one-way streets. In many cases,
these one-way streets were originally two-way streets. This
can result in an excessive number of travel lanes in one
direction. Removing travel lanes also improves a street’s
attractiveness for other transportation users (e.g., pedestrians)
thereby improving liveability and quality of life for residents and
visitors. Prior to implementing this measure, a city should
conduct a traffic analysis to identify overall transportation
impacts, including transit and emergency vehicle circulation
issues. Studies from around the country indicate that this type
of lane removal can be used on streets with high-end traffic
volumes ranging from 22,000 – 30,000 vehicles per day.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 3


Spring 2011
Reduce Travel Lane Width
Vehicle travel lanes and on-street parking lanes Accommodating Bicycle Lanes Through a ‘Road Diet’
can be narrowed to provide dedicated bicycle
lanes on existing major streets. Generally, the
need for full-width travel lanes decreases with
posted speed, although minimum lane width
standards depend on the jurisdiction owning
the roadway under focus. Travel lane width
reductions can also reduce vehicle speeds by
creating a visual perception of narrowness for
motorists. The figures at left depict a major
street before and after vehicle travel lane width
reductions.

Remove or Relocate Obstructions


In some locations, roadway space exists to
provide bicycle lanes, but obstructions block a
clear path for cyclists. A common occurrence on neighbourhood streets is
for residents to place trash cans in a bicycle lane for pickup. Other issues
include drivers parking or pulling into a bicycle lane to make a drop off or
pick up. Strict enforcement should ensure that bicycle lanes are kept
clear, particularly shortly after they are constructed.

Widen Shoulders
Bicycle facilities could be added to some streets through shoulder
widening. Shoulder widening is most feasible on streets lacking adjacent
curbs, and on corridors with limited development immediately adjacent to
the street. Widening shoulders can reduce maintenance costs on motor
vehicle travel lanes since this reduces the chance that motor vehicle wear
and tear will cause cracking at the edge of the lanes. Shoulder widening
opportunities might exist along roadways in many rural and highway
oriented communities throughout the Province.

4 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
Consider Different Facility Type
Implementing bicycle lanes requires more road width from curb-to-curb
than marked wide curb lanes. Marked curb lanes can be considered where
there is inadequate width to provide bicycle lanes. For example, in a
typical urban environment with 3.5 metre travel lanes, 5 metres is
required to implement a 1.5 metre bicycle lane adjacent to the travel
lane, where a width of 4.3 metres could accommodate a marked wide
lane, or a width of less 4.0 metres could accommodate a marked wide
lane under single file application over short distances. Marked curb lanes
can be considered on retrofit projects where there are physical constraints
and all other options have been pursued, such as removing parking,
removing travel lanes, or reducing travel lane widths as discussed above.
Marked curb lanes can often be installed by narrowing the inner lanes on
multi-lane roadways, thereby reallocating roadway space so that the
outside curb lanes are wider.

Implement Interim Standards


In some cases, it may not be possible to achieve the recommended
widths for bicycle facilities. Interim standards can be considered on
retrofit projects that are intended to be replaced at a later date by an
improved bicycle facility to full standards. Interim standards should be
considered as a last resort where there are physical constraints and all
other options have been pursued, such as removing parking, removing
travel lanes, reducing travel lane widths, or considering alternate facility
types as discussed above. Minimum standards for interim facilities include
a minimum width of 1.2 metres for bicycle lanes and should be bikeways,
and a minimum width of 4.0 metres for marked wide curb lanes.

4.0 Operations and Maintenance


This section provides a brief overview of general maintenance
requirements for on-street and off-street bicycle facilities, including winter
maintenance requirements. The guidelines are presented as a menu of
options and considerations for maintenance activities, and not strict
guidelines. Safety for all road users is the top priority during construction
and repair activities.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 5


Spring 2011
Street Construction and Repair
The safety of all users of the roadway network should be considered
during the construction and repair process. Wherever bicycles are
allowed, measures should be taken to provide for the continuity of a
bicyclist’s trip through a closure. Only in rare cases should pedestrians
and bicyclists be detoured to another street when travel lanes remain
open.

