Cycling on high speed roads (above 70 kmh)

This report investigates the provision of facilities for bicycles on
sealed roads with speed limits of 70 km/h or more. It outlines how to improve
these roads for cyclists where off-road alternatives or on-road, lower speed,
direct options are not available.

The difference in mass and speed of bicycles and motor vehicles means a cyclist involved in a
crash on a high speed road has only a small chance of surviving. However where cycling provision
cannot be made off-road or good quality, lower speed, direct alternative routes are not available,
then bicycles should not be restricted from the road.
Internationally, the first response is generally to provide cyclists with a path separated from the
road along high speed roads. In Australia and NZ, many jurisdictions are providing off-road paths
along new freeways or along roads where cyclists are not permitted to ride. In rural areas, on-road
shoulders are often the preferred treatment due to the long distances, high costs of off-road paths
and few cyclists.

The most suitable type of facility will depend on who it is being provided for and why they are riding (do they want a fast, direct route or would they prefer a route where they don’t have to worry about interacting with traffic?). Sometimes both an on-road and off-road options would ideally be provided to cater for the range of cyclist preferences. However any provision is usually better than none as all cyclists are likely to benefit.
This report found techniques to help reduce the inherent conflict to more acceptable levels

Cycling on Higher Speed Roads – Gardner, Eady and Daff – Austroads – 2012

About Heinrich

Promoting everyday cycling