Better cycle infrastructure will help cyclists feel safer on the road, and may encourage more people to cycle. Increased cycling will reduce air pollution and motor vehicle congestion if people switch from using their cars. Cycling provides a big health benefit to those people who do not already exercise regularly.

Increased cycling uptake has a number of advantages. Compared to driving, cycling has a profound health benefit on the cyclist. There are benefits for wider Cambridgeshire too, which will experience less air pollution and congestion as a result of fewer cars, and increased cyclists. Cycle infrastructure increases the uptake of cycling. This is because cyclists feel safer, and feel more welcome on the road. The benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks to the cyclist.

Cycle lanes

Cycle lane alongside vehicles on road

Cycle lanes are designated road space for cyclists. The lanes are marked on the road with white paint, and a symbol of a bicycle is often spaced along the lane. Sometimes cycle lanes are painted red to make them more visible to drivers, but this could make the street look cluttered.

If a cycle lane has a broken dotted line (an advisory cycle lane), this means motor vehicles are only allowed to enter the lane if it is safe to do so. If the cycle lane has a solid white line (a mandatory cycle lane), motor vehicles are not allowed to enter the lane at any time except to pick up or set down passengers or in case of emergency. Motor vehicles are only permitted to park in advisory cycle lanes if it is unavoidable, and there are no parking restrictions.

Effectiveness

There's very little information about the safety effects of cycle lanes. Designating road space to cyclists does not necessarily prevent cyclist accidents.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Designated road space for cyclists which motor vehicles should not enter
  • Allow cyclists to overtake on the inside of vehicular traffic
  • Low cost
  • May remind motorists that cyclists could be present
  • Perceived width of the carriageway is narrowed, which may reduce motorised vehicle speeds
  • May give cyclists more confidence to use the road. This provides many benefits, including:
    • Improving health of those choosing to cycle
    • Reducing motor vehicle congestion
    • Reducing pollution from motor vehicles
  • May cause cyclists to be less cautious about motor vehicles
  • Less road space is available for other users
  • Can increase conflict between drivers and cyclists

Restrictions

  • Cycle lanes cannot be installed on a road where car parking is permitted (unless car parking spaces are designated)
  • The road space must be able to accommodate a 3 metre motor vehicle lane, and at least 1.5 - 2 metres for the cycle lane
  • This scheme requires a Traffic Regulation Order and a Road Safety Audit.

Cost

Equipment £700 - £3,500
Works £800 - £2,000
Traffic Regulation Order £1,000
Road Safety Audit £1,500
Total£4,000 - £8,000

Costs are for 200 metres of advisory cycle lane with cycle symbols. Costs vary depending on location of works and are for lining and signing only (no red surfacing)


Cycleways

Segregated cycleway and footway through field

There are two distinct types of cycleway that are predominantly used in Cambridgeshire, they are shared use and segregated cycleway/footways.

Shared use is where pedestrians and cyclists use a wide path or footway together. This could be by the side of a road, or through a park or plaza.  Cyclists are not allowed to cycle on a footway unless it has been designated as shared use.

Segregated space allocates a section of the footway for cycle use only. Some physical segregations can be used but generally a raised white line is installed to delineate the footway and cycleway. The lanes will normally have bicycle or pedestrian symbols installed and 'Give Way' symbols are often used when the lanes finish or come to a junction.  The pedestrian section is still classed as footway and cyclists are not permitted to ride in it.

Effectiveness

It may seem obvious that removing cyclists from motor vehicle traffic will increase safety, however there can be complacency when cyclists move out of the shared use area, this could result in an increase in accidents. This effect could potentially cancel-out any improved safety cyclists experience whilst within the shared area.

For many people, they will only consider cycling regularly if there is segregation from motor vehicle traffic. Shared use footways/cycleways are far more likely than on-road cycle lanes to encourage people to cycle, especially younger people.

If more people are cycling rather than driving, this reduces pollution, reduces traffic congestion, and has a profound health benefit on the individual. The benefits of cycling to the individual far outweigh any possible risks from road safety. 

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Allows cyclists and motor vehicles to travel without having to avoid each other
  • Cyclists feel safer when they are not sharing the road with motor vehicles
  • Offers better safety protection to cyclists compared to on-road cycle lanes
  • May encourage people to switch from using their car to cycling instead. This provides many benefits, including:
    • Improving health of those choosing to cycle
    • Reducing motor vehicle congestion
    • Reducing pollution from motor vehicles
  • Costs considerably more than on road cycle lanes
  • Only possible where there is enough space
  • May leave less road space for motor vehicles and parking
  • Can be a potential for conflict with pedestrians
  • Can be a potential conflict with vehicles using their accesses

Turning a footway into shared use facility can be very easy to do, because it only requires signage on the footway (to show pedestrians and cyclists can use the space), along with some legal and consultation work.

It is important to remember that cyclists can be travelling considerably faster than pedestrians, so there must be enough space on the path for cyclists to pass pedestrians. If there’s a high volume of pedestrians and cyclists using a relatively small path, cyclists are likely to become frustrated. Similarly, pedestrians may find cyclists pass them too closely, which could cause concern and discomfort.

Restrictions

Cost

Equipment £24,000 - £30,000
Works £7,000 - £12,000
Road Safety Audit £1,500
Traffic Regulation Order £1,000
Total£33,500 - £44,500
Costs are for 80 metres of new footway/cycleway and are highly variable, depending on land being used, drainage requirements, utilities in the area and type of cycleway being built. Costs to widen an existing footway and convert to a cycleway will be much cheaper

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