BikeParts Wiki

Bicycle transportation engineering is the study of transportation engineering as it affects bicycles and cycling.


Several methods of altering or reallocating the roadway to decrease the potential for social friction during overtaking and passing have been added to many of the manuals used by road designers.

Shared space[]

Shared space schemes, which are characterized by the removal of road markings, signs and signals, give all road users equal priority and equal responsibility for each others safety. Experiences where these schemes are in use, show that road users, particularly motorists, undirected by signs, curbs or road markings, reduce their speed and establish eye contact with other users. Results from the thousands of such implementations worldwide all show casualty reductions and most also show reduced journey times.[1] Following the partial conversion of London's Kensington High Street to shared space, accidents were reduced there by 44% (the London average was 17%).[1]

Wide outside lane (WOL)[]

Wide outside through lanes help motorists pass slower cyclists without having to decrease speed or change lanes.[2] This method is held by someTemplate:Who to be particularly important on routes with a high proportion of wide vehicles, such as buses or heavy trucks. These lanes also provide more room for cyclists to filter past queues of other vehicles in congested conditions. The use of such lanes is specifically endorsed by Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities, the European Commission policy document on cycle promotion.[3]

Cycle friendly infrastructure argues for a marked lane width of 4.25 m (14 ft).[4] It is arguedTemplate:Who that, on undivided roads, this width provides cyclists with adequate clearance from passing wide vehicles while being sufficiently narrow to deter motorists from attempting to “double up” and form two lanes. This “doubling up” effect may be related to junctions. At non-junction locations, greater width might be preferable if this effect can be avoided.

Bike lanes and cycle tracks[]

Roads or paths which are not suitable for motorized traffic can benefit cyclists by providing more pleasant and efficient ways on which to travel than the main road network. Examples include green ways and routes through pedestrian precincts. In contrast are facilities within the right-of-way of public roads which are intended to separate cyclists as a class from other travelers (i.e., to segregate them). While segregated cycle facilities such as bike lanes and cycle tracks are often advocated as a means of reducing anxiety about cycling near motorists, their effects on safety, cycling promotion, and the right of individuals to travel freely is controversial.

Shared Bus lanes[]

File:Busspur und Haltestelle in Mannheim 100 9128.jpg

A bus and cycle lane in Mannheim, Germany

The sharing of bus lanes has been described as "generally very popular" with cyclists.[5] Guidance produced for Cycling England endorses bus lanes as providing cyclists with a direct and barrier free route into town centres and as avoiding the difficulties associated with other provisions such as shared-use footways. [6] According to a French survey 42% of cyclists described themselves as "enthusiasts" for shared bus bike lanes versus 33% who were of mixed opinion and 27% who were opposed. [7] Many cycling activists view these as being more attractive than cycle paths, while others object to being in close proximity to bus exhausts. [7]

As of 2003, mixed bus/cycle lanes accounted for 118 km of the 260 km of cycling facilities in Paris. [8] The French city of Bordeaux has 40 km of shared bus cycle lanes. [9] It is reported that that in the city of Bristol, a showcase bus priority corridor, where road space was re-allocated along a 14 km stretch also resulted in more space for cyclists and had the effect of increasing cycling.[10] The reverse effect has also been suggested, a review carried out in London reports that cycling levels fell across Kew bridge following the removal of a bus lane - this was despite a general increase in cycling level in the city generally.[11] In addition, it is arguably easier, politically speaking, to argue for funding of joint facilities rather than the additional expense of both segregated cycling facilities and bus-only lanes.[12] [13]

In some instances. bus lane proposals have run into vehement opposition from cyclists reps - a typical theme is the perceived generation of conflict due to the narrowing of other lanes already shared by cars/cyclists so as to create space for the bus lanes[14] The TRL reports that cyclists and bus drivers tend to have low opinions of each other[5] There have been reports in Dublin of conflict as cyclists choose to cycle in the bus lanes and a bus driver apparently expected them to use adjacent cycle tracks instead.[15] In some other cities the arrangements seem to work successfully, with bus companies and cyclists' groups taking active steps to ensure that understanding is improved between the two groups of road users. [13][16][17]

Traffic lights[]

How traffic signals are designed and implemented directly impacts cyclists.[18] For instance, poorly adjusted vehicle detector systems, used to trigger signal changes, may not correctly detect cyclists. Traffic managers in Copenhagen link cyclist-specific traffic signals on a major arterial bike lane to provide green waves for rush hour cycle-traffic.[19] Cycling-specific measures that can be applied at traffic signals include the use of advanced stop lines and/or bypasses.

The frequency with which lights change is important to cyclists who may conserve energy by anticipating green lights ahead ie. the shorter the interval the better for cyclists. Intersection clearance times and green wave timing may also be relevant.

Road surface[]

Bicycle tires being narrow, road surface is more important than for other transport, for both comfort and safety. The type and placement of storm drains, manholes, surface markings, and the general road surface quality should all be taken into account by a bicycle transportation engineer. Drain grates, for example, must not catch wheels.


Much controversy surrounds the design of bikeways, or segregated cycle facilities.

