Cycle lane safety
Cycle lane safety is an important issue for road authorities around the UK. Cycle lanes, also known as bike lanes or bicycle lanes, are dedicated traffic lanes reserved for cyclists. They are an essential part of road infrastructure, providing safe and efficient routes for cyclists to travel on.
Despite the benefits of cycle lanes, they can also present some safety hazards if they are not properly designed and maintained. For example, if a cycle lane is not clearly marked or if it is obstructed by parked cars or other objects, it can be difficult for cyclists to navigate and avoid collisions with other vehicles.
To ensure the safety of cyclists, it is important for road authorities to properly design and maintain their cycle lanes. However as we are fully aware, when cyclists approach a junction, they are not always seen by the car drivers which has caused several accidents, which is why the recent change of the Highway code has given the cyclist as priority to reduce these type of accidents.
In addition to proper design and maintenance, it is also important for cyclists to follow the rules of the road and use common sense when riding in a cycle lane. This includes riding in the correct direction, giving way to other vehicles when necessary, and using hand signals to indicate turns or changes in direction.
Overall, cycle lane safety is a shared responsibility between road authorities, cyclists, and other road users. By working together, we can create safer and more efficient routes for cyclists to travel on, and help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
Cycle lane separators improve safety
It is generally believed that cycle lane separators, also known as barriers or bollards, can help reduce accidents involving cyclists. These separators are physical barriers that are installed within a cycle lane and the main road, and they are designed to deter cars and other vehicles from entering the cycle lane and colliding with cyclists.
Studies have shown that cycle lane separators can be effective in reducing accidents and improving safety for cyclists. For example, a study conducted in Toronto, Canada found that intersections with physical barriers had 28% fewer injuries for cyclists compared to intersections without barriers.
In addition to reducing accidents, cycle lane separators can also help to improve the overall efficiency of the road network. By creating a dedicated space for cyclists, these separators can help to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow for all road users.
Overall, while cycle lane separators are not a perfect solution, they can be an effective tool in improving safety for cyclists and reducing the risk of accidents.
Evidence of casualty reduction
Other studies have also shown similar results, indicating that cycle lane separators can be an effective tool in improving safety for cyclists. For example, a study in the Netherlands found that the use of physical barriers in cycle lanes reduced the number of accidents involving cyclists by up to 50%.
These studies demonstrate that cycle lane separators can be effective in reducing the risk of accidents involving cyclists. By creating a dedicated space for cyclists and preventing cars from entering the cycle lane.
Types of cycle lane separators
There are several types of cycle lane separators, including:
- Physical barriers: These are typically solid barriers such as Kerbs, Orca Cycle Lane Serparators, planters, or posts that physically separate the cycling lane from other lanes of traffic.
- Painted lines: These are lines painted on the road surface that indicate the boundaries of the cycling lane.
- Raised cycle tracks: These are dedicated cycling lanes that are raised above the level of the road, providing a physical separation from other traffic.
- Shared-use paths: These are paths that are shared by both cyclists and pedestrians, and are often separated from roads by grass verges or other physical barriers.
Physical barriers, such as Kurbs, planters, or posts, are generally considered the safest type of cycle lane separator as they provide a physical separation from other lanes of traffic. Painted lines and raised cycle tracks can also provide a degree of separation, but may not be as effective in preventing accidents. Shared-use paths are typically the least safe, as they often do not provide a clear separation between cyclists and pedestrians, however the introduction of a Raised Line Delineator could increase this safety.
How should different road authorities chose the type of cycle lane separator
When choosing which type of cycle lane separator to install, road authorities should consider factors such as the type of road, the amount of traffic, the speed of traffic, and the potential for conflicts with other road users. They should also consider the cost and feasibility of installing different types of separators, and consult with local cycling groups and other stakeholders to ensure that the chosen separator is appropriate for the road and meets the needs of all users.
Cycle lanes and congestion
In some cases, the addition of cycle lanes can cause congestion on roads, particularly if the road is already heavily congested or if the cycle lane is not properly designed. However, in many cases, properly designed cycle lanes can actually reduce congestion by providing an alternative mode of transportation for people who would otherwise be driving. By encouraging more people to cycle, cycle lanes can help to reduce the number of cars on the road, leading to less congestion and better traffic flow.
Economic case for cycle lane separators
Cycle lane separators can save society money in several ways. First, by improving the safety of cycling, separators can reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists, which can save money on medical costs and other expenses associated with accidents. Second, by encouraging more people to cycle, separators can help to reduce the number of cars on the road, leading to reduced congestion and improved traffic flow. This can save money on the costs of maintaining roads and other infrastructure, as well as reducing fuel consumption and air pollution. Finally, by promoting healthy and active lifestyles, separators can help to reduce healthcare costs associated with sedentary lifestyles and chronic diseases.
Rediweld's Cycle Lane Separators
Rediweld provide a wide range of innovative products that enable cycle land segregation, in varying lengths and widths encouraging more active travel with cycling and walking schemes.
Our WandOrca, which provides horizontal and vertical measures to segregate cyclists from other traffic was recently used by Gloucestershire County Council on the approach into Gloucester city centre.
Read more about cycle lane segregation at Rediweld
Find out more about cycle lanes
- IRAP Toolkit
- Cyclist safety: an information resource for decision-makers and practitioners, WHO 5 November 2020
- CD 195 - Designing for cycle traffic, Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, March 2021
- Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study. Teschke et al. Am J Public Health. 2012 December
- History, risk, infrastructure: perspectives on bicycling in the Netherlands and the UK. Wardlaw. J Transport and Health. 2014.