What is a cycle highway?
A mobility product
A mobility product is more than "just" a piece of transport infrastructure.
The core of the product is the functional connection which provides benefits for its users.
The actual product has a materialised part which can contain different type of infrastructure (bike path, cycle lane, low traffic public roads, etc.: see Lexicon), and it is not limited to a certain type of infrastructure. The actual product contains also immaterial components, like a brand (a clear name, an own visual identity, a logo, signs, etc.) which helps to promote it and communicate with the users.
In addition to the core and actual product, there is an “augmented product” which contains all components indirectly connected to the mobility product itself: liability, responsibility of maintenance, customer care, etc.
A functional cycling connection
To be functional, a cycle highway should connect relevant destinations. It means that it connects cities (major work places) with their suburbs (residential areas) or cities with other urban areas, when they are at cycling distance. It means that cycle highways can serve bicycle journeys on longer distances, between 5-30 km.
Backbone of a cycle network
The cycle highway will have a clear start and end. But the origins and destinations of the cyclists will be spread over a larger area around the start and end point. Only few cyclists will use a cycle highway from start to end, simply because their home and their work won’t be exactly there. Therefore the connections with cycle network around the cycle highway are as important as the cycle highway itself.
One of the immediately most visible aspects of a cycle highway is quality of construction. Cycle highways display an array of excellent technical solutions to fulfil the needs of all types of cyclists at all levels of experience and fitness.
The quality can be assessed by a set of criteria. The Cycle Highway Assessment Tool analyses all these criteria point by point to help you evaluate the quality of your infrastructure with a systematic approach.
Cycle highways are designed primarily for commuters, while leisure and tourism use is secondary. A cycle highway should be designed for users in all ages groups (from 8 to 80 years-old), fitness and experience levels (from beginner to expert). Also keep in mind that the target type of users may change depending on the maturity of the route.
Mature cycle highways can satisfy users with different types of bicycles, including cargo bikes, recumbent bikes and pedelecs, including speed pedelecs up to 45km/h maximum speed. In case of less mature cycle highways the access of different bicycles might be limited.
Cycle highways are not designed for (electric or other) mopeds in any case.
Other road users (especially pedestrians and in case of public roads motorised vehicles) are less and less allowed on more mature cycle highways (and more segregated cycling infrastructure is required).