Design Principles

Cycling England is keen to encourage and promote best practice in the design and construction of cycle-friendly infrastructure, with the aim of making general highway conditions safer and more convenient for cyclists.

Cycle-friendly infrastructure focuses on strategies to increase safety for cyclists through reduction in traffic volumes and speed, or the redesign of road junctions. It also looks at specific measures that may be needed to assist cyclists, such as cycle lanes, links through road closures, road crossings, vehicle restricted areas and off road routes. Associated with these are issues of maintenance, prioritising schemes, selecting routes, quality of implementation, signing and cycle parking.

The design criteria for a high quality cycle route can be summarised by the DfT Five Core Principles. The route should be: Convenient; Accessible; Safe; Comfortable; and Attractive.

DfT Hierarchy of Provision
Cycling England and the Department for Transport recommend adopting a hierarchical approach to establishing a cycle-friendly infrastructure. Measures should be selected according to the following preferred hierarchy:

  • Traffic reduction
  • Speed reduction
  • Tackle problem sites
  • Redistribute the carriageway
  • Provide segregated facilities

Hierarchy of Measures (pdf)
Presentation given to a seminar organised by the London Cycle Network+ team.

DfT Hierarchy of Users
Applying this “hierarchy of solutions” should be supported by the adoption of a ‘hierarchy of users’ which gives priority to measures that benefit the more vulnerable road users:

  • Pedestrians and disabled people
  • Cyclists
  • Public transport users
  • Motorcyclists and taxis
  • Commercial and business vehicles
  • Car borne shoppers
  • Car borne commuters and visitors

Providing for Cycling and the Public Realm, Dr Jo Cleary, Cycling England (pdf)
Cycling design can help create attractive, vibrant and accessible streets. For information see the Public Realm Information Advice Network.

Section 1 - Introduction Section 2 - Signs
Section 3 - Lining and surface marking Section 4 - Surface
Section 5 - Necessary evils Section 6 - Cycle parking
Section 7 - Invisible infrastructure Section 8 - Bold statements, further information

Useful Resources

Cycling England’s Smart Measures Portfolio - initiatives that combine incentives, information, training and promotion

Cycling England’s Design Checklist and Portfolio - current infrastructure guidance and best practice

Cycling England’s photo Gallery

Best Practice Case Studies from the CTC Benchmarking Project

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