Cycle Infrastructure Design (DfT 2008)

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The Department for Transport (DfT) published 'Cycle Infrastructure Design' (CID) in 2008 to guide professionals on providing for cyclists on the highway network. The following is CTC's take on it, highlighting the most enlightened aspects of the guidance, but also areas where it could do better.
Cycle Infrastructure Design
Cycle Infrastructure Design

1) CID and basic principles

  • We are particularly pleased to see CID state that: ‘The road network is the most basic cycling facility’ (1.3.2, p10) and back this up with a restatement of the ‘Hierarchy of Provision’ (Table 1.2 & text, p10).
  • The Hierarchy prioritises measures to reduce traffic volume and speed, i.e. tackling the major deterrents to cycling on-road at source. At the bottom (i.e. the measures to consider last) are cycle tracks away from roads and - right at the bottom - the conversion of footways/footpaths to shared use. Importantly, CID emphasises this approach in its chapter on off-road cycle routes (8.1.2, p41) too.
  • It’s also good to see CID repeat the ‘Hierarchy of Users’, which is intended to assist in design, planning and development control decisions. It puts pedestrians first, followed by cyclists and public transport – and unaccompanied private car users at the bottom (1.3.4, p10).
  • Also, we welcome the fact that CID doesn’t just outline raw design principles, but gives the reasons behind its recommendations. It sets out how cyclists tend to ride and why they like and benefit from certain features and conditions, and not others.
  • Additionally, CID explains how drivers react to cycle facilities and cyclists, and how this should influence design. This helps ground the advice in road user experience, attitudes and behaviour, making it - and its more ‘counterintuitive’ stances - easier to appreciate. However, as you’ll see from below, we are disappointed that CID presents some (to our mind) safety critical requirements as optional.
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