What good looks like






What does an ‘all ages, all abilities’ cycle route look like?

High-quality routes create enough space for people walking, cycling and in motor vehicles (Bristol Cycling)

The Dutch were the first to discover the five secrets of success.  Cycle routes need to be:

  • Coherent – Routes go where people want to go, and are continuous.
  • Direct – Routes do not add distance or stops into the journey.
  • Safe – Users are safe, particularly from traffic on busy or fast roads.
  • Comfortable – Users find the route comfortable both physically (e.g. surface quality) and mentally (e.g. not feeling in conflict with other users)
  • Attractive – Routes should be attractive to users and enhance the environment for everyone.

These have proved so effective, and the Dutch so keen to spread the word and to earn money from their expertise, that they have translated these approaches into an English version of the Netherlands Design manual for bicycle traffic, often known as the ‘CROW standards’.

In the UK or England, unfortunately no national set of standards has been adopted.  But, many public authorities and cycling groups have adopted these five factors and used them as a basis for their own guidance.  In particular, it is worth looking at:

Even with such standards, the devil can be in the details. It is valuable to review the detailed designs with cyclists and experts as very small differences in junction design or sign placement for example can make a significant difference to the desirability of cycling.