Bike Paths
31 May

What Makes an Ideal Bike Pathway


An ideal bike pathway is seamlessly incorporated into city infrastructure, easily serving cyclists and pedestrians without hampering motor vehicle traffic. Preferably in bright contrast with its surroundings, this bike pathway stands out from the pavement to provide recognizable traffic patterns that keep cyclists and pedestrians safe.  

Urban planners have explored many options for bike pathways in order to determine the best option for commuters. 

In the Netherlands, statistics have shown a higher number of injured cyclists, and it’s not due to vehicular collisions but to collisions between cyclists. Bike lanes are becoming overcrowded, and e-bikes make biking accessible for individuals that may not have been able to bike before. In response, they’re trying something called the green wave that uses a green light to guide a cyclist’s speed between traffic lights.

Researchers, urban planners, and commuters recognize that biking can help to reduce traffic while improving health. But in order to prevent cyclist and pedestrian injuries, clearly marked bike pathways are a must, serving as a clear barrier between cars and bikers. 

According to the European Commission, a few factors that set bike lanes apart are barrier innovation, high visibility, signal phasing, lane length, and location. In 2007, a Dutch design manual CROW identified the five principles of cycle infrastructure that increased the use of bikes. These five principles are safety, directness, coherence, attractiveness, and comfort. 

Many bike pathways run alongside roadways, and while this is a functional design, operational problems tend to occur, including collisions and confusion. For example, when a bike path ends, cyclists must then figure out the best way to change direction or find another safe route.

Motorists are often unlikely to notice cyclists. Since bikes travel at faster speeds than pedestrians but slower speeds than cars, they are hard to keep track of for other drivers.

As more bike lane networks are introduced and expanded in cities, fewer cyclist fatalities occur. The NACTO surveyed seven cities, and it noted a decline in injuries and deaths of cyclists between 2007 and 2014, even as bike ridership rates increased. Studies show that more protected bike lanes increase bike riding from rate increases of 21% to 171%.

Bike Pathway Barrier Innovation

When it comes to bike pathways, many urban planners and networks turn to physical barriers between same-level bike pathways and pedestrian walkways. However, these can be problematic for individuals with disabilities to circumvent or even misleading. Therefore, in cooperation with the City of San Francisco in California, StrongGo has created a trapezoid-shaped delineator that effectively creates a low barrier between bicyclists and pedestrians. The beauty of these barriers is that they’re crossable, but they also help guided individuals with visual impairments.

Bike Pathway Visibility

To protect bikers, pedestrians, and motorists, brilliant visibility is essential for bike pathways. In fact, the ADA requires that colors be in direct contrast with their surrounding pavement. This will serve people with all levels of visual abilities.

Bike Pathway Signage

Clear and consistent bike pathway signage is important for all commuters, and this includes appropriate road signs that serve all directions of traffic. In some areas, bikers may ride against the flow of vehicle traffic, and they may be unable to see the road signs. 

Bike Pathway Length

When a bike pathway ends, it should not come to an abrupt stop without allowing bikers to feed into another safe route, even if that route shares the road. This will help protect all commuters. 

Bike Pathway Network

Urban planners must consider how to integrate a bike pathway network into an already existing city or university space, and this is challenging. However, the bike pathway network will improve the quality of commute for all individuals. Paying special attention to how to cohesively connect solo bike pathways with same-level pedestrian sidewalks to on-the-road routes is crucial to creating an accessible city space.

An ideal bike pathway connects people throughout the city or university space with a same-level bike path without creating inaccessible barriers for individuals with disabilities. At StrongGo, we build with an accessible world in mind. Discover your ADA compliant options by contacting us today.


Sources:
https://land8.com/what-makes-a-good-bicycle-path-part-2/#:~:text=Obviously%20the%20surface%20of%20the,enough%20space%20to%20move%20through.
https://momentummag.com/what-makes-a-bike-lane-great/
https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/urban/cycling/guidance-cycling-projects-eu/cycling-infrastructure-quality-design-principles/basic-quality-design-principles_en
https://nacto.org/2016/07/20/high-quality-bike-facilities-increase-ridership-make-biking-safer/