A Cycle Track
is a portion of a right-of-way contiguous with the traveled way, which
has been designated by pavement markings and, if used, signs for the
exclusive use of bicyclists. Cycle tracks are typically one-way (not
always), may or may not be at a higher elevation than the adjacent
roadway, and are separated from the motor vehicle lane by a physical
barrier or buffer such as a curb, planting strip, or parked cars.
Cycle tracks create the following operational and design challenges which should be considered:
- Motor vehicles entering the
arterial roadway from a side street that is stop controlled must
cross through bicycle traffic to view arterial roadway traffic
around the parked cars. This may cause motor vehicles to block the
cycle track as they edge forward to see around parked vehicles.
- Drivers of motor vehicles crossing
or turning from the road with cycle tracks may not be able to see
bicyclists in the cycle tracks if they are blocked by parked
- To make a left turn, bicyclists
must merge into the travel lanes from behind a line of parked cars
(assuming the parking is being used), creating a situation with
poor sight lines between motorists and bicyclists. If parking is
fully-utilized, this may not even be possible except at signalized
intersections where bicyclists are given an exclusive phase to make a
- Motor vehicle passengers are not
accustomed to looking for bicyclists when they open doors and exit on
the right side of the vehicle. Consequently, several feet of shy
distance (e.g., lateral space) is needed between the parked motor
vehicles and the cycle track.
- If the facility is a two-way
bicycle cycle track, bicyclists may ride in the opposite direction of
adjacent motor vehicle traffic, making them vulnerable to motor
vehicle drivers who only look to their left when turning right from a
- In most cases, cycle tracks should
not be placed between parked cars and the curb, unless the
aforementioned issues can be addressed.
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