Austroads Publications Online

Cycling on Higher Speed Roads

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Publication no: AP-R410-12 Pages: 65

This report investigates the provision of facilities for bicycles on sealed roads with speed limits of 70 km/h or more. It outlines how to improve these roads for cyclists where off-road alternatives or on-road, lower speed, direct options are not available.

It is a challenging area because the differences in speed and mass of bicycles and high speed motor vehicles are very different. The greatest road safety benefit will be achieved by separating cyclists from high speed vehicles. However cyclists are lawful road users and they shouldn’t be restricted from roads unless alternatives are  good quality, lower speed, just as direct and do not present a higher overall risk to cyclists. Australian jurisdictions have adopted the safe systems approach which seeks to provide a road system which ensures no road user is killed or seriously injured.

International guidelines and practice in ‘cycling’ countries such as the Netherlands and the UK provide cyclists with paths separated from high speed traffic. In Australia and NZ, jurisdictions are providing more off-road paths along urban freeways and generally sealed shoulders along high speed rural roads.

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