Bi-directional cycle paths - Parts I and II

by Thomas Skallebæk Buch and Søren Underlien Jensen

Summary and conclusion

For the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Trafitec has observed cyclists' positioning and traffic flow on 6 bi-directional cycle paths in Copenhagen. The paths have a width of 1.9-4.0 meters and are observed during and outside rush hour. The traffic during rush hour varies between approximately 900 and 2,100 cyclists/hour.

In general, cyclists stay to the right on the paths and it does not seem that the dotted centerline has much influence on the location on a route. About 3% of cyclists cross the center of the path without a dotted centerline, compared to about 2% with a centerline. A centerline may be appropriate on some parts of the network, for example in connection with sharp curves or intersections where cyclists stop and wait while others enter the line. The distribution of traffic on the Nørre bridge route 2 (4.0 meters wide) does not suggest that lane markings are necessary to ensure appropriate traffic flow on wide paths. Cyclists naturally position themselves in four lanes when the volume of traffic requires it.

Based on the observed max-flow, all paths can handle at least 2,000 bicycles per hour, and at a width of more than 3.0 meters a max-flow of more than 3,000 bicycles per hour can be handled. It should be added that the two narrow paths with a width of 1.9 and 2.4 meters have a peak hour load of around 1,000 cyclists and the pedestrian area is used to accommodate this traffic volume. It is, for example, when overtaking that these two paths appear narrow and without an adequate level of service.

It seems that a fully drawn edge line between the bike lane and the pavement is not enough to keep cyclists on the bike lane, but it is possible that the solution could work if the bike lane is wider in relation to the traffic volume.

There are only minor differences in the distribution of cyclists on the cross-sections of the sites when data are collected for the peak hour and half an hour off-peak. Free-moving cyclists position themselves as the average, while it is often cyclists in connection with overtaking who position themselves to the left of the path center. There is a clear correlation between path width and the proportion of cyclists crossing the center of the path when overtaking. The wider the path, the fewer cyclists cross the center.

With the exception of the narrowest path, Peblinge Dossering 1, it can be concluded that most cyclists place themselves 0.5-1.0 meters from the right edge and thus at roughly the same distance from the path edge as on one-way paths with curb delimitation to the side areas. This is supported by the fact that during the registration it was observed that many path users drove just around 0.5 meters from the right edge. However, the study suggests that if a curb or a crossable separation to a sidewalk constitutes the right edge, cyclists position themselves further to the right. This is shown by the fact that almost the same proportion place themselves 0-0.5 meters as 0.5-1.0 meters from the right-hand edge. The cycle path area is thus better utilized.

What are you looking for?