Bicycle lane

Bicycle transportation engineering

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

Roads

Wide Outside Lane (WOL)

See: Wide outside lane.

Traffic lights

There are two major issues transportation engineers need to take into account for bicycling: intersection clearance times and bicycle detection at demand-actuated traffic signals. Where bicycles are common, 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 (paint), 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.

Bikeways

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

Sidepath

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.

Parking

Bicycle parking is another important part of Bicycle Transportation Engineering. In most of the United States, bicycle parking facilities are missing or are so inadequate that nearby trees or parking meters are used. The hitching post type of bicycle rack 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).

See also

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