Bicycle Facility Design

Bicycle Facility Design
Bicycle
Facility Design
by
Richard C. Moeur, P.E., L.C.I.
April 2004 edition
What is a "Bicycle Facility"?
Bicycle Facility:
Improvements and provisions to
accommodate or encourage bicycling
Any roadway not specifically
prohibited to cycling
is a bicycle facility
However...
Not all existing roadways
necessarily make good bicycle
facilities
How can we improve conditions
for bicyclists?
Good Bicycle Facility Design:
Treats bicyclists as operators of
vehicles
Encourages operation in accordance
with traffic flow and traffic law
Connects destinations in a
continuous network
Accommodates cyclists without
inconvenience or extra travel
distance/time
Good Bicycle Facility Design
DOES NOT:
Treat bicyclists like "wheeled
pedestrians"
Require bicyclists to operate in an
unpredictable, unexpected, or
unsafe manner
Encourage bicyclists to violate
traffic laws
Design References
AASHTO Guide to Development of
Bicycle Facilities
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices (MUTCD), Part 9
FHWA Documents and reports
(available from bicyclinginfo.org)
Bicycle Operating
Characteristics
Bicyclists are not pedestrians
Bicycles cannot turn instantly –
turning radius is based on speed
Bicycles cannot stop instantly –
stopping distance is based on speed
Bicycles are only 2 feet wide –
but require 4 to 6 feet of clear
width (for "shy distance")
Bicyclist Characteristics
Skilled Cyclists
Basic Cyclists
Child Cyclists
When accommodating less skilled
cyclists, do not make conditions
more difficult for skilled cyclists
Where are the real dangers
to cyclists?
Motor vehicle/bicycle crashes
typically have high severity
...but comprise less than 1/3 of all bike crashes
Facilities that are perceived to be
safer can actually increase
overall crash risks for cyclists
Bicycle Crash Types
All non-MV related bike crashes - 69%
Bicyclist failed to yield - 9%
Motorist failed to yield - 7%
Bicyclist turn/merge into motorist - 2%
Motorist turn/merge into bicyclist - 4%
Motorist overtaking bicyclist - 3%
Other circumstances - 6%
Source: Federal Highway Administration
• Bicycle Crash Types: A 1990s Informational Guide
• Injuries to Bicyclists & Pedestrians - An Analysis Based on Emergency Department Data
All other non-motor vehicle
related bike crashes
Facility Selection
Two basic types:
On-roadway & off-roadway
On-roadway:
Wide curb lanes
Shoulders
Bike lanes
Off-roadway:
Pathways
On-Roadway Facilities
Wide Curb Lanes
Shoulders
Bike Lanes
Sidewalks should never be considered
to be an acceptable alternative to
on-roadway accommodations
Wide Curb Lanes
Typically 14-16 ft wide from
lane line to face of curb
Serve cyclists and motorists
safely and conveniently
Less skilled cyclists may be
reluctant to use the lane, and
may instead use the sidewalk
Shoulders
4 ft minimum clear width
recommended for bicycle use
Create a place for cyclists to
operate adjacent to traffic
Not typically used in urban areas
Can accumulate debris, parked
vehicles, etc.
Can create conflicts between
cyclists and turning vehicles
Bike Lanes
4 ft minimum clear width
Create defined road space for
cyclists
Typically used in urban / suburban
areas
Can accumulate debris, gravel, etc.
Should not be placed in "door zone"
of parked cars
Pathways
Serve pedestrians and other users
Preferred by recreational cyclists
May be scenic and esthetically
pleasing
Can form valuable links in a
transportation network when
placed on independent
alignments
Problems with Pathways
Conflicts between different
user types
Users may be less attentive
Crossings of roadways may
cause problems
Pathways parallel and adjacent to
roadways create severe intersection
and driveway conflicts
Are Pathways Safer?
70% of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes
occur at intersections and driveways
Very few bicycle crashes involve
overtaking vehicles
Unless grade-separated, pathways
still have intersection conflicts often severe
Children are still at greater relative
risk at intersections & driveways
Other Pathway
Design Issues
Offset between the path and
adjacent roadway does not ensure
safety
Requiring cyclists to yield at
intersections and driveways or
operate at pedestrian speeds may
not be feasible or reasonable
Two-way path on one side of street
encourages wrong-way operation
Legal Issues of
Parallel Pathways
If we tell cyclists that it is not OK
to ride against traffic here...
...then how can we say it’s OK to
ride against traffic here?
Wrong-Way Cycling Hazard –
Left Turn from Parallel Road
n
f visio
cus o
er's fo
Driv
Dr
ive
r's
fo
c
us
o
fv
isi
on
Correct bicyclist
is easily seen
Wrong-way bicyclist can't be seen
until just before impact
Wrong-Way Cycling Hazard –
Right Turn from Cross Road
Correct bicyclist
is easily seen
Wrong-way bicyclist won't be seen
Driv
er's
foc
us
of v
isio
n
Wrong-Way Cycling Hazard –
Left Turn from Cross Road
ion
s
i
v
of
s
u
oc
f
r's
e
Wrong-way
v
i
bicyclist can't be seen
Dr
until just before impact
Correct bicyclist
is easily seen
Driv
er's
focu
s of
visio
n
So, Finally...
There are many ways to
accommodate bicyclists
It's extremely important to
accommodate cyclists in
reasonable, convenient, and
safe ways
Select the correct type of facility,
then design it properly
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