Global Street Design Guide

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Global Street Design Guide

Encouraging cycling as an efficient and attractive mode of transportation requires the provision of safe and continuous facilities. Cycling is a healthy, affordable, equitable, and sustainable mode of transportation, with positive impacts on congestion and road safety. Cities that invested in cycling have seen congestion levels decline and streets become safer for all users.1

Cycling is also good for the economy. Many recent studies demonstrate the impact of cycling on local economies. Cities that increase the cycle accessibility of their business centers attract new customers, generating more spending in local stores, and ultimately creating jobs and tax revenues. Infrastructure and design can make cycling a popular activity, appealing to a wide range of potential riders.

While cyclists can share the road with motor vehicles on quiet streets with low speeds, navigating larger streets and intersections requires dedicated facilities. Design safe and comprehensive cycle networks for cyclists of all ages and abilities. If cycling is not a safe option, potential cyclists may decide not to ride.

High-volume corridors should provide wider cycle facilities to carry larger volumes. Creating a bikeable city requires secure cycle parking spaces, easy access to transit, and a cycle share system.

Cycle lanes and tracks should allow for social and conversational riding for everyday use as well as long commutes. They should be designed for all types of riders and all levels of comfort, from the 5-year-old to the 95-year-old cyclist.



Cyclists ride at different speeds depending on their purpose, the length of their total route, their confidence level, and the facility they are using. Young children will ride at a slower speed than a cyclist making a delivery, and visitors will ride differently from locals and commuters. Design cycle facilities to accommodate riders at various speeds. Provide

sufficient protection from travel lanes, taking into account speed differentials and vehicle volume.

Electric cycles that travel up to 20 km/h often share facilities with other cycles. Design wider cycle lanes along high-volume corridors to allow fast riders to pass slower riders.


Cycle facilities should be designed for diverse vehicles and riders, for children on small tricycles, and people carrying goods in big cargo bikes, as well as cycle-rickshaws and pedicabs.

Conventional Bicycles

The most common non-motorized, single-track vehicle.

Tricycles, Cycle-Rickshaws, and Pedicabs

Tricycles such as pedicabs and cycle-rickshaws are wider, and in some cases share cycle lane facilities. They typically carry one to two passengers.

Cargo Bikes and Cycle Trucks

Cargo bikes are human-powered vehicles specifically designed for transporting loads. A cargo bike may have different forms and dimensions and can be either a bicycle or a tricycle.

Electric Cycles or E-bikes

These are cycles with electric engines.

Levels of Comfort

Many people are interested in cycling but are dissuaded by stressful interactions with motor vehicles. These potential cyclists, defined as “interested but concerned,” account for a majority of the population and vary by age and cycling ability.2 Experienced and casual cyclists are more traffic tolerant, but they account for a significantly smaller share of the population.

Cycle facilities should be designed not only for the highly capable and experienced cyclist, but also and especially for young children learning to ride, for senior riders, adults carrying children or freight, and workers commuting long distances. These riders need higher degrees of separation and protection from motor vehicle traffic.


1. Flusche Darren, Bicycling Means Business – The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure. Advocacy Advance. New York City Department of Transportation. Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets (New York, NY: NYC DOT, 2012).
Rachel Aldred, Benefits of Investing in Cycling (Manchester: British Cycling, 2014).

2. Geller Roger, “Four Types of Cyclists,” Portland Office of Transportation, 2015, accessed June 7, 2016, ttps://

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Cycle Networks

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Cycle Networks