Design and Build Bicycle streets

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

Bicycle street is a concept applied to roads and streets that have only residential access function for motorised traffic but are an important and popular link for cycling traffic. The trick is to make the street perceived as a cycle path with (some) cars allowed. This can be helped by signs (“cars are guests” in the Netherlands, bicycle path sign with an exception e.g. for local inhabitants in Germany) and street layout (e.g. continuation of red surface from a cycling path).

General principles

In Ressen and Lent the cycle highway RijnWaalpad follows existing local roads. As a part of rebuilding them to bicycle... Laauwikstraat in Nijmegen – example of cycle street with higher amount of car traffic [check amount]. Parth of...

Bicycle street should have:

  • right of way over other residential streets that have a less important function in the bicycle network;
  • smooth surface;
  • measures to discourage through motorised traffic, e.g. filtered permeability;
  • measures to discourage speeding of motorised vehicles that do not hinder cyclists (see bicycle friendly traffic measures);
  • measures to discourage overtaking of bicycles by motorised traffic.

Bicycle streets mostly work on the principle of self-explaining infrastructure and dominant usage. The amount of bicycles using the street should be higher than cars. The number of cars per day should preferably be lower than 500, and not exceeding 2500. If it is not the case, measures should be taken to reduce the number of cars or alternative solutions (e.g. separated cycle path) considered.  

Rules and regulations

Although bicycle streets are popular in the Netherlands, there are no specific rules for behaving on them. They work on the principle of self-explaining infrastructure and dominant usage. Bicycle street signs do however have legal basis in traffic law in Belgium (since 2012) and Germany. The signs mean that:

  • Cyclists are allowed to ride the full width of the carriageway;
  • Cars are not allowed to drive faster than 30 km/h and should adapt their speed to cyclists;
  • Cars are not allowed to overtake cyclists (Belgium only);
  • Vehicles other than bicycles allowed to enter the street have to be enumerated under the sign (Germany only).

Mistakes to avoid

  • Cycle street might not be the best concept to apply in locations with low cycling levels. If most of street users are drivers, (potential) new, inexperienced cyclists may feel intimidated and either cycle on the sidewalks or not cycle at all.
  • Infrastructure should in general not encourage behaviour that is illegal. Therefore, if the relevant legal framework for prioritising cycling on the carriageway is missing (e.g. cyclists are obliged by road code to always ride in single file or to make space for overtaking cars), cycle street might create conflicts that are difficult to resolve. 

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