Handbook for cycle-friendly design

Author Sustrans

This guide from Sustrans on cycle-friendly design, whilst published in 2014, still holds relevance today, with growth in cycling and tactical urbanism witnessed in towns and cities across the world during Covid-19. It provides practical and technical design guidance on creating more cyclist-friendly places, alongside best practice examples. It can be drawn upon to design more accessible, healthier, sustainable, and inclusive high streets and town centres.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This practical guide from Sustrans on cycle-friendly design, could be drawn on to ultimately create more accessible, healthier, sustainable, and inclusive high streets and town centres. As noted in the foreword (p.2):

For at least two generations, planning for transport in the UK has primarily focused on the car. The unintended consequence of this has been to suppress walking and cycling, and often public transport use, across all sectors of society. This imbalance has resulted in a transport sector that accounts for a quarter of UK carbon emissions... By shifting from motorised transport to cleaner, healthier travel, particularly for shorter journeys, we can make a significant contribution towards tackling these issues. This would be good for both public health and the liveability of our communities...

The guide provides technical design advice, alongside best practice examples and illustrations, on the following aspects of creating more cycle-friendly places:

  • Street and road design
  • Speed reduction, traffic calming, and quiet streets
  • Reallocation of road space
  • Shared roads, buses, rail, and traffic signals
  • Roundabouts
  • Carriageways and cycle lane widths
  • Innovative cycle facilities
  • Rural areas and villages
  • Bridges and other structures
  • Destination signage
  • Cycle parking
  • Maintenance and management.

Each of these aspects is further underpinned by the following tips for user-focused design.

 Sustrans' Top 10 tips for user-focused design

  1. Cyclists are important
  2. User experience
  3. Target user
  4. Design in line with cycle training
  5. Cycles are vehicles
  6. Cycles are muscle powered
  7. Make space for cyclists
  8. Tame traffic
  9. Continuity and quality of standards
  10. Behaviour of other users.