Separated Cycleways: Which Separators are Best?

Separated cycleways are coming to town as part of the Major Cycleway Routes; we’ve already seen one recent instance along Ilam Road (still waiting for the coloured surfacing to go down there, by the way). There are a myriad of ways to provide the separation and only a few have been tried out so far in Christchurch, such as the cycle lane separator posts trialled last year and the raised cycleways along Tennyson St. We’ve also showed you treatments from the likes of Beijing, Portland, Washington DC, and Vancouver. The Christchurch Cycleway Design Guide also hints at the variety of separators available for us to consider.

Now there’s a great little webpost from “People for Bikes” that offers you nineteen different ways that you can provide separation for people cycling. From the quirky to the downright functional, there’s something in here for everyone.

Another use for old tyres? Half-wheel bollards in Seville, Spain

City Council staff have also been considering the way forward with separators; I have seen an internal document comparing the pros and cons of various options for separation. I would expect to see a bit of further trialling of different options around the city to see how they work in practice (e.g. maintenance costs, visibility, and other practical issues). Even when some clear favourites have been determined, it’s probably a case of “horses for courses”, e.g. how much space is available for separators, the relative speed of adjacent traffic.

Various kinds of separators on display at Open Streets

A first-hand experience of some different types of separators was also provided a couple of weeks back at the Open Streets event in town. On the approaches to the mock Dutch intersection set up at Manchester/Worcester were various types of separators – posts, planters, kerbs, zebras. Many people who passed by filled in a City Council survey to gauge their preferences for the different kinds of separators shown. This information will be helpful to assess public reaction to different options.

So what kind of separators do you like especially? Or not like?

11 thoughts on “Separated Cycleways: Which Separators are Best?”

  1. Hi

    I am a cyclist. We need to be smart about this. Why put anything in place that either a car or bike could hit? Causing injury and damage that will end up costing the all parties involved including… Vehicle damage, cycle damage, personal injury and repair and maintenance costs to the council and ratepayer.
    I think clearly marked out areas with rubble lines, like on the side of some state highways would do a good job. Cost effective, you know when you cross them you shouldn’t be there yet there will be no unnecessary negative consequences for any parties….unless there is a collision!

  2. Using old tyres is a great idea, the low cost can allow more lanes to be separated.

    While I understand the desire to keep the carriageway and cycle lanes unobstructed the sad fact is too many people use the cycle lanes for parking/stopping and some drivers simply wander into cycle lanes. Physical barriers keeps us all on our toes. If we can’t drive/ride well enough not to hit blatantly obvious infrastructure we can take the bus.

  3. I am warming to the idea that a mix is the way to go . I think barriers are entirely appropriate for the likes of Ilam Road. The numbers of cars, bikes and pedestrians in that area justify physical separation and if the barriers are perceived to be a danger than that is good cause for reducing speed and being careful ( for all users , all of whom will benefit from slower activity. )

    the People for Bikes website is exciting and inspirational for ideas for the city. Two factors to consider however are the lack of population density here and probable limited supply of money.

    To get the best bang for our buck there are streets I would like to see barrier separation and others where painted lines would do fine. I can think of streets also where I am sure that residents would support living streets/traffic calming/ thru access for pedestrians and bikers only treatment , some of which could be done for reasonable cost.

    Major intersections however will be the biggest challenge .

  4. I think the flexible posts would be good in some places where vehicles frequently cut across left hand bends like they have/had on Kotare st. The bend from Anex road into Birmingham Drive could do with this, I all most had to bail there this morning as a small truck over took me and then proceded to cut me off as he cut across the cycle lane almost to the kerb. It was purely lazy driving as he wasn’t going fast (about the same speed as I was when he hit the apex), it is possible to go around there at the legal limit and not encroach on the cycle lane. What has seemed to work well is the bright green painted cycle lane on Hansons Lane, the numbers of cars fully across the lane at the intersection had noticeably reduced and the cars seem to stay mostly in their lane.

  5. I am a motorist, former cyclist.

    Because we have so few cyclists now, one of the problems is motorists being surprised that there is a cyclist, we often hear of cyclists popping out from nowhere when they are already on the road, they just are unexpected.

    Having these barriers protects cyclists and no longer relies on the individual motorists generosity in sharing their road.

    If there were barriers like this on the main roads where I live I would use these roads for commuting once again.

  6. I like the Spaniish seperator. But it would have to be strong enough for protection from at least a 4WD.

    Otherwise once people drive into them and realise there’s no consequences they’ll keep doing it until they’re flattened.

    I can just see this becoming a sport for a small group of motorists.

  7. Actually we’re so used to driving across bus and cycle lanes now that unless the separators are continuous it will be confusing.

    Motorists will just make it a habit to drive where the gaps are onto the cycle area to enter their turning area as early as they deem fit. Some will even drive on them trying to keep far to the left as they believe is safer when they can see no cycles around

  8. I agree the flexi posts work well on left bends. Need more in both directions on the Kilmarnock, Kahu, Kotare, Creyke route. The single trial post has helped a lot

  9. Some good comments here. I like the recycled tyre idea alot in Spain was it? whereby if cars or bikes hit them by inattention or acident the consequences wouldnt be dire. Yet, in this country, you have irriesponsible young men, who take delight on being a menace or idiots on the road, so the tyres woud only excite them into doing dumb things. The hard barrier are a good deterent for cars, ie if cars hit them for whatever reason they would be damaged. And for cyclists – they shouldnt hit them if they have even the most basic of bike riding skills.

  10. I’ve seen a device for enforcing one-way traffic that shreds tyres if driven over in the the wrong direction. What we need is a similar device that discerns between vehicle weight instead of direction of travel.

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