Access Controls

Strategy behind the Standard

Access controls, (also known as modal filtering or filtered permeability) are ways of ensuring that only certain modes are able to access a desired area, often used to limit access for motor vehicles.

As per the LTN 1/20 general principles, access control measures, such as chicane barriers and dismount signs, should not be used. They reduce the usability of a route for everyone, and may exclude people riding nonstandard cycles and cargo bikes. They reduce the capacity of a route as well as the directness and comfort. Schemes should not be designed in such a way that access controls, obstructions and barriers are even necessary; pedestrians and cyclists should be kept separate with clear, delineated routes as outlined in the above mentioned principles

There should be a general presumption against the use of access controls unless there is a persistent and significant problem of antisocial moped or motorcycle access that cannot be controlled through periodic policing.

Best Practice Guidance to be used by Essex Highways.

Designers should instead start with a ‘blank sheet’ at all interfaces with access controls installed only where there is an identified need, where the proposed access control is likely to be effective at addressing that need, and where the problems addressed through use of access barriers outweigh the problems created by access barriers for legitimate users.

It is important to note that there is a tendency to use access controls to slow or stop cyclists at the end of a path for safety reasons – actual or perceived. This can be inappropriate use and there are other techniques available to achieve the same outcome e.g. signing; marking on the paths; putting a ‘wiggle’ into the path alignment; speed humps; Chicanes; bollard arrangements

Below are examples of when the installation of access controls would be appropriate:

  • Misuse by motor-vehicles (particularly motor cycles causing noise and/or safety issues);
  • Prevention of fly-tipping;
  • Anti-social behaviour;
  • Annoyance to other path users and neighbouring communities;
  • Concerns regarding cyclists at particular conflict / hazard points including poor sight lines;
  • Control of risk and speed of running out onto a road;
  • Control of livestock;
  • Damage to path surface as a result of misuse; and,
  • Prevention of vehicular access to an unsuitable structure (i.e. a bridge not designed to support motor vehicles).

Designers should refer to the LTN 1/20 and the London Cycle Design Guide for best practice design guidance on controlling access on paths, assessing the needs for and implementing appropriate access controls.

ECC Recommendations

If access controls are to be used, a single row of staggered bollards with minimum spacing of 1.5m, desirable width of 2.0m are to be used (LTN 1/20 Chapter 8.3):

Staggered bollards allow users to approach in a straight line whilst permitting all types of cycle and mobility scooter to gain access. If access is required by wider maintenance or emergency vehicles, a lockable bollard can be used.

Bollards and barriers should contrast with the background and may be fitted with retroreflective material to ensure they can easily be seen in all conditions.

Measures can be used to reduce cycle speed which are broadly similar to those used for motor traffic, albeit at reduced scale, including horizontal deflection, sinusoidal speed humps and thermoplastic rumble strips. These traffic calming devices will inevitably also introduce potential hazards and discomfort for disabled users (both pedestrians and cyclists). They should be used sparingly and only in response to site-specific problems that cannot be addressed in another way. (LTN 1/20 Chapter 8.2)

Where it is necessary to control the movement of livestock a cattle grid should be used, in preference to a gate which will cause delay to cyclists. A cattle grid with closely spaced (100mm) threaded rod bars can be crossed by cycles without undue difficulty.