Safe Routes Scoop

Encouraging Active Travel
Though Engineering

network can be an excellent way to encourage bicycling to school. While a network of off-street paths and protected bike lanes may be available in some communities, creating such a dedicated space for bicyclists is not a necessity. Several other engineering solutions are available to foster safe cycling to school.


One solution often used in SRTS programs are roadway pavement markings to help guide both cyclists and motorists. These include word warnings to alert drivers of an upcoming bus stop or school zone, or road striping that highlights the presence of bicyclists on the road. Pavement markings can either demarcate a dedicated bike lane or designate a space in a shared travel lane where motorists should expect to see and share the road with cyclists. Shared-lane arrows, or “sharrows”, also help cyclists by guiding them to position themselves within the roadway so as to avoid such things as being hit by the suddenly opened door of a parked car. Effective pavement markings help drivers anticipate bicycle and pedestrian traffic, encouraging them to stay aware of other road users and to slow down.


Providing adequate bicycle parking is an integral part of promoting bike travel. If students are to bike to school, they need a safe and secure place to park their bicycles. Simply designating a parking location is not enough; key locations should be

identified where bike parking will be convenient, secure and safe. Ideal locations should be easy to access, highly visible from within the school and not interfere with pedestrian travel.


Traffic Calming

Traffic calming refers to the installation of physical features as well as safety strategies to slow down or reduce vehicle traffic through neighborhoods. Traffic-calming programs attempt to balance the use of roads and streets by motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. There are three categories of traffic calming: passive, active, and volume control measures.


Passive speed control measures encourage self-enforcement by motorists to slow down to speeds appropriate for reacting to pedestrians. These include cues such as driver feedback signs that advise drivers of their speed, rumble strips that remind motorists to be alert, and streetscaping that makes the area adjacent to the roadway attractive and something to which drivers want to pay attention. Sidewalk improvements, landscaping, benches and bike parking alongside a street can all serve to remind motorists that pedestrians and cyclists can be expected. Street design techniques, such as reducing lane widths and creating on-street parking, can slow drivers by narrowing the amount of road available for vehicular use. Passive speed controls are

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