Part of: Design Principles of Cycling [Draft Version]

Space Needed for Cycling

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Urban planners and designers must be aware of the space needed for a cyclist to pedal and understand the bicycle as a means of transportation. It is strongly recommended that designers cycle to be fully familiar with the cycling environment and user needs. 

The average width of a cyclist is 1 meter. However, it is important that all infrastructure designed for cyclists allows 10 cm of wiggle room on each side.

The purpose of cycle lanes is to allocate and establish space for cyclists in order to:

  • Increase drivers’ awareness of cyclists
  • Encourage drivers to leave space for cyclists
  • Give people greater confidence to cycle on the road network
  • Improve perceived and actual safety
  • Assist cyclists to pass queuing traffic
  • Encourage lane discipline by cyclists and motor vehicle drivers                                         
Allocated space for cyclists should consider their interactions with other road users. Graphic by WRI.
Basic dimensions for a safe cycle path.