Strategy behind the Standard

In order to remain with the ‘direct’ core design principle, allowing contraflow cycling is a key way in which we can enable cyclists to take the most direct route possible to their destination.

Contraflows are a useful tool in encouraging cycle use, as it promotes movement that will not be available to motorised traffic users. Contraflows when used effectively can also improve the safety to the cyclist, encouraging them to use the road legally, and also helping them to avoid less suitable parts of the highway network.

Best Practice Guidance to be used by Essex Highways.

There should be a general presumption in favour of cycling in both directions in one way streets, unless there are safety, operational or cost reasons why it is not feasible.

Contraflow with signs in accordance with the advice in the Traffic Signs Manual but without a marked lane or cycle track should be allowed only where the carriageway fits the following criteria:

  • 2.6m with no car parking
  • 3.9m based on car passing cycle, no car parking
  • 4.6m with car parking on one side of the road
  • 6.6m with car parking on both sides of the road

Otherwise, contraflow cycle lanes should be mandatory, although an advisory lane may be considered where the speed limit is 20mph and the motor traffic is 1,000 PCU per day or less.

The entrance to the street for cyclists in the contraflow direction should always be protected by an island to give protection against turning vehicles where traffic speed and flow is higher.

Cyclists are usually permitted to use with-flow and contraflow bus lanes. Whilst not specifically a cycle facility, bus lanes can offer some degree of segregation for cyclists. However, they do not provide an environment attractive to a wide range of people, and should therefore not be regarded as inclusive.

Finally, where a contraflow lane enters a signal controlled junction, cyclists can be provided with a dedicated phase. They may be demand-dependent, preferably using appropriate detection or push buttons to TSRGD diagram 4003.6 or 4003.8. Care should be taken to ensure push buttons can be reached by cyclists who cannot dismount, including from a recumbent position.

ECC Recommendations

Contraflow are seen as design best practice and should be used wherever appropriate.

Best Practice in Essex

Northgate St., Colchester

Manor St., Braintree

Market Rd., Chelmsford

Internal Stakeholder Engagement

Whenever designing new or upgrading existing cycling infrastructure, ensure the following depts./teams are consulted: Maintenance, Asset Management, Network Assurance, Road Safety

How the Standard should be applied

The guidelines stated above should be used when designing any cycleway in Essex. Only in exceptional circumstances should there be a departure from the standards set above. This standard applies to any new cycleways created, and when reviewing an existing cycleway which needs updating, if the benefits are deemed sufficient.

Any introduction of contraflow cycling will require a Traffic Regulation (one way) Order which includes exemption for cycles (and other vehicles where relevant). They should also be applied for with waiting and loading restrictions wherever possible, to prevent them from being obstructed.