In this manual, there are only two possible positions for cycling along roads and streets:
- Mixed Traffic – cyclists are in front or behind vehicles in a controlled speed environment;
- Cycling Lanes or Tracks – cyclists are beside vehicles in their own space.
In either situation:
- The expected position of the cyclist should be legible to all road users;
- There must be sufficient width for cycling.
If there is not sufficient space for a functional cycle lane as set out below, then a Mixed Traffic solution should be considered with an appropriate traffic regime. In other words, a substandard cycle lane is never recommended.
1.5.1 Determining Width
The designed width of a cycle facility is comprised of the effective width, i.e. the space that is “usable” by cyclists, as well as the clearances that will be required in different circumstances.
How wide is a Cyclist?
An individual adult cyclist on a conventional bicycle is approximately 750mm wide. A further 250mm will normally permit the use of accessories such as child trailers, panniers etc.
Cyclists always wobble or wander from side to side in order to keep balance, particularly at lower speeds. A provision of 250mm wobble room is normally sufficient.
Additional width should be considered where cyclists will be slower and wobbling more, e.g. approaching junctions, at bends, or on uphill sections.
1.5.2 Width Calculator
There are three basic elements that determine the width of a cycle lane or track, A, B, and C below.
- The space to the left of the cyclist;
- The space required to support the cycling regime (two-abreast, single file, overtaking etc)
- The space to the right of the cyclist.
There may also be additional width required depending on topography, traffic, locality etc.
The table below provides a simplified means of determining the actual width required for cycle lanes and tracks. Standard wobble is already built into the values in the table.
Where a cycle lane exceeds 3.0m in width, there may be some confusion with traffic lanes and a cycle track may be a better solution.
1.5.3 Tips for Additional Effective Width
Reduced Kerbs Heights between the cycle lane and footpath or verge, 50mm or lower, will not catch the underside of the pedal of the bicycle, and cyclists can cycle closer to the kerb.
Side Draining Gullies with a uniform camber provide more effective width for cycling than surface gullies / drainage channels.