Designed for Cycling

Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle parking (good practice)

There's hardly a destination where cycle parking isn't necessary - schools, businesses, stations, surgeries, shopping centres, to name but a few. This guide explains the best way of providing it.
Cycle parking

The importance of well designed, high quality and convenient cycle parking wherever it's needed (or potentially needed) must never be underestimated. It affects the chances of a bike being stolen or damaged; and it can even influence someone’s decision to cycle in the first place. Lampposts, railings or gutter pipes just aren't good enough.

Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle parking (Campaigning view)

It goes without saying that when people cycle somewhere, most of them will need a secure, convenient place to lock their bike for a while when they get there. Lampposts, railings or gutter pipes are simply not good enough.
Cycle parking sign
Headline Messages: 

There’s hardly a destination where cycle parking isn’t necessary – train stations, schools, surgeries, garden centres, shopping streets, to name but a few. See our guide to cycle parking for more on best practice.

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Short stay cycle parking should be based on the Sheffield stand design. Cycle lockers and more complex systems should be available at destinations where long stay parking is required.
  • Cycle parking should be located close to any entrance to required facilities. Where parking in public places is provided, such as in shopping centres and public transport interchanges it is preferable to maximise visibility to passers-by and CCTV.
  • All cycle parking facilities should have adequate lighting and if long-stay, protection from the weather.
  • The amount of good quality cycle parking in developments should be increased and cycle parking should be included in all new developments.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle lanes, tracks and shared use footways

Cycle lanes, cycle tracks or shared use footways separate cyclist from traffic to varying degrees. Are they always a good thing?
Shared use footway
Headline Messages: 

Cycle lanes

  • Cycle lanes are painted on the carriageway, and the surface is often coloured red or green (the chosen colour has no significance).
  • If the painted white line is solid, it means that the lane is ‘mandatory’ and drivers have to stay out of it, but cyclists don’t have to stay within it.
  • If the white line is dotted, it means that drivers are advised not to enter the lane, but it isn’t an offence if they do. To stop stationary cars blocking an advisory lane, it is common practice for councils to introduce parking, waiting and loading restrictions, so drivers must still observe the rules that any yellow lines impose on them.
  • Unfortunately, many cycle lanes are too narrow and not well maintained (see CTC View below).
  • Research suggests that the presence of cycle lanes may encourage drivers to overtake cyclists more closely than they would if the lane wasn’t there.

Cycle tracks and shared-use footways (pavements)

  • Cycle tracks or shared use footways are off the carriageway.
  • High quality cycle tracks alongside fast, busy roads, may well be welcome, and paths through parks, along canals, rivers, old railway lines etc can supplement the road network very usefully and help encourage people to take up cycling.
  • However, cycle paths away from the road aren’t always a complete, risk-free blessing.
  • There are some groups, such as the elderly, visually impaired and those with mobility issues who oppose sharing pedestrian facilities with cyclists.

Do cyclists have to use cycle facilities?

No, they don't - and CTC has always defended the right not to do so. Our Highway Code campaign explains why. 

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on infrastructure and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook (March 2004).

  • When considering the advantages of choosing cycle tracks or lanes and their design, highway authorities should refer to the hierarchy of provision. Implementation of measures higher up the hierarchy may make it easier to introduce cycle lanes or may render them unnecessary.
  • Except through protected cycle by-passes or to pass stationary traffic at junctions, the absolute minimum width for cycle lanes is 1.5 metres, but 2 metres is preferred and essential at higher speeds. Anything less than this deprives cyclists of road space and encourages traffic to pass too close.
  • Full width advisory lanes can be used on roads of any width, even the narrowest. Advisory cycle lanes should be thought of as indicators of the space cyclists need when they are being overtaken, not necessarily as exclusive space for cyclists.
  • Car parking restrictions should be introduced and enforced to keep cycle lanes clear.
  • Some local authorities have overused cyclist dismount signs. ‘Dismount’ signs are useful for pelican (not toucan) crossing sites, subways and other irresolvable design problems. White lining rather than ‘dismount’ signs should be used at side road crossings.
  • Wherever possible a cycle track should continue priority across side road junctions in order to maintain continuity for cyclists.
  • Local cyclists and pedestrians should be consulted on the impact of shared use facilities.
  • Shared use facilities could be greatly improved by using best practice in design to minimise conflict.
  • In particular, clear demarcation, would improve all shared use facilities.
  • Other improvements include: appropriate width; proximity to other users; quality of signing and markings; priority at side roads, accesses; good lighting; good maintenance and cleaning.
  • CTC encourages cyclists to be considerate of other users needs while using shared use facilities and either use a bell or give an audible call to let other users know they are coming.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Chris Peck's picture

Are we getting to the bottom of the pothole problem?