Designated bicycle lane[]

A designated bicycle lane, according to the 1998 MUTCD, is:

  • a portion of a roadway or shoulder which has been designated for use by bicyclists
  • marked by a white (usually solid) stripe painted on the pavement
  • significantly narrower than traffic lanes
  • found at the side of the traffic lanes


Sidepaths are similar to a bike lane but have a physical barrier between the main roadway and the bicycles.

Sidepaths are used extensively throughout The Netherlands, especially when exiting towns and cities, and in Danish cities, and this fact is often used to show that sidepaths can be used effectively. However the sidepaths in Amsterdam are a very special case for several reasons. There are more bicycles than cars in Amsterdam; almost all of these bicycles are of a similar type and operate at a similar speed; and pedestrians do not share these sidepaths.

Bike path[]

There are two distinct types of bike paths: those used exclusively by bicycles and those shared with pedestrians. In the United States almost all bikepaths are shared with pedestrians.

Bike paths are often found on old railroad right-of-ways. See rail trail.



Efficient two tiered Dutch Bicycle Rack

Bicycle parking is another important part of Bicycle Transportation Engineering. In most of the United States, bicycle parking facilities are scarce, or are so inadequate that nearby trees or parking meters are used. The hitching post type of bicycle stand is an improvement over the old type that had a slot for the front wheel but only allow for two bicycles per post. The Netherlands, where bicycles are much in use, has two-tiered bicycle racks giving high density (the handlebars overlap) and security (the bicycle is held well and is easy to lock).


Improved parking meter

Secure bicycle parking is argued to be a key factor influencing the decision to cycle.[20] To be considered secure, the parking must be of a suitable design: allowing the bicycle to be locked via the frame. A readily observable location can also permit so-called passive security from passers-by. Weather protection is also desirable. As a rule, where cycling is encouraged as an alternative to motoring, efforts are made to make bicycle parking more convenient and attractive to use than nearby car parking arrangements. This usually means providing a wide distribution of visible, clearly designated parking spots, close to the entrances of destinations being served.

Storage rooms or bicycle lockers may also be provided. In some cases large concentrations of bike parking may be more appropriate, sometimes being supervised and sometimes charging a fee. Examples include large bike parks at public transport interchanges such as railway, subway, tram or bus stations[21] where they may be useful in Mixed-mode commuting.

Conversely, where cycling is seen as an unwelcome or inappropriate activity, bicycle parking may simply not be provided or else placed at awkward, out-of-sight, locations away from public view.[22] Cyclists may even be expressly forbidden from parking their bicycles at the most obvious and convenient locations. In April 2007, the authorities at the University of California's Santa Barbara campus started confiscating bicycles not parked at the allegedly inconvenient official bike racks[23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Cite news
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities, European Commission, 1999
  4. Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure: Guidelines for Planning and Design, Institution of Highways and Transportation, Cyclists Touring Club, 1996.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cycling in bus lanes, Reid S and Guthrie N TRL Report 610, Transport Research Laboratory 2004
  6. A.10 Bus Lanes and Bus Stops Cycling England design guidelines 2007
  7. 7.0 7.1 La complémentarité entre vélo et transport public Vélocité - la revue du cycliste urbain N° 79, janv. / fév. 2005
  8. The bicycle's place in town Seminar organised by the Mayor's Office of the 18th District, Paris, September 2004
  9. A vélo, Mairie de Bordeaux (Accessed 28th October 2007)
  10. Delivery of the National Cycling Strategy: A review UK Department for Transport March 2005
  11. Review of procedures associated with the development and delivery of measures designed to improve safety and convenience for cyclists Transport for London, January 2005
  12. Cycle Network and Route Planning Guide, Land Transport Safety Authority, New Zealand
  13. 13.0 13.1 Mitbenutzung von Busspuren durch Radfahrer, Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club e.V./Bundesministeriums für Verkehr, January 2005. Translated here [1]
  14. Letter of Objection to Bus lanes on Wilton Road Cambridge Cycle Campaign, September 2003
  15. Cyclists In Dublin, Irish Times Letters, Tue, Oct 31, 2000
  16. Bus Drivers and Cyclists in Harmony, Warrington Cycle Campaign Leaflet, 2006
  17. Les couloirs bus + vélos VeloBuc (Accessed 22nd October 2007)
  18. Priority for cycling in an urban traffic control system, Stephen D. Clark, Matthew W. Page, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Velomondial Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam 2000
  19. Green wave for cycles, Cycle Campaign Network News, No 85, November 2006
  20. Lesson 17: Bicycle Parking and Storage, Federal Highway Administration University Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Publication No. FHWA-HRT-05-133 July 2006
  21. Bicycle Access to Public Transportation: Learning from Abroad by Michael Replogle, Journal of the Institute for Transportation Engineers, December 1992
  22. Report: Ashcroft High School, Crawley Green Road. Discharge condition 3 (school travel plan), Report by: Development Control Manager, Luton Borough Council 14th July 2004
  23. CSO To Proceed With Impoundment of Bikes, by Benjamin Gottlieb Daily Nexus, University of California - Santa Barbara News, April 20, 2007 (Accessed 28th October 2007)

See also[]