infrastructure

ElizabethBarner's picture

Infrastructure and Equity: Discussions from the Youth Bike Summit in NYC

CTC's Development Officer in Leicester, Elizabeth Barner, is from the US originally. By simple serendipity, she was able to attend a day of the Youth Bike Summit in New York in February and was amazed by the changes she found.
Manhattan bike lane and info form NYC DoT

"It’s been five years since I was in NY just to talk about cycling*, and the whole of the city has changed since then. While there was too much snow to see much infrastructure or bike sharing, it’s very special to be in a city that makes headlines about cycling. And very exciting to be amongst people who have been studying cycling infrastructure as well as community and social cycling programmes.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Contra-flow cycling (2-way cycling in 1-way streets)

Allowing cyclists to ride two-way in one-way streets makes cycling more convenient and attractive...
Contra-flow street
Headline Messages: 
  • Allowing cyclists to ride two-way in one-way streets makes cycling in town and cities more convenient by opening up the street network and providing short-cuts. It can also help make cycling safer by offering alternatives to busy roads.
  • Contra-flow works well in many other European countries, where it is already widespread.
  • As it gives cycling an advantage over driving, contra-flow helps encourage a shift from cars to cycles for short local journeys.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • One-way systems put cyclists at a disadvantage, making their journeys longer and more stressful. Restoring two-way cycling on one-way streets can significantly improve the safety, convenience and attractiveness of cycling.
  • Each local authority should review all its one-way streets, with the aim of progressively converting them either for two-way use (particularly for one-way systems on more major roads), or permitting contra-flow cycling (e.g. on narrower streets), unless it can be demonstrated that there are overriding hazards to the safety of cyclists.
  • Contra-flow cycling should be facilitated through appropriate engineering treatments, depending on the traffic volumes, speeds and road widths involved.
  • In many cases, e.g. on quieter roads, unsegregated two-way cycling on an unmarked road is an appropriate solution. More heavily trafficked one-way roads should be provided with contra-flow lanes.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
August 2013
Cherry Allan's picture

Road maintenance and lighting

All road users benefit from good road maintenance and effective lighting. Cyclists, however, suffer more than most from defects in the surface, and councils don't always light cycle paths.
Cyclist reporting defect to CTC's www.fillthathole.org.uk
Headline Messages: 

Road surfaces

A rough road surface - or even a relatively minor fault in it - can make cycling not only uncomfortable, but extremely hazardous. Hitting a pothole, or swerving to avoid one can lead to loss of control, collisions and falls. Poor drainage, or sunken, raised or badly fitted drain covers can also present dangers, as can thoughtlessly installed cats eyes and road studs.

Indeed, well over 10% of the injury reports made to CTC’s Accident Line for members involve road defects.

There are all sorts of reasons for deterioration: passage of time and vehicles; harsh weather conditions; freeze/thaw; or simply neglect.

‘Street works’ carried out by statutory undertakers (e.g. water, telecom companies etc) often cause problems too – after the road surface has been broken into, repairs may not be particularly well done and not last long. What's more, there is a tendency to forget about cyclists whilst road works are actually being carried out - temporary traffic lights, for example, may not give them enough time to get past; or they may be sent on a long, relatively unsafe diversion.

Lack of funding has a lot to do with the poor state of the roads. The 2012 Alarm report (from the  Asphalt Industry Alliance) says that while there are signs that the situation in England and Wales is improving, there is still a projected annual shortfall of £800 million.

Debris

Broken glass and other debris tends to collect at the side of the road and, as this is where cyclists usually ride, is not only a puncture risk nuisance, but can cause cyclists to fall.  Regular sweeping - that doesn't forget about cycle paths away from the carriageway - is essential, therefore.

CTC's briefing on cyclists, vegetation and hedge trimmings offers some advice on what to do if you encounter a problem.

Lighting

Good lighting is, obviously, important for cyclists wherever they ride. Unfortunately, councils sometimes omit to light cycle paths away from the road, usually because of the cost. Riding along unlit paths at night can be hazardous, or make people feel insecure – meaning that even routes that are otherwise well designed may not be used to their full potential.

The highway authority is responsible for highway lighting, but it can pay district councils and parish councils to carry out further work   

  • CTC takes road defects so seriously, that we offer an online reporting tool - Fill That Hole - please use it!
  • For a discussion of road defects, plus an intriguing insight into how potholes form - see Roads to Ruin, an article by CTC's Chris Peck for Cycle magazine (Dec/Jan 2011/12).
  • In 2003, CTC gave written and oral evidence to the Parliamentary Transport Committee's inquiry into local roads and pathways, explaining why maintenance is so important to cyclists. The Committee agreed.

Local authorities and Government are letting cyclists down by failing to ensure the road network is kept in a condition safe for them to use. This must be a key factor in deterring potential cyclists and in the disappointing levels of cycle use.

Local Roads and Pathways (Parliamentary Transport Committee Report on its inquiry, 2003)

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Maintenance policies should prioritise cycle routes and facilities and the 1.5m of carriageway closest to the kerbside where cyclists commonly ride.
  • The positioning of drainage, cats eyes and road studs should be planned to avoid as far as is possible: cycle lanes; the metre strip on the left side of major roads and the kerbside within one metre of the carriageway.
  • Routine maintenance including cleaning and sweeping should be timetabled in respect of all cycle facilities
  • On busy roads, gully openings should be in the kerb face, rather than on the carriageway surface.
  • The highways authority should consider cyclists whilst exercising its powers of quality control during and after street works.
  • The Codes of Practice should safeguard the interests of cyclists.
  • Fines for individual defects should be sufficient to deter large companies such as the statutory undertakers from carrying out inadequate reinstatement.
  • A safe alternative facility for cyclists and/or pedestrians should be provided where streetworks obstruct a shared path or footway.
  • Cycle speeds should be taken into account in the phasing of all temporary traffic signals.
  • The standards of reinstatement established under the 1991 Streetworks Act should be maintained.
  • Personal security should be a consideration in the provision of lighting. Any defect in street lighting should be repaired within 48 hours of notification.
  • Cycle lanes or tracks should be lit where practical.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Roads to Ruin (Cycle magazine, CTC Dec/Jan 2011/12)

Unless our potholes are properly fixed, next summer’s Olympic road race could have echoes of Paris-Roubaix’s pavé. CTC Campaigns and Policy Coordinator Chris Peck explains why UK roads are so bad.
Reporting a road defect to CTC's www.fillthathole.org.uk

Occasionally when cycling in France you will come across a road sign that says ‘Chausée déformée’, followed by a section of road that is perhaps a bit on the bumpy side or contains the occasional pothole. I’ve always found this sign hilarious. If the standards used in France were adopted in Britain, there would be many roads where this sign would have to be erected every few hundred metres over their entire length.

Files: 
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
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
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