Birmingham A38 Blue Cycle Route
Birmingham A38 Blue Cycle Route

Here are some of the key points in the new Cycle Infrastructure Design (‘CID’) (LTN 1/20), and how it applies in Harrogate. You can read the full document here.


A Foreword (p3) by Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister with responsibility for cycling and walking, includes these points:

  • too much cycling infrastructure is substandard, provides little protection from motorised traffic, and gives up at the places it is most needed
  • cycling must no longer be treated as marginal or an afterthought. It must not be treated as part of the leisure industry but as a means of everyday transport. It must be placed at the heart of the transport network
  • it will be a condition of future government funding for cycle infrastructure that it is consistent with this guidance; that will be checked by Active Travel England. Otherwise funding will have to be returned
  • for other highways investment there will be a preumption that cycling infrastructure must be delivered or improved, unless it can be shown it is not necessary

1) Introduction

The guidance designed to ensure high-quality cycle infrastructure delivers the ambition in the Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy to make cycling and walking the natural choices for short journeys, and to enable inclusive cycling (people of all ages and abilities).

To measure the quality of schemes, there are two tools:

  • the Cycling Level of Service (Appendix A), and
  • the Junction Assessment Tool (Appendix B)

To effectively apply the guidance, designers of cycle and walking schemes should have experience and training. Training could include the Highway Engineers’ Professional Certificate & Diploma in Active Travel.

The Introduction (starts p4/5) includes five Core Design Principles and twenty-two Summary Principles.

Core Design Principles

The five Core Design Principles state that cycle networks and routes should be: Coherent, Direct, Safe, Comfortable and Attractive.

These principles are represented in Figure 1.1 (p8), which has a ‘DO’ and a ‘DON’T’ image for each of the five principles, but I’ve used examples of cycle infrastructure in Harrogate to illustrate them.


End of cycle route at Otley Road
End of Beckwith Head Road shared use pavement at Otley Road

Routes should allow people to reach their day-to-day destinations along routes that connect and are of a consistent high quality.

The ‘cycle infrastructure’ put in recently on Beckwith Head Road breaches this principle where it ends abruptly at the busy Otley Road. It also breaches the next Core Design Principle, as I explain below.


Rubbish cycle infrastructure, Beckwith Head Road
Stop-start shared use path, Beckwith Head Road

Cycle routes should be at least as direct as those for private motor vehicles. Routes involving extra distance of stopping and starting are likely to be ignored, and people will choose to ride on the main carriageway instead. The ‘DON’T’ image in CID shows a cycle track giving way at each side road.

The photo above shows and example of just that in Harrogate, on Beckwith Head Road. (It also breaches the principles of CID because it is a shared use path in an urban area).


Oatlands Drive cycle lane
Dangerous narrow painted advisory cycle lanes on Oatlands Drive

The photo above shows an example of a bike lane on Oatlands Drive, Harrogate, that is totally unacceptable from a safey point of view.


East Parade bike lane
East Parade bike lane gives way to a bin

Good quality, well-maintained surfaces are required, with adequate width for the volume of users. The ‘DON’T’ image shows an uncomfortable transition between on- and off-carriageway facilites. An example of this is Harrogate is on East Parade, which swaps between a dangerous painted lane on the road and a poorly-surfaced, inconvenient pavement path that gives way to a rubbish bin.


Cycle infrastructure should be finished in attractive materials, and thus help deliver public spaces that people want to spend time using. How does the East Parade bike lane measure up to that?

There is more on the five Core Design Principles in para. 4.2, p30.

Summary Principles

The 22 Summary Principles are an integral part of the guidance. They are:

