Bicycle Network: Good Design Guides
Good Design Guides
The six basic requirements for all bike riders, wherever they ride, are: ● Space to ride ● Smooth riding surfaces ● Speed maintenance ● Clear sight lines ● Connectivity ● Information
In the Good Design Guides pages we are gathering the advice that is available to guide the construction, maintenance and auditing of bicycle facilities.
This section will draw on work by government, researchers and engineering consultants to provide practical answers to the questions faced by those responsible for bicycle infrastructure.
The primary guides to designing bicycle facilities in Australia are published by Austroads.
In Dec 2009 the previous design guidelines for bicycles - the Austroads Guide to Traffic Engineering - Part 14, Bicycles was superceded by the new Austroads guides to Road Design and Traffic Management.
Part 14 (and other parts) have been "remapped" into these new Road Design and Traffic Management guides - see (file/mapping P14 bicycle sections into new guidelines.pdf). The primary guide for bicycles is the Austroads Guide to Road Design 6A: Pedestrians and Cyclist Paths which deals with aspects particular to bicycles and pedestrians - see description at right. Other Guides deal with bicycles as part of the road and transport network, for instance the Guide to Traffic Management Part 6 – Interchanges, Intersections and Crossings deals with bicycles in crossings and intersections. In March 2011 Austroads published a separate guide that collates much of the on-road design aspects for bicycle facilities. Cycling Aspects of Austroads Guides is available from the Austroads website.
Much of the design (and traffic management) advice for bicycles will remain the same or with minor changes. But, some advice specific for bicycles will be harder to find as it is now spread over many guides. One advantage may be that bicycles may be better integrated with other traffic modes.
We are updating the good design guide pages to incorporate the new guides as they come to hand.
There are also several state guides - in NSW , QLD, WA and the ACT for example. VicRoads produces parallel advice in the Cycle Notes series. City of Brisbane has a series of standard drawings for bicycle paths and furniture (under Roads starting at UMS 249 and Traffic from UMS 861)). The Australian Cycling Resource Centre, which is maintained by the Australian Bicycle Council is another good source of cycling information and design material.
On some design topics though, the Australian guides are lacking in detail or not clear (for instance slip resistance for bike path surfaces and recommended lengths of slope of differing grades). In these cases reference to overseas guides is useful. Amongst the most useful available in english on the internet are:
- the Presto fact sheets on cycling infrastructure provide excellent guidance on the how cities can be adapted to make cycling a daily transport mode
- In the United States, NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) has an up to date (March 2011) guide to Urban Bikeway Design that showcases numerous treatments currently used in US cities
- The Cycling Embassy of Denmark’s Collection of Cycle Concepts 2012 provides advice not just on facility design but the needs and potential of cycling and the role of urban planning. It is an update of the Danish Road Directorate has a comprehensive guide to cycle concepts (2000) - (7.12Mb file).
- The American Association of State Highway & Transport Officials have a Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities (1999, 2.39Mb file).
- Portland recently published a guide to Bikeway Design Survey of Best Practice (as an appendix to their bikeplan, published 2010, 2.86Mb file) which has some newer concepts.
- Chicago has a Guide to Bike Lane Design (Oct 2002, 1.18Mb file ) which has some good road geometry templates for roads of differing widths and road use (eg with bike lanes with buses).
- And the United Kingdom's Department of Transport published in 2008 a comprehensive Cycle Infrastructure Design Guide (3.27Mb file).
On this site we will provide a summary of the most important differences between the advice offered by the different guidelines.
Please send us your comments and suggestions.
(Above photo is Commonwealth Ave in Boston, MA, USA at University Rd. Google map it. Below is a street view map of the intersection before the bike lanes went in. Which would you rather ride?).