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 (RTC)


Better Bikeways


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.

Published August 01, 2011

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.

More articles by this author

More Articles in this Category

Minimizing Risk and Liability

This document is a best practices manual intended to give guidance and direction on minimizing risk and liability for persons with an interest in operating and maintaining trails. Specifically, it seeks to help trail operators, managers and owners, mitigate risk and reduce liability, that can arise from trail design, trail use and maintenance operations. The techniques discussed here are intended to be applied with prudence and due consideration of the particular circumstances of each trail.

Safe Routes to Everywhere

Transportation connects people and places. It provides access to jobs, education, shopping and recreation. More than one-quarter of all trips we make are less than a mile — an easy walking distance — and nearly one-half of all trips are within three miles — an easy biking distance. Yet, we make more than 78 percent of these short trips by car.

Micromobility Devices on Multiuse Trails

Transportation in communities across America is changing with the advent of many small and light personal mobility options, which typically run on electric motors, such as electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes), e-scooters (scooters) and hoverboards. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) offers this perspective to assist communities, trail managers and policy makers in making decisions about how best to manage these devices on nonmotorized multiuse trails.