Lane Closures and Detours


In order to accommodate bicyclists through various lane closures and
detours:
Bicyclists should not be led into conflicts with work site vehicles,
equipment, moving vehicles, open trenches or temporary
construction signage.
Efforts should be made to re-create the bicycle lane to the left of
the construction zone if enough space exists and it is safe to do
so. As noted previously, the recommended minimum width of a
bicycle lane is 1.5 metres.
Where there is insufficient space to provide a bicycle lane
adjacent to the construction zone, then a standard wide travel
lane should be considered. If steel plating is used, special care Correct Placement of
should be taken to ensure that bicyclists can traverse the plates Construction Signage
safely.
Contractors should be made aware of the needs of bicyclists and
be properly trained in how to safely route bicyclists through or
around construction zones.

Construction Signage
Signage for construction activities is often placed by the side of the
road, and is frequently placed in the bicycle lane. Signage actions
include:
placing signage related to construction activities in a location that
does not obstruct the path of bicycles or pedestrians, including
bicycle lanes, wide curb lanes, or sidewalks.
locating signs in areas where there are grades at the street-side
edge of sidewalks so as not to encroach onto a bicycle facility.

6 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
including detour and closure signage related to bicycle travel on
all bikeways where construction activities occur. Signage shall
also be provided on all other roadways.

Open Trenches
When plates are used to cover open trenches, the vertical transition on
the edges can puncture a bicycle tire and can cause a bicyclist to lose
control. Bicyclists often are left to their own devices to merge with
vehicles in the adjacent travel lane. The interim condition of the
trenches during non-construction hours is also of concern because steel
plates can be slippery, especially when wet. To reduce the negative
impacts of steel plates used in construction:
ensure that steel plates used as a temporary measure during
construction activities do not have a vertical edge greater than
0.6 centimetres without a temporary asphalt lip to accommodate
bicyclists riding over them.
consider using non-skid steel plates with no raised steel bar on
top.
consider requiring temporary asphalt (cold mix) around plates to
create a smooth transition and ensure the plates stay in place.
use steel plates only as a temporary measure during construction
and do not use them for extended periods of time.

Regular Maintenance
Like all roadways, bicycle facilities require regular maintenance. This
includes sweeping, maintaining a smooth roadway, ensuring that the
gutter-to-pavement transition remains relatively flat, and installing
bicycle-friendly drainage grates. Maintenance during the winter months is
a particularly challenging and important practice for bicycling. Pavement
overlays should be used to improve bicycle facilities.

Sweeping
Bicyclists often avoid shoulders and bicycle lanes filled with sanding
materials, gravel, broken glass and other debris. They will ride in the
roadway to avoid these hazards, often causing conflicts with motorists.
Debris from the roadway should not be swept onto sidewalks (pedestrians
need a clean walking surface), nor should debris be swept from the
sidewalk onto the roadway. A regularly scheduled inspection and
BC Recreation and Parks Association 7
Spring 2011
maintenance program helps ensure that roadway debris is regularly
picked up or swept clear of bicycle lanes and sidewalks.

To facilitate an effective sweeping initiative:


establish a seasonal sweeping schedule that prioritizes roadways
with major bicycle facilities and routes.
sweep walkways and bikeways whenever there is an
accumulation of debris on the facility.
make sure sweepers pick up debris in curbed sections; on open
shoulders, debris can be swept onto gravel shoulders.
pave gravel driveway approaches to reduce loose gravel on paved
roadway shoulders.
provide extra sweeping in the fall in areas where leaves
accumulate in bike lanes.

Snow Removal
Snow in the bicycle lane is a significant deterrent to bicycling during the
winter. Snowploughs often mound the snow on the roadway shoulder, in Cyclists can ride year-round where
the bicycle lane. Some cities remove snow completely, such as Montreal. adequate space is provided
Unless additional sidewalk width has been provided for snow storage,
snow ploughed from streets should not be pushed onto sidewalks as it is
an obstruction to pedestrians. Even when bicycle lanes are ploughed,
snow and ice can make bicycle travel slow and hazardous. Spot salting
intersections often creates a hazardous icy patch just past the melted
intersection. In addition, on streets where parking is permitted, motorists
park away from the gutter as snow builds up, which infringes on the
roadway or bicycle lane. Parking bans on key roadways can aid ploughing.

Due to the cost and resource needs of maintaining a clear bicycle lane, as
well as bicyclists’ concerns about icy surfaces, alternate routes such as
neighbourhood bikeways are particularly beneficial. On local streets,
bicyclists can ride slowly and cautiously with local traffic. Off-road paths
can be left alone for use by snowshoeing or off-trail cross-country skiing,
while it can be groomed for traditional cross-country skiing, ski-skating, or
snowmobiling. Off-road multi-use paths can also be cleared of snow to
provide a safe route. The City of Montreal has designated a White
Network of 63 kilometres that will be serviced throughout the winter.