  1. Cycle infrastructure should be accessible to everyone from 8 to 80 including those with a disability; and it should not create hazards for vulnerable pedestrians.
  2. Cycles must be treated as vehicles not as pedestrians. On urban streets they should not share space with pedestrians. Distinct tracks for cyclists should be made. Shared use routes away from streets may be appropriate, for example in parks.
  3. Cyclists must be physically separated and protected from high volume motor traffic. It can be full kerb segregation or light segregation, or by using bollards or planters to close roads to through motor traffic. Cycle routes indicated only with road markings will be perceived to be unacceptable for safe cycling.
  4. Side street routes that are closed to through traffic can be an alternative to segregated facilities, or there can be a mix of the two. N.B. routes that are not direct or see significant volumes of rat-running traffic will not be used and should not be provided.
  5. Design for significant numbers of cyclists – thousands a day – and non-standard cycles including cargo bikes. To allow overtaking, cycle tracks should be 2m, or 3-4m for bidrectional tracks.
  6. There is a presumption that any future highway schemes will deliver or improve cycling infrastructure to the standards in CID.
  7. Largely cosmetic interventions (nicer-looking pavements or road surfaces), where little or nothing is done to restrict through traffic or provide safe space for cycling, will not be funded from any cycling or walking budget.
  8. Cycle infrastructure must be planned as a holistic network, recognising the importance of nodes, links and areas that are good fro cycling. Isolated stretches of provision are of little value. It is important to understand who currently cycles, where they go and why, and more importantly who does not currently cycle and why.
  9. Cycle parking should be included in substantial schemes, and should be sufficient to allow cycle commuting and a range of cycles.
  10. Schemes must be legible and understandable. Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists must be in no doubt where the cycle route runs.
  11. Schemes must be clearly signposted and users should feel like they are being guided along a route. Signs should be easily visible.
  12. Showpiece structures must be part of a wider, properly thought-through scheme.
  13. Maintenance and sweeping: route proposals should always include a clear programme of maintenance.
  14. Surfaces should be hard, smooth, level, durable, permeable and safe in all weathers. Asphalt and other materials highlighed in Chapter 15 are suitable.
  15. Trials with temporary materials are recommended if there is a disput about the impact of a road change, but ‘it is important that the scheme is designed correctly at the beginning, to maximise the chances of it working.’
  16. Chicane barriers and dismount signs should not be used.
  17. Bollards to prevent through traffic are quick, cheap and effective.
  18. Cycle routes must flow in a direct and logical way. Users should not have to double back on themselves, turn unnecessarily or go the long way round. Schemes should be based on how people actually behave rather than how they might be expected to behave.
  19. Schemes must be easy and comfortable to ride. Cycling is a physical effort, and schemes should not impose constant stopping and starting.
  20. All designers of cycle schemes must experience the roads as a cyclist. Those who design schemes should travel through the area on a cycle to understand how it feels.
  21. Schemes must be consistent. Avoid inconsistent provision such as a track going from the road to the pavement and then back on to the road, or a track that suddenly vanishes.
  22. When to break these principles. ‘In rare cases, where it is absolutely unavoidable, a short stretch of less good provision rather than jettison an entire route which is otherwise good will be appropriate. But in most cases it is not absolutely unavoidable and exceptions will be rare.’ (So this is not an excuse for nearly every bit of cycle infrastructure in a local authority area to breach the principles).

Making the case for change

There’s a very good passage about engagement with the people affected by a scheme (p14).

Before any specific proposal is put forward, the ground must be carefully prepared, with the public persuaded of the need for change and attractive alternative to the status quo laid out…Articulate a clear vision of what you want a place to look like. Work out every technical aspect of a proposal thoroughly and in detail before you present it, to anticipate and pre-empt likely objections, and get it as right as possible at the beginning. When communicating the proposals be confident about it and absolutely clear about your intentions, the benefits and disadvantages. Proposals must be clear and unambiguous, as detailed as possible…and frank about the disadvantages, to build trust and discourage misrepresentation.

Cycle infrastructure design, p14

2) Cycling in context

Cycle Infrastructure Design, Fig 2.1
Cycle Infrastructure Design, Fig 2.1

This section starts on p15. It points out the potential for cycling, given that 2 out of 3 personal trips are less than five miles (para. 2.2.2, p16).

Cycling brings economic benefits, reduces congestion and pollution, improves physical and mental health, and can help revive high streets and town centres.

CID points out that there is a duty on public sector authorities under the Equality Act 2010 to make sure that infrastructure is accessible to people of all ages and abilities (para. 2.4.2, p18); and that conventional or adapted cycles are important to people with a disability as a mode of independent transport.

3) Planning for cycling

Cycle route signs on Slingsby Walk

Chapter 3 (from p21) describes the concept of a connected network with nodes (junctions, origins and destinations) and links. It says that developing a network plan provides a sound basis for funding applications.

Routes should be suitable for all abilities. There shouldn’t be more than 250m to 1km between routes, so that all people can easily travel by bike within and between neighbourhoods. There should also be longer distance routes for leisure, tourism and utility cycling.

Para. 3.1.5 sets out a six-stage process for developing a Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). The stages are:

  1. Determining Scope (including geographical extent)
  2. Information Gathering
  3. Network Planning for Cycling – identify origins, destinations and cycle flows; convert into a network of routes and determine the types of improvements required
  4. Network Planning for Walking
  5. Prioritising Improvements – a phased plan for future investment
  6. Integration and Application

WSP’s Harrogate LCWIP

Consultants WSP were commissioned to produce a Phase 1 Harrogate Cycle Infrastructure Plan in 2017, and it was delivered and approved in Summer 2019. It covers stages 1 & 2, and part of stage 3 network planning: it identifies corridors in a general way, but the key parts missing are the specifics – actual routes.

