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Cycle Tracks

A cycle track is an on-street bikeway that is separated from auto traffic by some sort of barrier (typically a 1 to 8 foot curb or landscaped boulevard- known as a 'sidian' or verge). The Dutch and the Danish have led the way with cycle tracks. Montreal provides a N. American example of a two-way cycle track on one side of the road. There is a need for on-going research as to the safety and equity of cycle tracks when compared to bike lanes.

Our current thinking is that cities in the U.S. should strive for a well-connected bike lane system on arterials, using cycle tracks only on very high-volume, high speed streets. Ideally, a 'culture of respect' will continue to evolve, a culture that will allow bikes and cars to share 'unsegregated' street space. Perhaps a bike lane is a way to provide just enough separation to promote cycling comfort and safety, without confining bikes to the sides of arterial streets. This may be one of the most important issues in sustainable transportation. What do you think?



A cycle track is between the sidewalk and parked cars. (Denmark)

Cycle track with bus pullout. (Denmark)

Well-built and maintained bicycle facilities encourage shifts from driving to cycling. This reduces pollution, roadway expansions, and crashes. This bikeway has turn arrows. (Copenhagen)


Degrees of separation: texture, color, material, and gradient (gradient refers to the different heights of the walkway, bikeway and motorway).


Bikeway raised from the roadway. (Vancouver B.C.)


Bi-directional, separated bikeway in Montreal. This facility also serves rollerbladers and wheelchairs.  Note:  A two-way cycle track on one side of the street needs to be designed with extreme care:  intersections are particularly challenging when cyclists come from a direction that a driver does not expect.  Special signal phases can be set up at busy intersections... or a roundabout can be used to manage the flow.


The 3-foot verge, or 'sidian', between the parked white van and the bikeway creates a space for bicycle parking, benches, and landscaping, and also keeps car doors from hitting cyclists.



Without the sidian, cars are likely to encroach on the bikeway. (Copenhagen)


Side profile of a cycle track. Inset parking on the far left. (Copenhagen).  MIST interviewed the shop owners along this street and there was high support for this bikeway.  If this model is implemented in the United States, a cultural mind-shift would likely be needed as well as great attention to detail of how the cycle track integrates with side streets, alleys and driveways.  The U.S tends to have many more driveways entering arterial streets when compared to European cities. 


Cycle track with separate bike signal and brick surface. (the pedestrian cross walk is blocked by cars). (Holland)


Shared bikeway/ parking access lane. Parking turnover rate is a factor.

A wide curb lane for bicylists turns into a cycle track up ahead (sidewalk is on the right). (Denmark)


Note: Missoula has just installed cycle tracks on N. Higgins, and they will be ready to ride shortly...

Links:  ...coming...


when to use a cycle track (Dutch Model)

examples of intersection design with cycle tracks

possible rationale for using cycle tracks in U.S.

an article on bike use jumping 900% in Bogota

research on cycling
'putting more people on bicycles more often through the implementation of TEA-21'
Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Portland, Oregon
International Bicycle Fund
VÈlo QuÈbec
Tracy/Williams bike/ped consulting (Missoula, MT)