Advice From The Nacto Organization For Efficient And Safe Urban Cycling

The experience of cities that stand out for their cycling culture, such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, along with Boston, Portland and New York, among others, served as a model for the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to draw up the Drawing Guide Urban Cycle routes.

This is a document that seeks to guide the cities that are consolidating the use of the bicycle as a means of transportation through a series of urban design councils that intend to make urban cycling an efficient and safe experience.

The councils come in six different categories: Boulevards for Bicycles, Cycles, Cycles, Intersections, Traffic lights for Cyclists and, finally, Signals.

I knew then what each of these categories consists of water bottles on Calabasasshopping.

NACTO is an organization that incorporates 16 American cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington. Since its creation in 1996, the organization has set out to improve urban transport and street design through innovations designed with a focus on citizens.

For this reason, in the elaboration of the Cycle Route Guide, participants were those who would be the main users of these new routes, cyclists, along with academics, traffic engineers and urban planners.


  1. Bicycles Buckets

Streets where few vehicles circulate, which have signs on the pavement indicating the presence of cyclists, who have cycle paths, among other elements, are considered in the guide as Boulevards for Bicycles.

Its implementation benefits not only cyclists, but also pedestrians, as they are quieter streets. For this to be possible, NACTO considers that these places must have the following design characteristics:

– Route planning:  The streets that make up the boulevards must be continuous and direct and with little movement.

– Signs on the pavement:  The signs indicated on the sidewalks should be easy to find and follow. The organization clarifies that it is not because these markings are present in the way that it is possible to consider it a boulevard for bicycles; This classification requires more elements.

– Speed ​​Control:  Pedestrian lanes should be kept at the height of the sidewalks, forcing drivers to slow down at the corners.

– Control of volumes:  The construction of bicycle boulevards aims to discourage the use of the car. For this reason, it is recommended to implement this type of route in regions where an average of 1,500 vehicles per day (VPD) travel, with a maximum of 3,000 VPD.

– Lower number of crossings:  One of the characteristics of the boulevards are the intersections with low traffic streets. In them, for safety reasons, cyclists have priority over motorists. However, NACTO considers that the appropriate amount of crossings on a boulevard would be every one and a half kilometers.

– Crossings on main streets:  At intersections on major avenues, it is recommended that bicycle lanes have barriers that help protect cyclists, where islands of refuge are created with adequate signage indicating the presence of cyclists in the footprints.

– Compensating intersections:  When cyclists need to change streets and, therefore, cross them in the opposite direction, the crosses most of the time are not demarcated in the ground. Therefore, the guide proposes to signal crossings by showing that cyclists are allowed to change direction.

– Green infrastructure:  Boulevards are a good option to build islands of refuge with vegetation. In this way, they help create a more pleasant environment and reduce the speed of both cars and cyclists.

2. Cyclefaxes

The organization defines cycle paths as part of a path that has been designated by signs on the ground for the exclusive use of cyclists. Even if the cycle path does not have physical separations from the roadways for cars, the ideal is that cyclists are not exposed to so many crossings.

While cycle lanes should be built on the right-hand side and in the same direction as vehicle traffic, NACTO believes that it is possible to construct them in an anti-traffic direction, as long as the street meets certain requirements. The four types of mountain range that NACTO proposes are:

– Conventional  cycle routes : These correspond to exclusive bicycle paths, built on the right side of the road, adjacent to a sidewalk, following the traffic direction of the vehicles. The space is designated by a painting on the pavement and signs along this exclusive route.

– Conventional cycle with buffer zone:  What differentiates this cycle from the previous one is the fact that, between the vehicle lane and the bicycle lane, there is a separation space that allows the driver to save time in the event of unforeseen events.

Cycles “against traffic”:  This type of cycle-band is almost an exception.Therefore, it is only possible to be deployed in the streets where the vehicles circulate in one direction only, with low flow and allow to join an already existing cycle network, taking advantage of the fact that drivers are already accustomed to seeing cyclists in the neighborhood. In these cases, the separation of the routes should be done with a yellow colored center line.

– Cycles on the left lane:  They have the same characteristics as conventional ones, but are located on the left side of the streets that have many intersections or parking lots on the right, thus presenting risks of “dooring”, that is, when motorists open the door And injure a cyclist.

3. Ciclovias

According to the guide, bike lanes are those cycle paths that combine the experience of walking on the sidewalk, but in a differentiated way and physically separated from the pits of cars. These can be unidirectional or bidirectional, be at the level of the sidewalk or slightly below. The bike path has different color paving than the rest in places where cars can cross, such as in driveways and at corners.

The physical separation between cyclists and cars can be made through obstacles, a line of parking lots for vehicles, flowerbeds, etc.

4. Intersections

The purpose of intersections is to reduce conflicts between different users of public space.One way to achieve this is by improving the visibility conditions between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists without the need to install other infrastructures.

For this, the construction of  Bike Boxes is proposed , consisting of waiting areas reserved only for cyclists who are close to the pedestrian lanes, the painting interspersed in the path of a bicycle lane at the intersection and the construction of islands of refuge that may Be used to cross the streets.

It is also considered the creation of waiting and conversion areas in the middle of the streets that have central beds dividing the traffic and, finally, the creation of two-lane cycle lanes, so that the nearest of the cars serves to continue the route, while That the one closest to the street is destined for conversion.

5. Traffic Lights For Bicycles

A junction with bicycle lights and intermittent lights can reduce anxiety and thus avoid unexpected maneuvers. Thus, the guide promotes the installation of these traffic lights in order to increase safety and restrict the unexpected movements of pedestrians and other drivers.

6. Signals And Markings

This category includes regulatory signs that inform cyclists of what will be presented along the way and should be easily understood by other users in the public space. Inside the signs are those that warn and indicate routes, as the markings can be painted on the floor and specify a waiting area.