8 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
Adequate drainage is an additional concern related to snow. Drainage
should be provided, and multi-use paths should have a crowned surface
with drain grates or ditches to prevent the refreezing of snowmelt into
ice.

Recommended action items involving snow ploughing include:


Snow removal should be undertaken on all on-street bicycle
facilities, as is done with motor vehicle facilities, to permit use of
bicycles in winter.
Streets with bicycle facilities should be prioritized for snow
removal.
Off-street facilities should be ploughed or groomed as appropriate
to the expected winter use of the facility.

Surface
Surface is a critical issue for bicyclists, as bicycles are much more
sensitive to subtle changes in roadway surface than are motor vehicles.

On-Street Bicycle Facilities


Various pavement materials are used to pave roadways, and some are
smoother than others. Uneven settlement after trenching can affect the
roadway space nearest the curb where bicycles travel. Sometimes
compaction is not achieved to a satisfactory level and an uneven
pavement surface can result due to settling over the course of days or
weeks.

Recommended action items involving maintaining the roadway surface


include:
Using the smallest possible chip for chipsealing the bicycle lanes
and shoulders.
Ensuring that on new construction, the finished surface of
bikeways does not vary more than 0.6 centimetres from the lower
edge of a 3 metre long straight edge when laid on the surface in
any direction.
Maintaining the surface of a roadway open to bicycle travel
smooth, free of potholes, and the pavement edge uniform.
Maintaining pavement so ridge build-up does not occur at the
gutter-to-pavement transition or adjacent to railway crossings.
BC Recreation and Parks Association 9
Spring 2011
Inspecting the pavement two to four months after trenching
construction activities are completed to ensure that excessive
settlement did not occur.

Off-Street Pathways – Paved Surface


Cracks, ruts and water damage will have to be repaired
periodically. In addition, vegetation control will be necessary on
a regular basis.
Where drainage problems exist along the pathways, ditches and
drainage structures will need to be kept clear of debris to prevent
wash outs. Checks for erosion along the pathways should be
made monthly during the wet season, and immediately after any
storm that brings flooding to the local area.
The pathway surface should be kept free of debris, especially
broken glass and other sharp objects, loose gravel, leaves and
stray branches. Pathway surfaces should be swept periodically.

Off-Street Pathways – Soft Surface


Soft surface trails such as compacted gravel and bark mulch are
often used in environmentally sensitive areas, and care must be
taken that the trail surfacing material does not spill outside the
established width of the trail itself.
Compacted gravel and crusher fines trails need to be swept
periodically to ensure that the trail material is not spilling over
and to fill in voids along the trail from dislodged gravel and fines.
Bark mulch trails need to top dressed annually, with particular
care paid to the established width of the trail to ensure a 4’ wide
trail stays a 4’ wide trail and does not grow wider with the new
application of the trail material.

Gutter-To-Pavement Transition
The path of travel for bicyclists is most often along the right edge of a
roadway. On streets with concrete curb and gutter, 30 to 60 centimetres
of this curbside area is typically devoted to the gutter pan where water
collects and drains into catch basins. On many streets, the path of the
bicyclist is near the transition between the gutter pan and the edge of
pavement. It is at this location that water can erode the transition,
creating potholes and a rough surface for travel.

10 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
Many streets’ pavements do not meet flush with the gutter, creating a
vertical transition between these two segments of the roadway. This area
can buckle over time and create a hazardous riding environment for
cyclists. Since it is the most likely place for bicyclists to ride on the
roadway, this issue poses a significant risk for bicycle traffic.

To maintain a smooth gutter-to-pavement transition:


ensure that gutter-to-pavement transitions have no more than a
0.6 centimetre vertical transition.
examine pavement transitions during every roadway project for
new construction, maintenance activities, and construction project
activities that occur in streets.

Drainage Grates
Drainage grates are encountered in the gutter area near the curb of a
Examples of Bicycle-Safe Drainage Grates
roadway. Drainage grates typically have slots through which water drains
into the municipal wastewater system. Many grates are designed with
linear parallel bars spread wide enough for a tire to become caught so
that if a bicycle were to ride on them, the front tire fall through the slot
and become caught. This would cause the rider of the bicycle to tumble
over the handlebars and sustain potentially serious injuries.

