The relationship between cycle track width and the lateral position of cyclists, and implications for the required cycle track width

Schepers, P.; Theuwissen, E.; Nuñez Velasco, P.; Nabavi Niaki, M.; Boggelen, O. van; Daamen, W.; Hagenzieker, M.

Introduction: Sufficient cycle track width is important to prevent single-bicycle crashes and collisions between cyclists. The assumptions on which the minimum width is based in guidelines is founded on only a few studies. The aim of the present study is to investigate the relationship between cycle track width and lateral position of cyclists.

Method: We conducted an experiment to evaluate the lateral position of cyclists along cycle tracks with different widths (Study 1). Participants cycled on an instrumented bicycle with a LIDAR to measure their lateral position. Five conditions were defined: cycle track width of 100 cm, 150 cm and 200 cm without interaction, and cycle track width of 150 cm and 200 cm with an oncoming cyclist simulated by a parked bicycle. The cross-sectional Study 2 is based on the collected lateral position measurements at cycle tracks with varying width reported in Dutch studies since 2010.

Results: The experimental Study 1 with 24 participants shows that an increase in cycle track width causes cyclists to ride further away from the verge and keep more distance from an oncoming cyclist. The cross-sectional Study 2 was based on lateral position measured at 33 real-life Dutch cycle tracks. Study 2 yielded similar results, indicating that doubling pavement width increases lateral position by some 50%. Study 2 shows that, compared with a solo cyclist without interaction, a right-hand cyclist of a duo and a cyclist meeting an oncoming cyclist ride around 30% closer to the verge.

Conclusions: The wider the cycle track, the more distance cyclists maintain from the verge. Cyclists ride closer to the verge due to oncoming cyclists.

Practical applications: Given a cyclists’ lateral position while meeting, common variations between cyclists’ steering behavior, and vehicle width and circumstances, a cycle track width of 250 cm is needed for safe meeting maneuvers.

Verschenen in
Journal of Safety Research


Dit is een publicatie van SWOV, of waar SWOV een bijdrage aan heeft geleverd.