Contra-flow bike lanes are a valuable method of making routes shorter, easier and more efficient for cyclists and thus can effectively help get more people cycling, according to a study in Sydney.
The study commissioned by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services showed very low conflict between road users or “avoidance” manoeuvres. Most riders interviewed said they felt relatively safer using the marked contra-flow lanes.
Roads and Maritime Services commissioned the study to determine if parallel parking to the left of contra-flow bicycle lanes – technically not complying with road rules – posed an unacceptable safety risk to bicycle riders in the contra-flow lane.
The study examined:
- The number of conflicts that occur between bicycle riders and drivers associated with selected contra-flow bicycle lanes,
- The characteristics of any conflicts that may occur. Bicyclists’ reported experiences on the selected contra-flow facilities.
The study consisted of observing cyclists and motor vehicle traffic at 11 locations, eight with parallel parking on the left of the contra-flow bicycle lane and three control locations with contra-flow lanes that comply with the road rules).
Additionally, a small intercept survey was conducted with cyclists about their experiences using contra-flow bicycle lanes.
Contra-flow lanes have been installed where cyclists would have to make a long detour or ride along a footpath to avoid opposing traffic. Most often they have been installed in one-way traffic streets.
A PDF of the report is at: http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/downloads/contra-flow_report_final.pdf