I don’t know when their Phase 2 report is due. I am concerned that commissioning these reports is a way of spending several years looking as though you’re doing something, but with no tangible benefits for people who want to get around Harrogate by bike.

Network planning

CWIS focuses on getting people to make short, local journeys on foot or by bike instead of by car, so this should be a focus of network planning. It means you have to analyse existing trip patterns. The Propensity to Cycle Tool helps do this.

Para. 3.3 deals with stakeholder participation, and details who to consult and how to consult them.

Para 3.4 details the components of a local network:

  • Dedicated space for cycling within highways
  • Quiet mixed traffic streets
  • Motor traffic-free routes
  • Junction treatments and crossings
  • Cycle parking

It also sets out four functions of cycle routes:

  • Primary routes – between major trip generators
  • Secondary routes – connections into local centres
  • Local access to streets and attractors
  • Long distance and leisure routes

Network planning techniques are covered in para. 3.5:

  • Mesh density can be used to analyse coverage of cycle routes and identify gaps; in built-up areas, spacing of routes should be 250-400m
  • The local network includes quiet streets where on-carriageway cycling is acceptable, or which are suitable for independent travel by a 12-year-old; then you can identify which streets need treatment to enable cycling
  • Trials with temporary materials can be used to get an understanding of impacts, but tell local communities well in advance and allow long enough for a scheme to settle down; monitor behaviour before and during the trial period, and after final scheme implementation

4) Design principles and processes

Sainsburys Junction, Wetherby Road, Harrogate
Sainsburys Junction, Wetherby Road, Harrogate

Chapter 4 starts on p29, and it looks at some of the basic ideas that underpin the design process for cycle route networks.

More about the Core Design Principles

It repeats and expands upon the five Core Design Principles (para. 4.2, p30). Some of the issues rasied are:

  • Coherent: people should be able to reach their destinations along routes that connect, are simple to navigate, and of a consistent high quality. Abrupt reductions in the quality of provision will mean that an otherwise serviceable route becomes unusable by most potential users. An example in Harrogate is the Sainsbury’s junction on Wetherby Road. Provision on main roads is crucial because they are often the only direct, coherent routes available
  • Direct: routes should provide the shortest and fastest way of travelling from place to place, and include facilities at junctions that minimise the need to stop; allowing cyclists to maintain momentum, and thereby minimise the effort required to cycle, is an important aspect of directness; cycling becomes more attractive if you permit movements which are prohibited to motor traffic, for example with contraflow lanes and filtered permeability. One example of this in Harrogate is at the end of Beech Grove, where cyclists can go straight on (to Victoria Avenue) but motor traffic must turn left
  • Safe: cycle infrastructure must be not only safe but perceived to be safe. This can be achieved in various ways including filtered permeability, but on busy strategic roads dedicated, protected sapce for cycling must be provided (which may involve reallocating existing road space
  • Comfortable: this includes good quality surfaces and adequate width. ‘Cycling is a sociable activity and many people will want to cycle side by side, and to overtake another cyclist safely.’
  • Attractive: the attractiveness of the route will affect whether users choose cycling as a means of transport

Minimising effort to cycle

Para. 4.3 deals with the effort required to cycle, and states: ‘Minimising effort should be a key consideration in the design of any infrastructure.’

Protection from motor traffic

Para. 4.4 is about protection from motor traffic.

Motor traffic is the main deterrent to cycling for many people with 62% of UK adults feeling that the roads are too unsafe for them to cycle on…The need to provide protected space for cycling on highways generally depends on the speed and volume of motor traffic. For example, in quiet residential streets, most people will be comfortable cycling on the carriageway even though they will be passed by the occasional car moving at low speeds. On busier and faster highways, most people will not be prepared to cycle on the carriageway, so they will not cycle at all, or some may unlawfully use the footway.

CID para. 4.4.1, p32

Figure 4.1 has a useful (but not entirely straightforward) graphic showing appropriate protection from motor traffic, depending on the speed limit and motor traffic flow.

Cycle Infrastructure Design, Figure 4.1
Cycle Infrastructure Design, Figure 4.1

Where there are cycle tracks or light segregation, kerbside access for parking and delivery has to be addressed in design (para. 4.4.6). Protection is needed at junctions as well as on links, to create a coherent and safe route.

