Bicycle Network Guidelines

A comprehensive bicycle plan is more than just a map of designated bicycle routes. Just as a road network plan or transit system plan encompasses a wide range of issues, a bicycle plan should do the same.

In addition to the bicycle network component, a comprehensive bicycle plan considers design guidelines, maintenance, end-of-trip facilities, a capital expenditure plan, supporting programs and on-going monitoring.

Here are the components of a comprehensive bicycle plan.

Goals & Objectives

Include the goals and objectives to be achieved by the bicycle plan.

Bicycle Network Plan

A bicycle network plan includes bicycle routes, pathways and other infrastructure integrated with the municipal and regional roadway network, pathways, park systems and transit services. The bicycle network plan should include:

  • On-street routes, which might include signed routes on local streets, wide curb lanes and bicycle lanes on collector roads and arterial roads and “enhanced” bikeways along local streets paralleling arterial roads,
  • Off-street pathways and trails. Generally these would be multi-use pathways shared with pedestrians, runners, equestrians and in-line skaters,
  • Other bicycle infrastructure, such as access ramps to bridges, underpasses and overpasses, bicycle-only traffic barriers, etc., and
  • A strategy to minimize conflict between cyclists and motorists, particularly on commuter routes that are heavily congested.

The bicycle network plan should accommodate cyclists, who travel by bicycle to work, school and errands. Additionally, the bicycle network plan may accommodate recreational cyclists.

The bicycle network should provide direct access for cyclists to major destinations within a municipality or regional district as well as connections to regional and provincial bicycle routes. Examples of major destinations include schools, commercial and office centres, intermodal transportation centres and recreational areas.

Design Guidelines

Design guidelines for bicycle infrastructure, which have been integrated into roadway and development guidelines, should not only specify dimensions for various types of bicycle infrastructure, but should also address intersection configuration and laning, surface materials, grades, signage, pavement markings, bicycle crossings, illumination and means of accommodating cyclists during construction projects.

Although an adopted bicycle network plan is the only requirement for BikeBC funding, local governments are encouraged to incorporate these additional components into their bicycle plans to enhance bicycle use, safety, and to minimize an agency’s potential liability and maximize cost effectiveness. Note that where bicycle network plans include cycling facilities within Provincial highway right-of-way, agreement must be received from the area operations manager.

Maintenance Policies & Procedures

In many cases, maintenance of bicycle infrastructure can be incorporated into existing road maintenance programs. Additional maintenance, particularly sweeping, may be required for off-street pathways and bicycle lanes. Increased maintenance may also be appropriate for high-use bicycle routes.

End-of-Trip Bicycle Facilities

Plans and design guidelines for end-of-trip bicycle facilities should be provided for:

  • Secure, long-term bicycle parking, such as bicycle lockers and bicycle rooms,
  • Short-term bicycle parking such as bicycle racks, and
  • Showers and clothing lockers.

Capital Expenditure

A capital expenditure plan identifies estimated costs of various bicycle projects and the anticipated timing of implementation. Where possible, construction of bicycle infrastructure should be coordinated with other municipal roadway and transportation projects.

Supporting Programs

To maximize the effectiveness and success of the bicycle plan, a strategy to implement supporting programs should be included. These programs include:

  • Amendments to municipal plans and policies, such as official community plans, neighbourhood plans, development guidelines and recreational plans.
  • Programs to increase the awareness of cycling opportunities, the benefits of cycling and to encourage increased levels of cycling. Examples of these programs include bicycle route maps and bike-to-work events.
  • Education programs directed at cyclists and motorists to promote safe cycling skills and encourage road users to share the road.
  • Strategies to enforce applicable Motor Vehicle Act regulations.
  • Community involvement and communications strategies — including the creation of a Bicycle Advisory Committee — to include cyclists and other members of the community in the process of developing and implementing the bicycle plan.

Ongoing Monitoring

An on-going monitoring plan collects information on how well the bicycle plan achieves established objectives and targets and enables the municipality or region to implement changes to the plan in later years as appropriate.