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Description

A shared path means an area of road, separated from a roadway, that may be used by some or all of the following persons at the same time: pedestrians, cyclists, riders of mobility devices and riders of wheeled recreational devices.’ (Traffic Control Devices Rule, Part 2: Definitions(external link))

A shared path may become a ‘multi-use path’ if it includes additional users, for example horse riders.

There are three ways that the different users of a shared path can be accommodated:

  • No formal separation or segregation of modes – users ‘sort themselves out’. This may include suggested behavioural messages (eg ‘warn when approaching’)
  • Directional separation – generally by non-physical methods, eg a painted centreline, arrows, and behavioural messages (eg ‘keep left’)
  • Segregation of modes – by non-physical methods, eg a painted centreline and pedestrian / cycle symbols, which allow for occasional ‘digressions’ where people use the other path. Note that stricter separation would result in a cycle only path adjacent to a footpath).

Some examples of shared paths are shown in the photos below.

Check whether shared paths are a suitable facility for your target users and for the type of road or setting.
  • Legal considerations

    The following legislation (which is under review)  applies to shared paths.

    ‘For a shared path used by cycles, a road controlling authority:

     (a) must install an appropriate sign or combination of signs, defining the class or classes of path user, that complies with Schedule 1:

    (i) at the start of the shared path; and

    (ii) after each roadway or any other pathway with which it intersects; and

    (iii) at the end of the shared path; and

    (b) may install signs at other intervals along the shared path.’ (Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Clause 11.4(1))

    ‘If pedestrians, cycles, wheeled recreational devices or mobility devices are restricted to a specific side or part of a path, or where the path is separated for users travelling in different directions, a road controlling authority:

    (a) must provide signs and appropriate markings indicating the nature of the restriction:

    (i) at the start of the path; and

    (ii) after each roadway or any other pathway with which it intersects; and

    (iii) at the end of the restriction; and

    (b) may mark cycle, pedestrian, wheeled recreational device or mobility device symbols at other intervals along the path.’ (Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Clause 11.4(2))

    ‘A road controlling authority may install on the same pole a combination of signs that relate to cycles, to pedestrians, to riders of wheeled recreational devices or to riders of mobility devices.’ (Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Clause 11.4(3))

    ‘A road controlling authority may install facilities for the parking, standing or storage of cycles, wheeled recreational devices or mobility devices on a footpath, footway, cycle path or shared path.’ (Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Clause 11.4(4))

    ‘When a cycle path or a shared path used by cycles crosses a roadway, a road controlling authority may, as appropriate, control either the movement of users of the path or traffic along the roadway by means of stop or give way signs or by the installation of traffic signals.’ (Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Clause 11.4(5))

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  • Detailed design considerations

    Directional separation

    Centre lines or urban design elements like tactile surfaces should only be used for directional separation when shared paths are at least 3.0 m wide, but their use gives better results than relying on behavioural messages through signs or other markings. Directional separation works better than segregation of modes that is based on non-physical methods. Where user volumes require segregation of modes, physical separation should be considered.

    Technical Note 133 Guidance(external link) on the widths of shared paths and separated bicycle paths provides some examples of delineating shared paths by direction and user.

    Signs

    Shared path signs are required to designate a shared path for use by pedestrians and cyclists. The signage details are outlined in MOTSAM Part 1, Section 2-29c.(external link)

    Markings

    Road controlling authorities may mark cycle and pedestrian symbols at intervals along the cycle or shared path.

    The cycle symbol can be as per the cycle lane symbol (see MOTSAM, Part 2, 2.11.4) with a scale factor of X = 20 mm; this results in a cycle logo 360 mm wide and 560 mm high.

    The pedestrian symbol can be as per TCD Rule, Schedule 2 Markings - M2-3.

    There are several ways that various road controlling authorities mark shared paths to communicate the need to be considerate to other users; examples are shown below.

    Bollard or other end of path treatments

    When using bollards or other end of path treatments on shared paths, for example to restrict access by other vehicles, the placement of the bollard is very important in terms of path user safety. The bollards need to be conspicuous and may require supporting pavement marking.

    Design guidance can be found in the VicRoads Cycle Note 17(external link).

    Pavement design

    Interim pavement specifications 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.

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