Assessment tools

Two assessment tools have already been mentioned – Cycling Level of Service and Junction Assessment Tool. Road safety audits are only concerned with safety, not the other four Core Design Principles, and care should be taken that a safety modification doesn’t reduce the usability of a route in terms of the other principles.

An Access Audit should be undertaken to make sure a scheme meets the needs of those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

5) Geometric requirements

Chapter 5 starts on p39 and describes the dimensions required to accommodate cyclists on a variety of cycles and travelling at their desired speeds.

Table 5-2 (p43) specifies the appropriate widths for cycle lanes and tracks.

Table 5-2, Cycle Infrastructure Design
Table 5-2, Cycle Infrastructure Design

Table 5-3 states the extra widths needed where a cycle track runs next to a fixed object – 20cm from a kerb and 50cm from a wall.

Para. 5..5.3 specifies that ‘separate facilities should be provided for pedestrian and cycle movements. Shared use ‘might be adequate’ ‘away from the highway, and alongside busy interurban roads with few pedestrians or building frontages…Conversion of existing footways to shared use should only be considered when options that reuse carriageway or other (e.g. verge) space have been rejected as unworkable.’

Rural shared use facilities where there are few pedestrians should be designed as cycle tracks which pedestrians may lawfully use (para. 5.6.1).

Design speed shold be 30kmh and 40kmh where there are downhill gradients (Table 5-4). ‘Deliberately restricting space, introducing staggered barriers or blind bends to slow cyclists is likely to increase the potential for user conflict and may prevent acces for larger cycles and disabled people and so should not be used.’

Chapter 5 also contains technical information about stopping sight distance (para. 5.7), visibility splays (5.8), horizontal and vertical alignment (5.9), crossfall and camber (5.10), and edge protection (5.11).

6) Space for cycling within highways

Chapter 6 begins on p49 and deals with faster and busier roads. It states that on such roads, dedicated space for cycling will be needed, and facilities with physical protection are preferable to cycle lanes. It may be necessary to reallocate space from moving and/or parked motor vehicles to allow good quality cycle facilities to be installed.


The Introduction makes some general points about provision for cycling on busy roads, including the following:

  • Busier major roads are usually the most direct routes between key attractors (6.1.2)
  • Protected space is usually required to create inclusive cycling conditions, and can be fully kerbed cycle tracks, stepped cycle tracks, or light segregation (6.1.4)
  • Stepped cycle tracks and light segregation are generally considered less suitable for urban highways with speed limits above 30mph (6.1.5)
  • Cycle lanes on busy or fast roads without physical protection from motor vehicles will be perceived as unacceptable for safe cycling (6.1.6)
  • Light segregation adds some protection and can be installed quite cheaply; do not use it on pedestrian desire lines because it may be a trip hazard (6.1.7)
  • Wherever possible, space should be reallocated from the carriageway, not reducing the level of service for pedestrians; only very wide or lightly-used footways should be considered for use by cyclists (6.1.9)
  • Space can be taken from the carriageway by reducing the number of lanes or the width of the carriageway (down to 3m)
  • Standard traffic modelling software can be used to assess the effect of reduing the number of lanes and width of carriageway; trials can give a real-world indication of the effects of road space reallocation and to stimulate feedback

On-highway cycle tracks

Para. 6.2 (from p51) deals with fully kerbed and stepped cycle tracks. Kerbed tracks are protected from motor traffic by a full-height kerb and buffer space; stepped tracks are lower than footway level, and have a lower kerb in relation to the carriageway.

Fully kerbed cycle tracks

They are created by taking space from the carriageway by creating a kerbed buffer strip. They can be at carriageway level, footway level, or an intermediate level.

Cycle tracks should be clearly distinguishable from the footway, with colour and tonal contrast; a level difference is preferred by visually-impaired people.

Buffer strips can contribute to the streetscape and drainage if planted; if of a hard surface, it provides a place for pedestrians to wait to cross; 1.5m is enough for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. A buffer or verge protects cyclists from air turbulence from passing traffic and debris from the carriageway. Wider buffer strips can accommodate a bus stop as part of a bus stop bypass; they can be used for kerbside loading and car parking area in which case there must be enough buffer space to open a car door and get out of it.

Provision (e.g. dropped kerbs) must be made for mobility impaired people to cross the tracks.