Pavement Overlays
If done carefully, pavement overlays are good opportunities to improve
conditions for cyclists. A ridge should not be left in the area where
cyclists ride (this occurs where an overlay extends part-way into a
shoulder bikeway or bicycle lane). Overlay projects offer opportunities to
widen the roadway, or to re-stripe the roadway with bicycle lanes. To
create safe pavement overlays:
extend the overlay over the entire roadway surface to avoid
leaving an abrupt edge.
stop at the shoulder or bicycle lane stripe if it is not possible to
extend the overlay over the entire roadway and there is adequate
shoulder or bike lane width – so no abrupt ridge remains.
ensure that inlet grates, manhole and valve covers are within 0.6
centimetres of the pavement surface.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 11


Spring 2011
pave gravel driveways to property line to prevent gravel from
spilling onto shoulders or bike lanes.

Vegetation and Pest Management


In general, visibility between plantings at pathside should be maintained
so as to avoid creating the feeling of an enclosed space. This will also
give pathway users good, clear views of their surroundings, which
enhances the aesthetic experience of the pathway. Under story
vegetation along trail corridors should not be allowed to grow higher than
1 metre. Tree species selection and placement should be made that
minimizes vegetative litter on the pathway and root uplifting of pavement.
Vertical clearance along the pathway should be periodically checked and
any overhanging branches over the pathway should be pruned to a
minimum vertical clearance of 3 metres.

The pathway system moves through a variety of landscape settings.


Some basic measures should be taken to best protect the pathway
investment. This includes brush removal 0.7 metres on each side of
pathways to prevent invasion of plants into the pavement area. Wherever
possible, weed control should be accomplished by mechanical means.
This is especially true along drainage ways crossing the trail. Innovative
weed control methods such as grazing and steaming should be explored.
Use of chemical sprays should be limited to use only on those plants that
are harmful to the public.

Litter and Illegal Dumping


Litter along pathway corridors should be removed by staff or volunteer
effort. Litter receptacles should be placed at access points such as
trailheads. Litter should be picked up once a week and after any special
events held on the trail, except where specially designed trash cans have
been installed throughout the municipality.

Alternatively, some pathways could be signed “pack it in, pack it out.”


This technique has been met with mixed results, but if maintenance funds
are not available to meet trash removal needs it is best to remove trash
receptacles.

12 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
Illegal dumping should be controlled by vehicle barriers, regulatory
signage and fines as much as possible. When it does occur, it must be
removed as soon as possible in order to prevent further dumping.
Neighborhood volunteers, friends groups, alternative community service
crews and inmate labor should be used in addition to maintenance staff.

Signage
Bicycle lanes, shared shoulders, bike boulevards and pathways all have
different signage types for wayfinding and regulations. Such signage is
vulnerable to vandalism or wear, and requires regular maintenance and
replacement as needed.

Best practices with regards to signage maintenance include:


replacing signage along the bikeway network on an as-needed
basis.
performing a regularly-scheduled check on the status of signage
for indications of vandalism, graffiti, or normal wear with follow-
up as necessary.

Maintenance Management Plan


Bikeway users will need to be managed during construction and periodic
maintenance activities when segments of bikeways may be closed or
unavailable to users. Users must be warned of impending bikeway
closures, and given adequate detour information to bypass the closed
section. Users should be warned through the use of standard signage
placed in advance of each affected section (“Bike Lane Closed,” “Trail
Closed”), including (but not limited to) information on alternate routes
and dates of closure. Alternate routes should provide a reasonable level of
directness and equivalent traffic characteristics, and be signed
consistently.

To implement an effective management plan:


provide fire and police departments with a map of the system,
along with access points and Knox boxes to gates/bollards.
enforce speed limits and other rules of the road.
enforce all trespassing laws for people attempting to enter
adjacent private properties

BC Recreation and Parks Association 13


Spring 2011
5.0 Funding
This section describes several funding strategies and potential funding
sources that municipalities may consider to help leverage their
investments and to maximize their ability to implement cycling facilities.
Note, however, that funding programs change regularly.

Local Government Funding and Implementation Strategies


There are a number of strategies and policies that local governments can
follow to fund and implement bicycle facilities, as described below:

Capital Plan Once municipalities have identified their planned


bicycle network, bicycle projects should be prioritized to identify
projects to be implemented over the short-term. These projects
can then be included in the municipality’s capital plan.

Road Standards Municipalities provide standards for implementing


roadway infrastructure in their Subdivision and Development
Control Bylaws. To ensure cycling infrastructure is provided on
new or upgraded roads, cycling facilities can be included in these
roadway standards.

