Better Bikeways — Innovative Facilities For Safer Bicycling in California

Bicycling has exploded around California as people rediscover this enjoyable, healthy, convenient, environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to get around. Many communities are working to create bicycle networks to encourage further increases in bicycling and attract new riders, especially in urban areas. Toward that end, some cities — drawing from successful international models — have experimented with a variety of innovative bicycle facilities not even imagined a decade ago.

by Rails to Trails Conservancy

This report discusses four innovative bicycle facility designs being implemented in California, along with additional intersection and marking treatments that can help improve safety and increase ridership.

These innovative facilities increase the perception of safety that is a key component to attract more Americans to ride bikes. They achieve a greater perception of safety by physically separating bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic or calming the traffic to reduce the threat of a collision. The innovations can be implemented within existing street rights-of-way and have been pioneered in Europe, Portland, New York and various California cities. Connecting these facilities to existing shared-use paths can create a huge boost in ridership and have the additional benefits of calming traffic through neighborhoods and improving traffic flow in business districts.

About the Author


Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. RTC’s mission, and its value, is magnified in urban areas, where one mile of trail can completely redefine the livability of a community. Where trails are more than just recreational amenities, creating opportunities for active transportation and physical activity—improving our health and wellbeing—as they safely connect us to jobs, schools, businesses, parks, and cultural institutions in our own neighborhoods and beyond.

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