Two-way and one way tracks

One way tracks either side of the road with cyclists travelling in the same direction as other traffic is often the best solution (paras. 6.2.15 & 6.2.17)

Two-way tracks can be on one side of the road only, or both sides of a major highway that is difficult for cyclists to cross. Potential problems with two-way tracks (para. 6.2.16):

  • transitioning between the cycle track and the carriageway
  • complicated arrangements at junctions along the route
  • more risks with retaining priority over side roads
  • harder to get to the other side of the major highway
  • harder for pedestrians to cross a two-way cycle track
  • problem of being dazzled by headlights

Still, there are space advantages to a 3m two-way track as opposed to two 2m one way tracks (para. 6.2.18). They can also be useful where there is more kerbside activity on one side of the road than the other. Advantages and disadvantages of two-way tracks are set out in Table 6-2.

One way fully kerbed cycle tracks may be used in the contraflow direction to general traffic (para. 6.2.23).

Stepped cycle tracks

Height difference should be a minimum of 50mm (from carriageway and from footway). Normally one way in the same direction as traffic.

They provide physical protection from traffic in a space-efficient way. They allow cyclists priority at side rods, for exmple as part of a raised entry treatment (para. 6.2.26).

Pedestrian crossings, tactile paving and traffic signing

Pedestrian crossings of cycle tracks are dealt with from para. 6.2.29 on; tactile paving from para. 6.2.33; and traffic signing from para. 6.2.38.

Servicing and car parking alongside cycle tracks

A cycle track between parked cars and the footway provides a much higher level of service (safety and comfort) than a cycle lane on the offside of parking/loading areas (para. 6.2.40). There should be a buffer zone of at least 0.5m between cyclists and parked vehicles to reduce the risk of ‘dooring’. A width of 2m is needed alongside disabled parking bays (6.2.42).

There are provisions for detailed design and maintenance in paras. 6.2.44-48.

Light segregation

This is covered in para. 6.3. Light segregation is intermittent physical features such as traffic wands placed along the inside of a mandatory cycle lane. Planters could also be used. It is quite low cost. No special authorisation is needed.

It can be used as a temporary feature to prove the case for a more permanent solution such as a fully kerbed track.

Cycle lanes

These are painted lanes – mandatory and advisory.

Cycle lanes less than 1.5m wide should not normally be used as they will exclude the use of the facility by larger cycles and are therefore not inclusive. They can also encourage ‘close-passing’ of cyclists by motorists, who tend to judge their road position with reference to the nearside marking.

para. 6.4.3, cycle infrastructure design

Note that cycle lane markings can’t be used with zig-zag markings at controlled crossings, but the zig-zag markings can be placed up to 2m from the kerb (para. 6.4.4/Figure 6.19).

Advisory lanes are not recommended where they are likely to be blocked by parked vehicles (para. 6.4.9).

Cycle lanes at side roads

Cycle lanes across side road junctions ensure continuity and help improve cycle safety. Mandatory lanes become advisory at the junction mouth. Coloured surfacing may also be used, and the width of the cycle lane can be increased; raised tables can be added across the mouth of the side road.

Removal of centre lines

This can enable proper width cycle lanes to be added, and it has a psychological traffic-calming effect. It is only suitable for quieter roads.

Parking & loading restrictions, and contraflow cycle lanes

Cycle lanes should be combined with parking and loading restrictions (para. 6.4.18).

There should be a presumption in favour of cycling in both directions on one way streets. Contraflow lanes should be mandatory and the entance to the street protected by an island. The lane can be made more conspicuous with coloured surfacing.

The end of a cycle lane, cycle track or route should not normally be marked by the END marking as the end of the facility should be obvious. Give way markings…should be avoided at the end of a cycle lane – alternative designs should be considered.

para. 6.4.25, cycle infrastructure design

Shared use

Shared use pavement, Beckwith Head Road
Shared use pavement on Beckwith Head Road being ignored

Shared use means a footway for both pedestrians and cyclists, and is covered in para. 6.5. White line segregation is not recommended; this section refers to unsegregated paths.

In urban areas, the conversion of a footway to shared use should be regarded as a last resort. Shared use facilities are generally not favoured by either pedestrians or cyclists, particularly when flows are high. It can create particular difficulties for visually impaired people.

para. 6.5.4, cycle infrastructure design

Para. 6.5.6 outlines situations where shared use that’s well-designed and implemented may be appropriate:

  • alongside interurban and arterial roads where there are few pedestrians
  • at and around junctions where cyclists are moving slowly
  • where a length of shared use may be acceptable to achieve continuity of a cycle route
  • where high cycle and pedestrian flows occur at different times

Table 6-3 has recommended minimum widths for shared use routes.

