Guide to Best Practices

Accommodating Cyclists on Rural Roads

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Accommodating Cyclists on Rural Roads

Many highway agencies and local governments now specify that all highways and arterials without curbs have a smooth shoulder of 1-3 metres wherever possible, in part to more safely accommodate cyclists.43 Shoulder pavements also make roads more convenient and safer for motorists, increase highway capacity, facilitate maintenance, snow removal, and help extend roadway life by reducing edge deterioration.44
Gravel roads and driveways connecting to a highway should be paved at least 4.5 metres (15 feet) back to minimize loose gravel from spilling onto the shoulder.
Table 7 Highway Bikeway Width By Traffic Volume (Metres)45

ADT < 250

ADT 250-400

ADT 400-DHV 100

DHV 100-200

DHV 200-400

DHV >400

Rural Arterials







Rural Collectors







Rural Local Routes







ADT = Average Daily Traffic DHV = Design Hour Volume
Table 7 summarizes recommended shoulder bikelane widths. Extra width is required on steep grades and where there is a curb. A bikeway of 1.5-1.8 metre width is needed under such conditions. On shoulder widening projects there may be opportunities to save money by reducing the thickness of aggregate (50-75 mm) and asphalt (100 mm) if:

  • There are no planned roadway widening projects for the road section in the foreseeable future.

  • The existing road shoulder area and roadbed are stable and there is adequate drainage.

  • Existing travel lanes have adequate width and are in stable condition.

  • The horizontal curvature is not excessive, so wheels of large trucks do not track onto the shoulder.

  • The existing and projected vehicle traffic volumes and truck traffic are not excessive.

Design Tip

If rumble strips (raised or grooved markings at the edge of the road to alert motorists running off the roadway) are installed along highways, it is important to provide adequate smooth, paved shoulder beyond the rumble strips to accommodate cyclists.46 A good design is to have 400 mm grooves cut into the shoulder 150 mm to the right of the fog line (the white line at the edge of the road), leaving at least 1.8 m of smooth shoulder for cyclists.

  1. Bicycle Boulevards

Bicycle Boulevards are designated bicycle routes on urban and suburban streets that use traffic management and traffic calming strategies to control motor vehicle traffic while allowing good mobility for cyclists and pedestrians. For example, a Bicycle Boulevard may be a residential street with barriers every five or six blocks that restrict or severely limit motor vehicle traffic but allow bicycles and pedestrians to easily pass. Traffic speeds are typically reduced to about 25 kilometres per hour through speed limits and traffic calming. Motorists still have full access along the street, but cannot use it for through passage. The Bicycle Boulevard has priority at intersections with most cross streets.

  1. Bicycle Parking Facilities

Bicycle parking is an important part of a bicycle plan as it provides security for bicycle users at their destinations.

  • Long-term (Class I) parking is needed at residences, employment centers, schools, and transportation terminals to safely store bicycles for several hours or days at a time. It must be fully protected from the weather, and enclosed in a secure space. This includes lockers, storage rooms, or fenced areas with restricted access.
  • Short-term (Class II) parking is needed at commercial and recreation centers. It should be as accessible (close to destinations) as possible. At least some short-term bicycle parking should be protected from the weather (a portion can be unprotected, since demand tends to increase during dry weather), and it should be visible to by-passers to discourage theft. Bike racks should support the frame of the bike and provide something to lock the frame and wheels.

Bicycle racks and lockers must be well anchored to the ground to avoid vandalism and theft. They should be located where cycles already parked, or where recommended by bicycle advisory groups. Signs may be needed to indicate bike rack location. The following factors should be considered when locating bike parking facilities:

  • Visibility – Racks should be highly visible so cyclists can spot them immediately when they arrive from the street. A visible location also discourages theft and vandalism.

  • Security – Adequate lighting and surveillance is essential for the security of the bicycles and the users.

  • Weather Protection – Where possible to protect bicycle parking from the weather. It is recommended to use an existing overhang or covered walkway, or construct a freestanding roof. Clearance of at least 2 meters is recommended.

  • Adequate Clearance – Racks should be located so that parked bicycles do not block the pedestrian path. Adequate clearance around the racks is required, to give pedestrian clearance, and clearance from the curb or parked cars. Racks should not be placed at loading areas, near a fire hydrant, and should not block building entrances or obscure sight lines.

Table 8 Example of Bicycle Parking Requirements

Land Use

Bicycle Spaces Required



Single family / two family



Apartment / Townhouse

1 per unit plus 6 space rack at each building entrance.

Class I 100%

Class II 6 space rack


Hotel / Motel

1 per 15 rooms. In addition, when hotel/motel is greater than 75 rooms, a 6 space visitor rack shall be provided

Class I 60%

Class II 40%

Office, retail sales of goods and services, restaurants, research establishments, laboratories

1 per 250 m2 GFA for the first 5000 m2 and 1 per 500 m2 for any additional area

Class I 50%

Class II 50%

Shopping Centre

1 per 250 m2 of gross leasable area for the first 3000 m2 and 1 per 500 m2 of gross leasable area for any additional area.

Class I 30%

Class II 70%


1 per 950 m2 GFA

Class I 80%

Class II 20%



1 per 500 m2

Class I 75%

Class II 25%


All levels: 1 per 10 employees

Class I employees college, university 10%

Class II students


1 per 10 students

Junior Secondary

1 per 8 students

Senior Secondary

1 per 8 students


1 per 5 students


1 per 5 students (full time, max. attendance)


1 per 50 members

Class II 100%

Library / Museum/ Art Gallery

a per 100 m2 GFA

Class I 20%

Class II 80%

Personal Care / Nursing Home / Group Home

1 per 15 dwelling units

Class I 75%

Class II 25%

Correctional Institutions

1 per 50 beds

Class I 70%

Class II 30%


Community Centre

1 per 80 m2 of GFA

Class I 20%

Class II 80%

Stadium, Arena, Pool, Exhibition Hall, similar places with spectator facilities

1 per 100 m2 of surface area

Class I 20%

Class II 80%

Gymnasium, Health Spa

1 per 80 m2 of surface area

Class I 20%

Class II 80%

Bowling Alley, Curling Rink

1 per 2 alleys or sheets

Class I 20%

Class II 80%

Class I bicycle parking provides complete protection for a bicycle and equipment. Class II facilities are racks that a bicycle can be securely locked to.

Bicycle Parking Facilities

Bicycle Coalition of Massachusetts bicycle parking information, providing bicycle parking bylaws and manufactures contacts (

Bicycle Parking Facilities Guidelines, City of Portland (

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