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Cycle-proofing is British Cycling’s term to ensure that cycling is designed into all new roads and junctions. The aim of cycle-proofing is to make travelling by bicycle a safer, more convenient and desirable form of transport. If new road and junction design achieves this then it has been cycle-proofed.

What is Cycle Proofing? from British Cycling on Vimeo.

Cycle-proofing measures are often simple, everyday solutions such as priority at junctions, lower speed limits and permeable streets. Others require greater redesign such as dedicated space and junctions designed to slow traffic. The important thing is that these become joined up, consistent and they make cycling a desirable form of transport for all.

Cycle-proofing is:

  • Ensuring all new junctions and roads are designed to accomodate and encourage cycling, specific measures include:
  • Dedicated space on busier urban roads and those with higher speeds keeps cyclists safe and shows that they are a valued road user
  • Parallel off-road facilities for dual carriageways and inter-urban roads encourage people to commute by bike, not just in town but all the way in from suburban homes.
  • Permeable roads things like no through roads, that allow bikes to travel in both directions and give direct routes for cycling making it a more attractive transport option
  • Priority at junctions reduces collisions and again sends a message to all road users that this space is for people not just cars
  • Roundabouts and junctions designed to slow traffic give everyone more time to think, reduce collisions and allows all road users to mix safely
  • Reducing speed limits a cheap and incredibly effective way of making road space safer and less intimidating.

International best practice shows us when direct, attractive and joined up roads and infrastructure is created for cycling, cycling takes root and becomes a significant transport mode. This will get more people cycling which is good for the sport as well as our health, environment and economy.

Cycle-proofing is about ensuring that cycling is designed into all new roads and junctions, integrated into all new transport schemes and all new roads policies.

With the Government committed to investing £28 billion in new roads and improvements now is the time to ensure design and planning guidance ensures that we create safe, convenient and desirable roads for cycling.

How we achieve this

Designing cycle-proofing measures into all new roads, junctions and transport projects is the key to transforming the environment in which we cycle. All transport policy making should specifically address the impact the proposal will have on the convenience, desirability and safety for cycling.

We need to create new national design guidelines for road and cycle infrastructure design. By introducing new enforceable guidelines which take into account the needs of cyclists, road infrastructure can be gradually adapted to make cycling safer on all Britain’s roads. This is a simple idea but it needs leadership from the very top to bring to ensure all organisations involved in designing and managing our roads understand and support these aims.

The current cycle infrastructure guidance needs updating because it is a mixture of policy and design guidance and consequently it is sometimes contradictory and allows for the provision of inadequate and sometimes dangerous cycling infrastructure.

We need to see a legal requirement for all traffic authorities to make measurable and positive improvements for cycling when planning and upgrading transport infrastructure and setting transport policy.

The revised design guidance should seek the creation of direct, joined up, consistent, safe and pleasant cycling conditions – including dedicated cycle facilities – that meet the needs of all existing and potential cyclists. Its explicit aim should be to help cycling to become a normal and widely-used option for day-to-day travel or for recreation, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

We need to see a legal requirement for all traffic authorities to make measurable and positive improvements for cycling when planning and upgrading transport infrastructure and setting transport policy. Updates are also needed to regulations to, for example, allow separate traffic lights for cyclists.

British Cycling will work hard to ensure organisations involved in planning and designing roads and junctions are aware of the concept of cycle-proofing and will seek to learn from their expertise of how we turn this into a reality.