Table 6-3, Cycle Infrastucture Design
Table 6-3, Cycle Infrastucture Design

Designers should be realistic about cyclists wanting to make progress, and overtake groups of pedestrians and slower cyclists (6.5.8).

Research shows that cyclists alter their behaviour according to the density of pedestrians, so it should rarely be necessary to provide physical calming features (6.5.9).

Cycling on bus and tram routes

Bus lanes can offer some degree of segregation for cyclists as they reduce interaction with motor traffic (para. 6.6.1), but don’t provide an environment attractive to a wide range of people so should not be regarded as inclusive. If taxis and motorcycles are allowed to use them this significantly increases traffic flows and acts as a deterrent to cycling.

Where cyclists are using bus lanes they should be at least 4m wide and preferably 4.5m, so buses can pass cyclists.

Bus stop bypasses take cycle tracks around the rear of bus stops. Design principles are set out in paras. 6.6.8-11. An alternative design is called a ‘bus stop boarder’.

Tram tracks can be dangerous to cyclists, and suitable routes and space for cycling should be provided away from the tracks.

Coloured surfacing

Coloured surfaces have no legal meaning, but can be useful to highlight the presence and delineation of a cycle route. They can be useful across the mouths of junctions, through complex junctions, alongside on-street car parking, and at advanced stop zones.

7) Quiet mixed traffic streets and lanes

Chapter 7 starts on p73, and deals with streets where the main function is access to local properties, and rural lanes where traffic flows are light.


Cycling on-carriageway is possible where speeds are low and traffic flows light. Upper limits for inclusive cycling (para. 7.1.1):

  • 2,500 vehicles per day
  • 20mph

Traffic calming and management can be used; crossings and junction treatments for cyclists at major roads to connect local networks of quiet streets. An important element is removal of non-local through traffic through ‘mode filtering’, which reinforces the primary function of local access.

Area-wide treatments such as Liveable Neighbourhood and Mini-Holland schemes can be trialled with temporary modal filters. Trials should last for a few weeks to give the scheme time to settle, and during this time actual behaviours and impacts should be monitored accurately.

Spatial considerations

Primary and secondary riding positions

In normal traffic conditions, cyclists are advised to ride in secondary position, 0.5m from the kerb.

Where it is unlikely a motorist could overtake safely (narrower roads, approaches to side roads), they are advised to ride in primary position, in the centre of the traffic lane. This enables the motorist to appreciate that it will be necessary to wait behind until there is enough space.

Many people (especially children) will only be comfortable adopting primary position where speed and volume of traffic is very low. Car drivers are more likely to accept short delays on quiet streets where they are not perceived to be delaying other motor traffic (7.2.2). Mixed traffic streets should aim to offer conditions where most people would feel confident to ride in primary position (7.2.3).

Table 7.1 shows minimum overtaking clearances.

Table 7-1 Cycle Infrastructure Design
Table 7-1 Cycle Infrastructure Design

Close over taking can be intimidating and hazardous to cyclists in free-flowing traffic. Only at speeds lower than 30mph might a minimum clearance of 1.0m be acceptable. No values are given for speed limits greater than 30mph because cyclists should be provided with protected space away from motor traffic.

para. 7.2.4 cycle infrastructure design

Carriageway and lane widths

This section deals with traffic lane widths, and is quite technical.

Table 7-2 sets out minimum widths for a car lane, a bus lane, and a 2-way traffic lane with no centre line (between advisory cycle lanes) – assuming traffic is free to cross the centre line. Table 7-3 has widths for bus lanes shared with cyclists, buffer zones, car parking bays, disabled car parking bays, and loading bays.

Pinch points: they should be designed so that cyclists are not squeezed or intimidated by motor vehicles trying to overtake. Options:

  • provide a cycle bypass
  • give a lane width of more than 3.9m (lanes between 3.2 and 3.9m lead to close passes)
  • restrict width to prevent overtaking – but this will not be desirable over long lengths as cyclists will feel intimidated by vehicles waiting to overtake (7.2.10)

Reducing use by motor traffic

Traffic flow can be reduced to enable cycling in mixed streets through a range of measures involving area-wide treatments, with enhancements to the appearance of key streets.

