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Manual for Roads and Bridges - Cycling Requirements

In my continuing exploration of cycle infra docs / standards, I came across the new version of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, issued recently, which includes some very interesting requirements for cycling in the appropriate sub-doc.

The cycling facilities sub doc, CD195 CD 195 - Designing for cycle traffic, is here:

Issue control page:
Latest version deep link:

I know the Manual for Roads and Bridges - it is the big brother of the Manual for Streets, and is likely met by most people when trying to build something out of town who run into the much more demanding visibility splays for their new driveway on a country road, than are usually demanded on streets. I met the stuff when getting PP for a medium sized housing estate off a former A-road.

Is anyone on familiar with this stuff, and how mandatory it is, and how we can leverage this?

The following 2 posts are an example of a very interesting table about required cycletrack widths. (Cycletrack = UK Highways department word for segregated cycleway.)

I very much like eg a requirement that a 2-way cycle track shall be at least 2.5m/3.0m abs. min/desirable width wide 2-way, and 3.5m/4m wide if 2-way with 150+ cyclists at peak hour, and similar. It sounds realistic.

I'm almost believing that there is a subversive cyclist in the bureaucracy planting time bombs for the future.

I think the issue, as ever if I am right, is perhaps that the standards - whilst in this case good - do not *have* to be applied to every project, only if cycling infra is to be created.

But I'm very interested in all and any comments.



If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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mattw | 1 year ago

Can I ask a supplementary?

What happens if person P (say me) reminds the County Council (say) that they are required to use the standards in a doc like this?

(My experience is that Councils do unlawful things all the time, and almost rely on them being impossible to enforce against without

a) A High Court level budget, or
b) 2-3 years of bureaucracy wrestling - by when the facts on the ground have been rewritten anyway, and there might be at best an apology and a promise that will be forgotten.

So much of it is about getting into the system, which is then about established contacts (Chesterfield CC are one who do this well) or hair trigger responses on short conultation windows (though there are some wrinkles around that).

I suspect that handing things to Councils on a plate might work, including funding - and I'm reminded how the cycling lobby (LCC?) are said to have pre-designed the Tavistock Square route in London in advance of talking to the Council.

One hidden resource, I suspect, is "Highway Lands" - intended for future road corridor use, but quite tricky to find out about.

When I obtained PP for a 100 house estate on the outskirts of a local town, it was fought on the usual Nimby criteria, up to and including a petition on the bar of the local pub and a Lib Dem leaflet the week of Planning Committee, a political no, then a success in a few weeks on Appeal. 

One protest was "no room for the junction", and the people opposite were most unimpressed to find that their 'private verge which is my garden' had been allocated as Highways Space 40-50 years earlier, which permitted the junction and a wider pavement for shared cycling/walking.

But it was a little difficult to find the records.

Just thinking aloud.


chrisonatrike replied to mattw | 1 year ago
1 like

I don't know about the Highway lands etc.  Just that there's a good article on the issue in abstract here.

Think you're absolutely right about the (very) slow work of building relationships.  That's why those with lots of money to spend (and even people employed to research other people!) e.g. big organisations, wealthy individuals are always going to be at an advantage when lobbying.  They can get access quicker or are already plugged in to those networks.

I think it's part of the Sustrans strategy also - although "you don't change the devil, the devil changes you"?

Definitely presenting people with "work already done" is good.  The tricky part is ensuring - and demonstrating - how this actually fulfils all the things that they are interested in.  This failed in a big way with Edinburgh council and the tram.  Spokes, the local cycling group paid for an expert report; council took umbrage and said "not our expert!.  That might just have been a case of "bunker mentality" or "we've started so we'll damn well finish despite objections and cost" though.

mattw replied to chrisonatrike | 12 months ago

Thansk for the detailed response.

chrisonatrike | 1 year ago
1 like

No idea myself but unfortunately I think a lot of it is very much "opt in" and "guidance".

The Ranty Highwayman blog has covered this (article "The Design Manual For Roads & Bridges Is Changing") and various other standards in several articles.  There's a short Laws vs. standards vs. guidance one too.   He also has a collection of links to resources including these.  He sometimes respond to specific questions and he's qualified in the area - as I think some of his readers.  Also on Twitter if you're there.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain has some resources (see Forum and Knowledge base) although they sadly seem to be less active recently.

mattw | 1 year ago

Example table second half:


mattw | 1 year ago

Example table first half:


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