Cycling Infrastructure

Cycling Infrastructure

How Effective?

Reallocation of road space, segregated cycle tracks/paths and cycle crossings at signalised junctions have been shown to be effective in improving conditions for cyclists but there is very little robust evaluation of cycling infrastructure safety. The following statements indicate where and how effective safety interventions have been used:

  • In 2005 the Department for Transport compiled a number of success stories to encourage more walking and cycling across England. A number of projects have achieved significant results with often modest, but always well-chosen initiatives, which have improved local conditions for walking and cycling and encouraged people to get around on foot and by bike. One such project involved the reallocation of road spaces for cyclists in Hull. On-road cycle lanes were also introduced on a large number of roads in Hull. The cycle lanes were studied for over three years, and before and after comparisons of RTI statistics and cycle flows have highlighted outstanding results. Decreases in RTI numbers and increase in cycle use have been observed. The outcomes of the intervention included a 45 per cent reduction in cycle casualties.

(DfT, 2005)

  • Studies in Denmark have shown that providing segregated cycle tracks or lanes alongside urban roads reduced deaths among cyclists by 35 per cent.

(WHO, 2004) 

  • An RTI study of cycle crossings at signalised junctions in Denmark showed that cycle crossing marking has resulted in a 36 per cent drop in the number of cycle RTIs and a 57 per cent drop in the number of serious cyclist casualties. The study further showed that when cycle crossings were established in major junctions, the greatest reduction occurred in RTIs between right turning cars and cyclists going straight ahead (the equivalent of left turning cars and cyclists going straight ahead in the UK). It seems that motorists may move part of their focus from pedestrians to cyclists since there was a rise in pedestrian RTIs. It must be noted that the study took place on roads where vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road

(T. Andersen et al, 2012)

  • Annular cycle lanes around the perimeter of roundabouts may offer no benefit or introduce extra hazards for cyclists. However, the re-design of a priority junction in York to a roundabout with a Compact Design, with annular cycle lanes set 1-1.5m into the roundabout, and advanced give-way lines for cyclists contributed to an 80 per cent reduction in RTIs and an increase in cycle use. The Heworth Green Roundabout design encouraged low vehicle speeds and improvements to the visibility of cyclists. Unless leaving at the next exit, the cyclist is positioned within the visibility of drivers on approach arms. Annular cycle lanes should only be considered as part of a broader range of measures to reduce the circulatory carriageway to a single lane and to encourage low speeds.

(Transport Scotland, 2010)

Gaps in the research

  • It is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the literature because the range of literature on any one type of infrastructure tends to be limited and studies described are often small scale, in a few locations, or were not monitored for long periods of time.

  • There was a notable lack of evidence on the amount of cycling activity in the UK and the exposure of cyclists to different forms of infrastructure. This lack represents a serious barrier to more detailed understanding of how to reduce risk to cyclists.

  • There are some approaches to improving cycle safety that are used in other European countries but which are rarely used and have not been assessed in the UK; these include general exemptions from one-way restrictions and false one-way streets. More innovation and experimentation, supported by appropriate monitoring, is recommended.

  • There are mixed views reported by local authorities as to the effectiveness of the interventions they have adopted with a common reply being insufficient time and/or data to fully assess the scheme’s outcome.

(S. Reid and S. Adams, 2010)

  • There is a lack of research related to the new cycle hire and cycle superhighways interventions that have been put in place in London. An evaluation of these schemes would highlight whether schemes should be implemented elsewhere.

  • Other research gaps include research related to other road users’ perception of cyclists, and the difference between such perception in the UK and other European countries.

  • There is limited research into how the different priority and liability rules found in countries with the highest levels of cycling affect the perceived and actual levels of safety for cyclists, or their implications for infrastructure design

  • Date Added: 05 Mar 2013, 11:21 AM
  • Last Update: 28 Aug 2016, 09:53 AM