Encouraging through traffic to use main roads can provide benefits for pedestrians and residents, particularly children and vulnerable adults, as well as enabling cycling.

para. 7.3.1 cycle infrastructure design

Traffic management measures to reduce motor traffic (7.3.2):

  • Mode filtering through TRO exemptions
  • Vehicle restricted areas (including HGV bans)
  • Bus gates and other modal filters
  • Turning bans (with exemptions for cyclists)
  • One way streets (with two-way cycle access)
  • Time-based restrictions to access or kerbside parking

Mode filtering through TRO exemptions

An assessment should be undertaken as to whether cyclists can be safely exempted from turning bans, no entry and one way restrictions. Permitting contraflow cycling on one way streets and using point closures to close certain streets to through traffic will provide a more direct route for cyclists and should always be considered. On quiet low speed streets there may be no need for a cycle lane.

Figure 7.4, Cycle Infrastructure Design
Figure 7.4, Cycle Infrastructure Design

Traffic reduction through control of car parking

Charges for car parking or limited capacity or duration of stay can reduce car traffic in central and other urban areas. Removal of on-street car parking spaces may enable space to be provided to pedestrians and cyclists (7.3.6).

Vehicle restricted areas (VRAs)

You can have Pedestrian Zones or Pedestrian and Cycle Zones. If you exclude cyclists from high streets they may have to travel longer distances on heavily trafficked roads and this may suppress cycle trips, so there should always be a preference for allowing cyclists access to VRAs.

Home zones, quiet lanes and other mixed use streets

Residential access streets can be designed with geometrical layouts that create very low speed environments. Such streets can be designated as Home Zones under the Home Zones and Quiet Lanes (England) Regulations 2006.

Quiet Lane designation is for rural lanes where actual speeds are under 40mph and motor traffic volumes less than 1,000 per day. The intention is to indicate to road users that the whole surface of the lane is likely to be used by pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists.

Service roads along major highways can provide cycle routes as long as they meet the basic criteria for traffic volume and speed and there is good continuity.

Reducing motor traffic speed

20mph is being more widely adopted as an appropriate speed limit for access roads and many through streets in built-up areas, with 30mph limits retained on locally strategic roads. However, changes to the speed limit will have a limited impact unless there is enforcement or physical measures that make it difficult to drive above the speed limit. Gateway features can be used to visually reinforce changes to speed limits at entry points to villages and high streets.

para. 7.6.1 cycle infrastructure design

Physical traffic calming measures can be horizontal (road narrowing or chicanes) or vertical (speed humps, speed tables and speed cushions). Cycle bypasses should be provided alongside horizontal measures such as chicanes and narrowings (7.6.4). The gap should be at least 1.5m. Speed cushions are not a preferred form of traffic calming on cycle routes because the constrain the ability of cyclists to choose their preferred position in the carriageway. (They work quite well on Claro Road, though, where vehicles tend to move right out to line up with cushions when overtaking).

Textured surfaces and block paving should be used sparingly because they create high levels of discomfort.

Tight kerb radii at side roads, combined with raised tables across the junction mouth, help reduce speed and have significant safety benefits.

Kerbside activity

Kerbside parking or loading can be a hazard for cyclists because of the risk of being ‘doored’. Raised inset bays (parking bays at pavement level) can be helpful, and offer pedestrians extra space when not in use.

Motor traffic free routes

Chapter 8 starts on p83 and says that traffic-free routes can form important links for everyday trips.


These routes include disused railways, parks and canal towpaths. They should be integrated with the wider network, with clear signing. How to achieve a good level of social safety should be part of the design process.

For year-round utility cycling, a sealed surface is necessary and street lighting should be provided.

Managing user conflict

There are few recorded collisions between pedestrians and cyclists, but two user groups travelling at different speeds can affect the comfort of both. Provide sufficient width for anticipated levels of use.

Where space and budget allows, provide separate routes for walking and cycling, separated by a grass verge or hedge (8.2.3). Where there’s not enough space, separate walking and cycling paths with a level difference (60mm+) and/or different surface texture (8.2.4), or with a raised strip that is trapezoidal in cross section (8.2.5).

A fully shared surface is better when the available width is 3m or less (8.2.8).

If it is necessary to encourage cyclists to slow, speed humps or rumble strips can be used, but they introduce hazard and discomfort for disabled path users so should be employed sparingly (8.2.11-12).

Access controls

Access controls can reduce the usability of a route by all cyclists, and may exclude some disabled people and others riding nonstandard cycles. There should therefore be a general presumption against the use of access controls unless there is a persistent and significant problem of antisocial moped or motorcycle access that cannot be controlled through periodic policing.

para. 8.3.1 cycle infrastructure design

Access controls that require the cyclist to dismount or cannot accommodate the cycle design vehicle are not inclusive and should not be used (8.3.2). Access controls should not be required simply to control cyclists on the approach to a road or footway crossing (8.3.3).