Road rehabilitation Cycling facilities can be implemented as part


of ongoing road rehabilitation projects. Accordingly, municipalities
may adjust certain cycling infrastructure priorities (moved forward
or deferred) to reflect their plans for major roadworks. In
addition, many municipalities have established policies that
require consideration of pedestrian and cycling facilities in any
road rehabilitation project.

Other capital works Often cycling facilities can be implemented as


part of a separate capital works project. For example, cycling
infrastructure can be implemented in conjunction with sewer or
sidewalk improvements.

Development cost charges Municipalities can charge developers a


series of “development cost charges” (DCCs) on new
developments. The intent of these charges is to assist the

14 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
municipality in funding the costs associated with infrastructure to
serve a growing and changing community. These charges include
sewer, water, recreation, and transportation charges.
Municipalities can use the transportation and recreation DCCs
collected for bicycle infrastructure expenditures.

Cash-in-lieu parking Recent changes to the Local Government


Act allow municipalities to use funding from cash-in-lieu parking
reserves to fund alternative transportation such as bicycle
network upgrades.

Development opportunities Municipalities may require private


developers to construct bicycle facilities along roadways fronting
new developments. This represents an important contribution to
the community’s cycling network, but may offer the municipality
opportunities for providing more widespread cycling
improvements in conjunction with development. For example,
municipalities may choose to accelerate a given bicycle project to
complete a bicycle route if private development occurs along a
portion of that road segment.

Public Sector Funding


Municipalities may want to consider pursuing all available public sector
sources of funding for bicycle facilities and programs, including the
programs identified below. However, to take advantage of many of these
public sector funding opportunities the municipality is required to have
previously completed detailed designs and corresponding accurate cost
estimates. The costs of preparing detailed designs are often not eligible
for cost share funding — only the capital costs of construction are eligible.
As funding opportunities change regularly, the information in this section
is subject to change. Municipalities should regularly check with all levels
of government to keep up to date on funding opportunities.

Provincial programs. BikeBC is a provincial initiative to promote


new, safe and high quality cycling infrastructure through cost-
sharing with local governments. Further information about BikeBC

BC Recreation and Parks Association 15


Spring 2011
can be found at: www.th.gov.bc.ca/BikeBC. BikeBC includes the
three programs below:

o Provincial Cycling Investment Program (PCIP). This program


focuses on strategic investments to build important cycling
corridors of regional and provincial significance. Some possible
projects include new bicycle trails and bicycle lanes,
improvements to existing cycling infrastructure, and providing
for bicycle lockers and other equipment that makes cycling a
safer and more convenient option for travelers. Eligible projects
under this program could include regional connections to other
municipalities or major connections within the municipality that
make use of high quality cycling facilities such as off-street
pathways and bicycle lanes.
o Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program (CIPP). Through
this program, the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure
provides up to 50 percent cost-sharing (to a maximum of
$250,000 per project) for new bicycle facilities. The application
deadline for CIPP grants is varies each year. Application
information is provided at the BikeBC website.
o Gateway Program. The Province will invest a total of $60
million for bicycle facilities through the proposed Gateway
program, which includes twinning of the Port Mann Bridge,
additional lanes on Highway 1, and improvements to
interchanges. Fifty million dollars is to be spent on bicycle
facilities within the Gateway corridor, and a further $10 million
is allocated for cost-sharing with local governments for
improvements to bicycle routes and facilities that provide
connections to the Gateway corridor.

TransLink provides funding for bicycle facility projects in Metro


Vancouver through two means — financing of improvements to
roads which are included in the regional “major road network”
(MRN — generally, these are arterial roads and highways of
regional significance), and the Bicycle Infrastructure Capital Cost
Sharing Program (BICCS). MRN funding is generally allocated
based on the length of MRN roads within a municipality. The
BICCS program is intended to encourage municipalities to

16 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
construct more bicycle routes and remove physical barriers to
cycling. Funding is available through the BICCS program in both
“block allocations” on a per capita basis, and “regional needs”
funding based on a set of criteria including safety, network
contribution, demand and adherence to guidelines. Funding
through the BICCS program is typically up to 50 percent of the
project cost.

Infrastructure Canada manages several programs that provide


funding for environmental and local transportation infrastructure
projects in municipalities across Canada. Typically, the federal
government contributes one-third of the cost of municipal
infrastructure projects. Provincial and municipal governments
contribute the remaining funds, and in some instances, there may
be private sector investment as well.