10 April 2012
Why are our roads are in such a bad state? A report on potholes by the Government has been published today.
A pothole recently formed on an old road work site

For the last few months CTC has been on the project board of a Department for Transport review into why potholes are created and what local authorities should be doing to prevent them from occurring. 

This review concluded with three headline recommendations:

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Cherry Allan's picture

Vehicle restricted areas (VRAs)

A town or city centre that restricts motor vehicles helps create an attractive environment for walking and cycling. Visitors, shoppers and residents usually feel the benefits too. Exempting cyclists is unlikely to cause problems because they tend to ride slowly or dismount when it gets crowded.
Headline Messages: 
  • Completely car-free zones, or areas where motor vehicles are restricted at certain times of the day (shopping streets, for example) are now common in many town and city centres. There are aesthetic, environmental, safety and commercial benefits for doing this, and it also helps make cycling and walking more attractive. 
  • Research commissioned by the Department for Transport found no real reasons for excluding cyclists from pedestrian areas; in fact, it showed that cyclists tend to take the initiative and slow down or dismount when it's busy (actually, it's difficult to keep balanced on a cycle anyway when reduced to a crawling pace).
  • However, as with all shared-use areas, there are concerns that people with mobility, sight or hearing problems could be put at risk if cyclists are allowed into pedestrianised areas. These issues can be overcome through good design and suitable signposting - and usually the problems are more perceived than real.

Cyclists respond to pedestrian density, modifying their speed, dismounting and taking other avoiding action where necessary."

Cycling in Pedestrian Areas (Traffic Advisory Leaflet 9/93), Department for Transport

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on infrastructure and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook.

  • Cycling should be permitted in pedestrian areas wherever possible. If pedestrian flows during peak shopping hours make this impracticable, cycling should be permitted in pedestrian areas from midnight to 10 am and 4 pm to midnight to allow usage by cycle commuters.
  • Where pedestrian areas interrupt cycle routes, safe and convenient alternative routes should be incorporated into the cycle route network maintaining the directness of the cycle route as a priority and ensuring cyclists can use the alternative safely.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Home Zones

Children play, or want to play, in streets; and people work and live in them too. Creating Home Zones is a good way to reclaim roads as community space, rather than just a means of getting from A to B in a motor vehicle.
Chester Home Zone
Headline Messages: 
  • While roads have a transport function, it is important to remember that they also intersect local communities. In other words, they are places where people live and work and where children play too. Home zones help communities reclaim their streets from motor traffic and stop them from becoming rat-runs.
  • This is done mainly by reducing the dominance and speed of cars and other vehicles by a variety of features (e.g. speed limits, traditional traffic calming, or planters, seats, trees etc). Typically, these streets do not carry large volumes of traffic, are short in length and the changes are supported by the local community.
  • Although home zones can promote road safety, the main benefit is that people start looking at streets differently. It becomes clear that the space is not exclusively for vehicle use, but can cater for a much wider range of community activities - playing, chatting, gardening etc.
  • The  Government's planning policy for England (National Planning Policy Framework, March 2012), says that developments should (amongst other things) be located and designed to "create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between traffic and cyclists or pedestrians, avoiding street clutter and where appropriate establishing home zones".
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on infrastructure and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook.

  • Local authorities should use their powers under the terms of section 268 of the Transport Act 2000, or section 74 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001, to designate home zones where the community requests it.
  • When designing home zones, authorities and planners must consider the needs of cyclists, avoiding where possible design which creates pinch points or chicanes (see also our page on traffic calming).
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Traffic calming

The speed of motor traffic not only aggravates local communities, but also puts people off cycling. There are a number of measures that encourage and enforce slower driving, including physical traffic calming (e.g. speed humps).
Headline Messages: 
  • The aim of traffic calming is to slow down the average speed of motor vehicles. In doing so, it reduces the speed differential between them and other road users and helps make road conditions safer and more attractive for cycling.
  • Traffic calming measures include physical alterations to the horizontal and vertical alignment of the road, e.g. speed humps and road narrowings such as chicanes.
  • If done badly, though, traffic calming can push cyclists and motorists riskily together through pinch points (e.g. at built-out sections of kerb), or force cyclists to veer or struggle (e.g. round or over a speed hump that’s been put in an awkward place or doesn’t have enough clearance from the kerb). Good traffic calming should help people follow the guidance given by national standards cycle training, not do the opposite - riding in the gutter, for example.
  • Traffic calming can be used as part of a package of other speed reducing measures, including 20 mph limits. Nowadays, however, local authorities have been given much more flexibility over introducing these limits without paying for costly physical infrastructure to enforce them.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on traffic calming and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook (March 2004).

