Cycling "on the road" by showing how to "share the road"

Cyclists require an operational space of minimum width 1m with 300-500mm or more clearance on both sides, depending on the circumstances. This is a design fundamental.

Often facilities appear to be, or might be assumed to be, safe yet they do not meet these minimum requirements. The "BIKE LANE" in fig 1 is an example from Brisbane (Australia) where there is inadequate space, thus creating a real risk for unsuspecting or novice cyclists, especially if a car door is opened suddenly. Should this occur, the cyclist may react by turning away, or be deflected away, in both cases, into and in front of fast moving vehicular traffic.

Fig 1: BIKE LANE with inadequate space for cyclists

Where there is insufficient space for separation ie with a BIKE LANE such as in Fig 1, use of a "share the road" approach can show the space needed by, and optimum location for, cyclists. In Brisbane, this is indicated by a yellow BIKE symbol (1000-1200 wide). It is often used in conjunction with a white edge line as in Fig 2. This example is in the same road and within 300m of the BIKE LANE in Fig 1. Note that while the BIKE symbol may be closer than desirable to the parked car, there is no expectation that cyclists are expected to stay close to the car as with the BIKE LANE in Fig 1.

Fig 2: yellow BIKE symbol on edgeline

Where there is no parking or stopping allowed as indicated in Brisbane by the continuous yellow edge line close to the kerb, the yellow BIKE symbol shows motorists the space required for cyclists ... see Fig 3 ... allowing safe overtaking by motorists.

Fig 3: NO STANDING with the yellow BIKE symbol

Where there is space or where the traffic conditions suit, the yellow BIKE symbol should be located beyond reach of car doors. In this example, in a 30km/h university campus, the yellow BIKE symbols act to legitimate cyclists travelling in the safe location. Here they also serve to encourage motorists to travel at or below the 30km/h speed limit... see Fig 4.

Fig 4: yellow BIKE symbol at safe distance from cars

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Monday, 5 April 2004 Back