Green Municipal Funds The Federation of Canadian Municipalities


manages the Green Municipal Fund, with a total allocation of
$550 million. This fund is intended to support municipal
government efforts to reduce pollution, reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and improve quality of life. The expectation is that
knowledge and experience gained in best practices and innovative
environmental projects will be applied to national infrastructure
projects.

Other federal programs At any given time, there are usually one
or more federal grant programs for which bicycle facilities would
be eligible. As an example, in the past, Environment Canada
provided grants through the Environmental Partners Fund for
bicycle-related projects, which demonstrated a benefit to the
environment and formed partnerships with the community.

Note that eligibility for some federal programs is limited to not-


for-profit organizations. By forming partnerships with local not-
for-profit organizations, municipalities can access a number of
alternative funding sources and grant programs for bicycle
projects. Also, because the primary applicant for funds is the not-
for-profit group, they are nominally in charge of the project. As
BC Recreation and Parks Association 17
Spring 2011
well, many of the grants available to not-for-profit groups from
the federal government are designed to provide jobs for people
receiving Employment Insurance. Therefore, in order to qualify,
the project must create new, preferably skills based, and only
those receiving EI are eligible to fill them.

Other Funding Sources


There are other sources of funding that municipalities can consider
financing bicycle facility projects and bicycling programs:

ICBC has, in the past, provided funding for bicycle facilities,


particularly where these have the potential to reduce crashes,
improve safety, and reduce claims costs to ICBC. Funding is
available through ICBC’s Road Improvement Program
(http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/safer-roads/invest-roads).

Private sector Mountain Equipment Co-Op is an example of a


business that provides funding that could be applied to bicycle
and pedestrian facilities and programs. To protect the
environment in areas having significant recreational value, and to
facilitate public access and recreational use of areas, Mountain
Equipment Co-Op supports applications from member groups and
not-for-profit organizations. Similarly, VanCity provides funding
through its Environmental Fund.

Many corporations wish to be good corporate neighbours — to be


active in the community and to promote environmentally-
beneficial causes. A bicycle network is well-suited to corporate
sponsorship, and has attracted significant sponsorship both at the
local level and throughout North America. Examples in B.C.
include Construction Aggregates in Sechelt, which constructed an
overpass over a gravel conveyor to provide a link for pedestrians
and cyclists, and 7-Eleven and Molson Breweries which have
sponsored multi-use pathways in Vancouver, Burnaby and New
Westminster.

18 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding
Deeds, donations and dedications In many communities, multi-
use pathways have been funded in part and in whole by local
residents who purchased “deeds” to sections of the pathway.
The Trans Canada Trail, for example, is funded partially by sales
of one metre sections for $40. Kelowna partially funded
development of a pathway along Mission Creek in Kelowna
through community donations. Similar to park bench dedication
programs, a dedication program can be set up for residents and
corporations to donate bicycle facilities, such as bicycle racks or
lockers. In many cases, these deeds, donations and dedications
are tax-deductible where they are administered by a not-for-profit
agency.

Service clubs Efforts to provide new bicycle facilities can be


coordinated with service clubs, such as the Lions Club, the Rotary
Club and Kiwanis. In Kelowna and Port Coquitlam, for example,
the Rotary Club provided funding for the construction of bicycle
facilities.

Advertising There are several options for obtaining funding for


bicycle projects from advertising revenues. The costs of
producing and distributing a bicycle route map can be partially or
fully offset by selling advertising space on the map. Advertising
on bicycle racks can reduce the costs of providing bicycle parking.
Potential advertisers include bicycle stores, commercial recreation
operators, hotels, restaurants and transportation services.

Parking Another potential source of revenue to finance the


construction and maintenance of bicycle facilities is to implement
parking charges for municipal motor vehicle parking facilities,
which are currently accessible at no cost. To minimize objections
to parking price increases, all funds generated from increased
parking charges should be allocated entirely to bicycle facilities —
no funds should be diverted for other purposes.

BC Recreation and Parks Association 19


Spring 2011
6.0 Conclusions
This lesson outlined strategies for implementing bicycle lanes on existing
streets, given a variety of constraints and roadway configurations. The
lesson also discussed standard maintenance needs and considerations for
bikeways, including best practices for accommodating bicycle travel
through construction zones and standard maintenance practices. The
lesson concluded by identifying a variety of funding sources and tools that
can be used to help implement cycling facilities.

20 Course Manual
Lesson 5A – Implementation, Maintenance, and Funding