  • Traffic calming can benefit cyclists by reducing the speed of traffic, provided it is of a cycle-friendly design. Vertical deflection can be very effective at slowing traffic but the ramps must have long, smooth profiles, approximating to a sinusoidal shape.
  • Wherever possible the introduction of pinch points that squeeze cyclists, e.g.: by providing central refuges, should be avoided. At 30 mph the minimum width beside a refuge that allows safe overtaking without intimidation is 4.5m. Only below 20 mph should narrower widths be considered.
  • Pinch points should not be introduced without consultation with local cyclists. Where such a measure is unavoidable, the Transport Research Laboratory has identified optimum widths for pinch points.
  • A very effective way to calm traffic in a benign manner is to have reduced priority at all junctions, such as the use of all-way give-ways in other countries.
  • There is a range of subtle but effective 'natural' or 'traditional' methods of traffic calming which can also be employed, such as are implemented in Home Zone schemes.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Junctions and crossings

As 75% of cyclists' collisions happen at or near junctions, it's essential to do everything possible to make them safe for cycling.
Headline Messages: 

Three-quarters of cyclists' collisions happen at or near junctions, so providing cycle lanes or paths that stop short of one (or at it), doesn't help tackle one of the most serious hazards that cyclists face on the road network.

Apart from training people how to negotiate junctions safely and confidently, there are several things that road engineers can do to make these locations more cycle-friendly in the first place.

Signalled junctions, for instance, are usually better than roundabouts, while well planned, designed and implemented Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), special cycle phases and detectors can be particularly helpful.

If there’s no avoiding a roundabout, it can be improved for cyclists by narrowing the circulatory carriageway, minimising the number of entry and exit lanes, and slowing drivers down by making the entry and exit angles tighter.

Shared-use pedestrian and cycle crossings

Cyclists tend to prefer direct routes – and safe ones, of course. Consequently, they often want to cross a road, but not necessarily at a road traffic junction (although once they’ve used the crossing, they may need to rejoin the carriageway).

Toucans (light controlled crossings shared with pedestrians) usually provide a very workable arrangement; and for very busy roads, high quality subways or bridges are not only often welcome to cyclists, but can also help connect communities severed by an otherwise impassable road. 

Cycle path crossings of side roads

Cycle paths alongside the carriageway are often intersected by side roads or driveways. Cyclists are rarely given priority over them and these locations can put them at risk. There are engineering measures that can help make drivers more aware of cyclists at these points (e.g.raised tables over the crossing).

 

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on infrastructure and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook.

  • Features such as advanced stop lines (ASLs), priority approaches and special cycle phases should be incorporated at junctions.
  • Signalled junctions are often preferable to roundabouts. However mini-roundabouts may be used as a speed control measure in traffic calming schemes and this may benefit cyclists.
  • Increasing the entry deflection, narrowing the circulatory carriageway and providing circulatory lane markings can improve safety on roundabouts.
  • Loop-detectors controlling traffic signals should be tuned to detect cyclists.
  • All new schemes should be audited for cycle friendliness and as much of the existing transport network should be reviewed likewise.
  • Subways and overbridges should be of high quality with good sightlines, sensible gradients, lighting and sufficient width. Converted footways are generally disliked by pedestrians and cyclists and should be avoided by transport planners. Low cost schemes to convert existing subways into shared use facilities are rarely satisfactory. Overbridges should be cycle friendly and not have steps.
  • Toucan crossings are shared light controlled crossings. They allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross roads in safety, and are a good example of workable and cost effective facilities.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle Infrastructure Design (DfT 2008)

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

We hope the following helps steer you through Cycle Infrastructure Design (CID), highlighting its most useful and welcome guidance, but also alerting you to some areas that are less than perfect. This briefing is by no means exhaustive, however - it is not intended to be a substitute for reading the guidance itself!

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York cycle campaigners attempt to save key cycle route

CTC cycle campaigners from York do battle to retain the road layout at Water End junction, which includes an advisory cycle lane. Some local residents have claimed since it was introduce it has caused increased traffic congestion. Local campaigners are fighting for it to stay on safety grounds.
Water End Junction

The City of York built the suburban orbital cycle route as part of its three year Whitehall-funded Cycling Demonstration City programme.

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  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541

 

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