Source: NYDOT.

5 types of bike lanes Differences and particularities.

22 Sep, 2022 | City, City | 0 comments

These are the different types of bike lanes that many cities are already implementing to pacify their streets and, thus, generate an exclusive space for users of bicycles and other personal mobility vehicles. The aim is to get more people to replace their motorized vehicles with more sustainable ways of transport.

Each case is different, depending on the city, street, engagement of the local community, modal share, etc. This means that the infrastructure for bikes and micromobility vehicles must adapt to each scenario. Some of these infrastructures are described below:

1. Types of protected bike lanes

A protected bike lane is separated from motor traffic and from the pavement by bike lane separators or another physical barrier. It provides a space to be exclusively or primarily used by bikes.

One-way protected bike lanes.

Street in the Municipality of Braga (Portugal) in an example of one of the types of bike lanes of the one-way protected bike lane separated from traffic and the sidewalk by the use of Zebra family® separator.
Source: Tomas Allen

These are one-way protected bike lanes that can be combined with a parking lane, bike lane separators or another barrier between the bike lane, the motor vehicle lane, and the pavement.

  • It is a protected space for cyclists to improve comfort and safety.
  • It eliminates the risk and fear of collisions with overtaking vehicles.
  • It makes parking on the cycle lane difficult, unlike an unprotected cycle lane.
  • It is more attractive to a wider cross-section of the community than unprotected bike lanes.
  • It costs little to implement as it uses the existing pavement and drains, as well as the parking lane or other low-cost physical barrier for traffic segregation.

Two-way protected bike lane.

Street in Ripollet (Catalonia) of one of the two-way protected bike lane types separated from traffic and the sidewalk by using Zipper® bike lane separators from ZICLA.
Source: ZICLA

Two-way protected bike lanes are segregated by a physical barrier, such as bike lane separators, and allow for two-way traffic on one side of the road.

On one-way streets, it reduces the number of cyclists riding in the opposite direction to the traffic by providing a lane in which to do so safely.

Types of bike lanes in the opposite direction to motor vehicle traffic.

Street with bike lane dividers in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic protected with Zebra family® dividers from ZICLA
Source: Rubén Cacho, El Norte de Castilla.

These cycle lanes enable users to travel in the opposite direction to road traffic. They turn a one-way street into a two-way street: one way for motor vehicles and bikes, the other way for bikes only. . These types of lanes must run on the left of the road, so that cyclists ride on the right, and must be segregated by cycle lane separators or other physical barrier. In this way

  • Provides connectivity and access for cyclists travelling in both directions.
  • Reduces the danger of travelling in the opposite direction on streets that are not designed for this.
  • Cuts down on travel time and the number of junctions encountered.

Bike lanes segregated by a parking line.

Ojai, California (USA) is one of the bike lanes segregated by a parking lane with the use Zebra family® bike lane separators from ZICLA.
Source: Two Fish Digital

In this case, the bike lane is located adjacent to a parking line and the parked vehicles act as a protective barrier between cyclists and traffic. A safety strip is always established to allow for the doors of cars parked in line to be opened without invading the cycle lane.

Central bike lanes.

Avenida Albert Bastardas, Barcelona (Catalonia) is one of the central bike lanes protected by Zipper® system separators from ZICLA.
Source: ZICLA

These are bike lanes that run along the middle of the road. They are normally protected from motor traffic by cycle lane separators or other physical barriers on either side of the cycle lane.

Raised bike lanes.

ZICLA types of bike lanes 5 types of bike lanes Differences and particularities. 6
Source: Tomatealgo

These cycle lanes are separated from motor vehicles, usually at an intermediate level between the road and the pavement. Raised bike lanes can be one-way or two-way. They therefore:

  • Secure and protect the space for cyclists to improve comfort and safety.
  • Are more attractive to a wider cross-section of the community than the other configurations.
  • Prevent cars from entering the cycle lane easily.

2. Types of unprotected bike lanes.

This type of bike lane has no physical segregation and is usually differentiated from the motor vehicle lane by applying paint on the road.

One-way bike lane.

Unprotected bike lane
Source: Las Provincias

This bike lane is located on the road alongside the motor vehicle traffic lanes and flows in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic.

Buffered bike lanes.

Buffered unprotected bike lane
Source: PUBLIC WORKS, City of Corvallis (Oregon)

Despite not having a physical barrier, these types of cycle lanes have a buffer marking the space of the bike lane, keeping it away from the adjacent motor vehicle traffic lane and/or parking lane. They therefore:

  • Provide a greater distance between motor vehicles and cyclists.
  • Offer space for cyclists to overtake another cyclist without invading the adjacent motor vehicle lane.
  • When the cycle lane runs alongside parked cars, the buffer zone prevents cyclists from travelling through the door-opening zone of these vehicles.

3. The 30-zone street.

Unprotected shared bike lane street zone 30
Source: Jorge Rey, Diario HOY.

This is a road shared by cyclists and drivers with no access restrictions. Traffic speed is restricted to 30km/h.

This solution is possible when traffic intensity is low.

4. The bike lane on the pavement.

Sidewalk bike lane
Source: Granada Hoy

In this case, pedestrians and bikes have shared use of the pavement, with a clearly signposted area reserved for cyclists.

The bike-pavement must be suitably marked to clearly specify the intended uses, especially at points of conflict. Cycle lanes running along the pavement are usually marked with paint and do not have a physical barrier. Planters or other visual vertical furniture are advisable, however, to segregate the different uses of the pavement.

These are the traffic areas where pedestrians can use all of the traffic area and have priority on the entire road.

5. Bicycle boulevards.

Bicycle boulevard in Amsterdam
Source: Diario de Navarra

These are streets with little traffic and low speeds, designated and designed to give priority to bikes. Signs, pavement markings, and speed control measures are used to discourage motor vehicle travel and create safe, convenient cycle crossings on busy streets.


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