Cycle lane logic?

There are number of separated cycle path / footpaths on the estate where I live, and I use these a lot, both walking and cycling. As a cyclist I always notice the people walking on the wrong side :-)

However, I wondered if there was any logic to the way the sides are chosen. So I decided, on my walk this morning, to take a few pictures and see if there was indeed any logic to it.

I am not sure there is.

The first one is off the main road outside the estate, so at that end there is no preference for which side would be better as a cycle lane. However, at the other end (2nd image) one side goes on to the footpath and the other on to the road. It makes sense that the side that goes on to the footpath is the footpath, and so it is, very logical.

The next one is not so obvious. On one end, one side goes on to the footpath straight on, and the other at right angles. However, on the other end (2nd picture) one side has no footpath, so makes sense to be the cycle lane, as shown. Not that daft.

The next one is much more obvious. As you see on the approach (1st picture) the foot path continues in to the cycle path and serves several houses, so pretty much has to be the footpath side. The other end is just on to the road, so no preference. Good choice.

This final one does annoy me when cycling. At one end (1st picture) it is just on to the road, but at the other end (2nd picture) the left side has no path, it goes on to the road, yet they have chosen to make the cycle path the other side, with a give way. OK, they would have had to put the pole the other side, but that is the sign saying which side is which.

So maybe there is no logic at all and it is just random, who knows.


  1. Try going up Botley road A420 in Oxford from bottom of cumnor hill. cycle path switches sides with the path, hops on and off the road and even has poles in it.

  2. There's an underpass near here which has the "Separated track and path for pedal cycles and pedestrians" sign you posted above the entrance. White line down the middle. Cycle and Pedestrian symbols painted either side.... the opposite way round to that on the sign.

    By law, the layout on the sign should be used to "emphasise" that part of the track used by cycles. See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/782724/traffic-signs-manual-chapter-03.pdf page 133. But I've certainly seen both cyclists and pedestrians, and apparently painters, ignoring them ..


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