Mobility and Transport

Clean transport, Urban transport

1.1 Cycle lanes

1.1 Cycle lanes


Cycle lanes are on-road spaces for people who cycle, with road markings separating them from other road traffic. Cycle lanes do not typically have physical barriers preventing motorised traffic from using the cycle lane.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

The expected level of cycling influences suitability and design of cycle lanes. Whilst cycle lanes are likely to be beneficial for all levels of cycling in cities, (provision of dedicated space for cycling), they are likely to be most suited to climber and champion cities. 

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Urban layout/topography

Steep gradients can negatively impact the comfort and attractiveness of a cycle lane. Cycle lane routes should avoid steep gradients, although the directness of a route should also be considered.

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Cycle lanes may be able to support the mobility of seasonal peaks in tourists by offering routes to and around tourist sites. Students often live within cycling distance of their education facility and so cycle lanes may also encourage the use of bicycles and improve the safety of existing cycling students. This is also the case for the provision of cycle lanes connecting various population groups to a range of popular destinations. 

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Finance resources

Cycle lanes can be relatively inexpensive to implement. They use existing road space and utilise paint to visually separate the cycle lane from motor vehicles.  The cost will vary depending on length of cycle lane and the amount of material/paint used. Consider the indirect costs of supporting measures such as signage, intersections and enforcement, and also the cost of feasibility studies and design.

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Time & human resources

Relative to other cycle infrastructure, cycle lanes can be implemented quickly with a small team as they use the existing carriageway and rely on painted visuals to separate the lanes. Time and human resources may be required immediately following their implementation to enforce the separation of cycle and motor vehicle lanes.

Measure impact highlight

3 way arrow representing accessibilityAccessibility

Cycle lanes can be relatively quick and inexpensive to implement, making them one of the most common forms of cycle paths implemented in cities. They allow people who cycle to take advantage of the accessibility that the existing road network provides. When the design of the cycle lane follows best practise and implementation is part of a coherent network, cycle lanes offer a safe and convenient route for people who cycle to travel around a city.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance