Separated cycleways are facilities exclusively for cycling. They involve some form of physical separation from motor traffic and are generally situated on or adjacent to the roadway, usually within the road reserve. The separation may involve horizontal and/or vertical components.
The term ‘separated cycleway’ includes facilities known as: ‘protected cycle lanes’ (Auckland Transport), ‘separated cycle lanes’ (Christchurch City Council), ‘separated bicycle lanes’ (Austroads), ‘buffered bicycle lanes’ (Queensland Transport and Main Roads), and ‘cycle tracks’ (NACTO).
Separated cycleways can be either:
one-way (uni-directional) ie cycling in the same direction as adjacent traffic usually on each side of the road; or
two-way (bi-directional) ie both directions for cycling accommodated within one facility on one side of the road.
There are a range of methods that can be employed to separate and protect cyclists from motor traffic, each offering different levels of actual safety (ie in terms of crash risk) and perceived safety (ie in terms of people’s subjective evaluations).
Some examples of recently developed separated cycleways in New Zealand are shown in the photos below.
Check whether separated cycleways are a suitable facility for your target users and for the type of road.
Separated cycleways are not specifically described in the Road User Rule. Under New Zealand traffic law, as separated cycleways physically exclude general traffic they are not considered to be ‘roadway’. This means that at intersections, cyclists using the separated cycleway enter the roadway and are required to give way to all vehicles, which can be contrary to road user expectations.
If a separated cycleway is the preferred facility, it is necessary to decide whether to provide two 1-way facilities or a single 2-way facility on a particular route. The SeparatedCycleway Option Tool (SCOT) can be used to assist with this decision, guidance on use of the tool [PDF, 1.1 MB] needs to be read in conjunction with spreadsheet tool [XLSX, 38 KB]. In most cases, 1-way facilities will have better safety outcomes due to drivers often not expecting cyclists coming the ‘wrong way’. As SCOT does not currently account for gradient, extra caution is advised if using it to inform decisions involving facilities involving contra-flow cycling in the downhill direction.
Width and separator/protection
Other key considerations in the design of a separated cycle facility are the width of the facility and the type of separator. Further guidance on this will be provided in the future.
Examples of separators are shown below.
Interaction with pedestrians
Pedestrians may have to cross separated cycleways to access bus stops, pedestrian crossing facilities, car parking and the footpath. The choice of mitigation measure for these conflicts is a function of how much space is available; ideally people stepping off buses, or out of parked cars should not step directly into the separated cycleway.
Cycle symbols and coloured surfacing within separated cycle facilities are as per cycle lanes.
There are no currently no specific signs for separated cycle facilities.
Surfacing, grates and other considerations
As per cycle lanes. It should be noted that any separation between the cycle facility and the carriageway may impede stormwater flow so will require consideration of drainage.
Intersections and driveways
See Intersections for discussion on how to treatment separated cycleways at intersections. An interim design note for design of priority/uncontrolled side roads and driveways is available.
Interim pavement specifications [PDF, 98 KB] for primary cycling routes including cycle-lanes and cycle-paths, shared paths and cycleways, as well as pavement shoulders where cycling demand is high and where a high level of service is desired, have been developed. For a secondary or minor route in a cycling network, a lower level specification may be appropriate.