Recommended Bicycle Lane Widths for Various Roadway Characteristics

U.S. practitioners have minimal nationally recognized guidance regarding the roadway characteristics under which bicycle lanes should be provided or, at least, considered. The current (1999) edition of the <em>AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities</em> describes design of bicycle lanes, but presents virtually no guidance about roadway conditions under which they should be provided, considered, or omitted. On busier urban roadways with operating speeds above 40 mph, usage of bicycle lanes often is observed to be modest; the <em>Guide</em> simply observes that "additional widths (more than 5 ft.) are desirable" where speeds exceed 50 mph or truck volume is heavy. It is sometimes suggested that, at some threshold, designation of nearby bike routes should be considered in lieu of bicycle lanes or perhaps on thoroughfares with relatively low speeds or truck volumes, or where on-street parking is allowed, wide curb lanes or shared roadway treatments may be as or more effective than a bicycle lane. Some state departments of transportation (DOTs) have adopted policies of (generally) routine provision of bicycle lanes in urban projects, some consider whether the road is included in the local bicycle plan, and some consult criteria tables in a 1994 study published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), "Selecting Roadway Design Treatments to Accommodate Bicycles." Selection factors proposed in this report are traffic volume, average traffic operating speed, "traffic mix" (presence of heavy vehicles), on-street parking, sight distance, and intersection spacing. For a given combination, tables identify a "desirable" treatment (wide curb lane, shared lane, paved shoulder, or bike lane) of recommended minimum width (at least as great as AASHTO's). The authors described their recommendations as "preliminary" and anticipated that the tables would be refined as the state of the practice evolved, but no revision has ever been developed. The objective is to develop design criteria for bicycle lanes based on roadway characteristics including, but not limited to, classification, speed, ADT, number of trucks, the grade of the roadway, and parking. The design criteria will help determine if bicycle lanes should be installed and if so, what would be the recommended width of the bicycle lane, the adjacent travel lane, and, if applicable, parking.<div></div>


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $300000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 15-42

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Hedges, Christopher

  • Start Date: 20100310
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 22363

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464190
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 15-42
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:37PM