What do Basel (Switzerland), Münster (Germany) and Santiago (Chile) have in common? They're all extremely pro-bike, cycle-friendly cities. It's not simply a matter of having the right infrastructure, but rather that the public have made the concerted effort to switch to bicycles. And the decision makers at the top are acknowledging that effort. The response has been that these cities are making ongoing changes in order to provide a better, safer experience for cyclists.
While Australian cities may not have the same uptake of pro-cyclist infrastructure as we see overseas, there is still a great need to implement cycleways in key areas to support our green commuters. But what are the key principles of a good cycleway? Austroads has laid out a specific guideline for what a cycle network should encompass.
Safety and wellbeing
One of the most critical elements in a cycleway is safety. The primary risk to a cyclist's wellbeing comes in the form of vehicular traffic. Therefore, a cycleway should minimise the risk of collision as effectively as it can. This means implementing a barrier between the cycleway and the road. The barrier should be sturdy but it also needs to be relatively high, with an indent at the top to keep pedals from interfering with the balustrade. In addition to vehicular traffic, the cycleway should also be wide enough to accommodate multiple riders.
Coherence and directness
A cycleway needs to be coherent in that it should be placed along a thoroughfare, linking common destinations. They should be continuous in their safety features, have adequate signage and offer multiple routes. The routes from A to B should be as direct as possible, with minimal delays for commuters. To encourage the use of bicycles over alternate transportation options, it's essential that routes take people to where they actually need to go.
Attractiveness and comfort
Like any space that the public can interact with, a cycleway should be designed to fit in with its surroundings, rather than to stand out or to detract from it. Since cycling is not limited to daylight hours, a cycleway should also be well lit for use at night. In terms of comfort, the path should have a smooth and skid-resistant surface with gentle gradients and curves. The idea is to minimise the number of times the rider will need to stop or slow down significantly, and this means working around pedestrian paths and roads where possible, as well as avoiding anything that will require a complicated manoeuvre to get through.
Cities across Australia might not make the list of top cycling cities just yet, but by implementing the right infrastructure we can certainly get there. Webforge's Monowills Velocity modular railing system has been designed and manufactured for use in cycleways, and meets every factor outlined in the Austroads guide to road design. So, what are you waiting for? Get in contact today.