Bicycle Network: Good Design Guides
Kerbside Running Bike Lanes
For bike lanes on roads with car parking, extra separation from traffic can be achieved by "flipping" the bike lane and the car parking and putting the bike space 'kerbside'. Examples in Melbourne include the north end of Swanston St and Albert St. The Albert St lanes use a painted chevron zone with vibraline and flexible poles to separate the bike lane from the parked cars or moving vehicles while the Swanston St lanes use kerb islands.
More separation for bikes on existing roads - kerbside running bike lanes
Kerbside running bike lanes are one way to provide more separation of bike riders from motor vehicle traffic. They put bike riders in lanes alongside the kerb and separated from moving motor vehicles as opposed to "normal" bike lanes which usually have bike riders riding between parked cars and traffic. See the Information Sheet on Kerbside Running Bike Lanes prepared in Sept 2010 by Alta Planning in the US.
By providing extra separation, kerbside running bike lanes have the potential to encourage more people to ride who might not otherwise (the "maybe riders") as they are intimidated by riding next to moving vehicles.
Swanston St, Melbourne
Narre Farimagsgade, Copenhagen
Grand St, New York
Kerbside running lanes are common in Europe and are being used more often in the United States and Australia. They are sometimes called Copenhagen style bike lanes, although in that city the lanes are usually grade-seperated.
Kerbside running bike lanes are most commonly achieved by "flipping" normal bike lanes so that the parked cars sit between the bike lane and the moving vehicles so bike riders no longer travel alongside moving vehicles. The parked cars provide the separation from moving vehicles. As most cars carry only the driver, this minimises the number of potential conflict between moving bike riders and people disembarking from cars as the passenger door is less often opened.
Still, space needs to be provided for this to happen by providing a buffer between the parked cars and the bike lane. Care also need to be taken across driveway entrances and up to and across intersections as the bike lane is less visible to the traffic lane. Examples in Melbourne are Swanston St from Victoria Pde to Melb University where and Albert Street in East Melbourne.
Case Study - Albert St, East Melbourne
Albert St, East Melbourne is the latest kerbside running bike lane installed in Melbourne. It is also the first installed on a street with clearways where parking is not allowed during peak hours to allow an extra lane of moving traffic. To accommodate the kerbside bike lane the street has been configured with "floating" car parking - in peak hours the bike lane runs next to moving vehicles and other times it runs next to parked cars. This allows the street to retain its motor vehicle traffic capacity and adds the extra capacity of a bike lane (which can carry twice as many people on bikes as a motor vehicle lane).
Albert St uses a painted strip with chevron markings and vibraline to provide the buffer between bike lane and either the parked cars (non-peak hours) or moving vehicles (peak hours). This is enhanced coming up to intersections with flexible white poles which prevent motor vehicles straying into the bike lane. See configuration diagram and pictures below.
Swanston St, Carlton, in comparison, has full time parking and the kerbside running bike lane runs between the kerb and parked cars at all times (except at intersections). The buffer between the bike lane and parked cars is provided by kerb islands which have been pegged into the road way.
|Before installation - no bike lane. Bikes shared travel lane or rode in parking lane until encountering stopped vehicle then they had to merge with moving vehicles||During installation - the parking bays are marked and the location of the separation zone.||
After installation - green bike lane installed with chevron separation zone, vibra-line and flexible white traffic p
Albert St, before during and after installation of the kerbside running bike lanes (with floating car parking). The kerbside bike lane allows the addition of an extra travel lane (the bike lane) while retaining motor vehicle lanes during peak hours.
|Non Peak Hours - parking is allowed and the bike lane is separated from traffic by parked cars and the marked chevron separator. Notice the car door open in the background and the rider passing.|
|Peak Hours - during the morning peak, parking is not allowed on the inbound side of the road and the bike lane is separated from motor vehicle traffic by a marked separator with chevron marking and flexible poles at intersections. (The poles were not there when the photo above was taken two days earlier - they were added to stop motor vehicles gathering in the bike lane for turning left)|
|View from the bike lane at the approach to an intersection. Notice the increased visibility and protection for the bike lane using green painted lane, chevron markings, vibra-line and flexible plastic poles. The coloured bike lane currently stops as the left turning lane - it should continue across this lane so people driving motor vehicles are aware of the continuity of the bicycle lane, especially when it emerges from behind parked cars in non-peak hour times (as shown here).|
|Bike riders using the lane during peak hours. The bike lane caters for all types of people - its not just for the lycra clad. By providing separation from moving vehicles it will encourage more "maybe" riders to get on their bikes. The width of the bike lanes plus the extra width provided by the chevron marked separator allows room for bike riders to pass each other. You can see this happening in the background.|
|The marked chevron separator also allows room for people to disembark from their cars without blocking the bike lane. Here a lady is taking her baby from her seat and so spends some time standing in the marked chevron zone. Most cars will only carry the driver so this circumstance is less common than if the bike lane was on the other side of the parked cars. Bike riders are expected to slow down when passing someone disembarking.|
|Here is the same stretch of road further east where the bike lane has not been installed. Bike riders are expected to share the travel lane with cars and opening car doors. This is a much more intimidating scene for bike riders. People driving cars are also confused about how to share the space with slower moving bicycles.|