Chicane barriers exclude tandems, tricycles, cargo bikes and some wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Barriers with plates designed to be narrower than motorcycle handlebars leave a gap that is narrower than many larger cycles (8.3.4).

An alternative is to be provide bollards at a minimum of 1.5m spacing (8.3.5). To control livestock, a cattle grid with closely-spaced bars is better than a gate (8.3.7).

Junctions on cycle tracks off-highway

Advice about give way markings and priority.

Appropriate surface materials

Surface quality affects comfort and effort needed. Gravel or mud make cycling more difficult, and ruts and potholes can throw cyclists off balance.

Smooth, sealed solid surfaces, such asphalt or macadam, offer the best conditions for everyday cycling. Cycle routes within the highway should meet at least local minimum standards of construction. Routes away from the highwat should also be smooth and well-maintained to ensure they play a useful role in the cycle network.

para. 8.5.2 cycle infrastructure design

Sealed surfaces should normally be provided within towns, cities and villages and on utility routes from the immediate hinterland. This might include rural cycle routes between villages, for example where pupils might be expected to travel to school (8.5.4).

Crushed stone is cheaper but needs more maintenance to avoid becoming uneven and muddy, and will be unusable by wheelchair and anyone on smaller wheeled cycles including children. ‘Where there is a need to avoid the use of black asphalt, consideration should also be given to other forms of sealed surface such as resin-bound stone (8.5.5).

Construction details

Proper construction of each element is required: formation and sub-base, surfaces, edges and verges, ecology, drainage and lighting, fencing etc. (8.6.1). Sustrans has more details.


Considerations about lighting in urban areas.


Litter and broken glass should be included in routine cleaning. Fallen leaves should be cleared; a route that is part of the local cycle network should be prioritised for snow and ice clearance.

9) Transitions between carriageways, cycle lanes and cycle tracks

Chapter 9 starts on p89 and covers transitions between on- and off-carriageway provision, including protection from motor traffic and creation of a comfortable and coherent route.


A transition is where a cycle track joins the carriageway or vice versa. Cyclists can be at risk from motor traffic, and there can be conflict between pedestrians and cyclists, but attention to design detail will improve safety and create a welcoming environment.

Cycle track to carriageway transitions

Where a cycle track merges back to the carriageway, the merge should be designed to reduce the risk of cyclists being hit by traffic from behind. If a footway/cycle track is on a level or shared surface, tactile ladder and tramline paving is essential.

Carriageway to cycle track transitions

Avoid putting kerbs or sharp turns on transitions because it could cause cyclists to lose control.

Para. 9.3.4 deals with the so-called ‘jug handle’, where cyclists leave the carriageway to access a crossing facility. There is a ridiculous example of a jug handle at the new roundabout by the Dunlopillo housing development, Pannal – where cyclists are asked to leave the carriageway to access a crossing non-facility.

Separated cycle track to shared use with pedestrians

Cycle tracks can merge into shared use areas where width is restricted near bus stops or toucan crossings. Tactile paving helps the visually impaired in such situations.

10) Junctions and crossings

Chapter 10 starts on p95. It is quite long and technical, and very important to cycle safety.

It is essential that the needs of cyclists are taken into account in the design of all new and improved junctions, not just those on designated cycle routes, and that crossings are provided where cycle routes continue across busy highways. Safety is vital, but junctions should also negotiate them in comfort without undue delay or deviation…At quieter junctions it may be safe to integrate cyclists into the general traffic streams to reduce the number of conflicts but at busier junctions it will be necessary to separate and protect cycle movements. The Junction Assessment Tool (Appendix B) should be used to assess how well junctions meet cyclists’ needs.

preamble to chapter 10 cycle infrastructure design


Providing separation between conflicting streams of traffic (including pedestrian and cycle traffic) is fundamental to improving safety.

Network planning considerations

The impact of major junctions should be considered at a network level with regard to the movement of people and goods. Moving high volumes of pedestrian and cycle traffic through a junction may be a more efficient use of the available space than moving high volumes of motor traffic. ‘Improving provision for cycling at an existing major junction may require funding, and may cause some increase in delays to other users, but it can be the key to opening areas and routes to cycling.’

Design principles and processes

Junctions and crossings should be designed with features to enable inclusive cycling.

para. 10.3.1 cycle infrastructure design

Junctions are the locations of the most actual and perceived hazards, and if a junctions doesn’t provide safe facilities it may be the reason people won’t use the rest of the route.