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Cerema principle sketches for corona crisis

Installation of temporary cycling facilities in France

Schaffung temporärer Radverkehrsanlagen in Frankreich (Skizzen)
Schaffung temporärer Radverkehrsanlagen in Frankreich (Skizzen) © Cerema

The corona measures in France have led to a sharp decline in motorized individual traffic. The space that has been freed up offers opportunities for temporary cycling facilities. The French Cerema Institute Cerema Institute has now presented various implementation options.

In France, too, the potential is considerable: motorized traffic has declined by 60 to 90 percent, freeing up important space for active modes. The need for a solution is all the greater because many existing cycling facilities have been unjustly closed, on the grounds that they are only used for sport. The creation of bicycle facilities on motor vehicle lanes is therefore a solution to make cycling possible quickly and safely. In addition, the sharp decrease in traffic has led to a significant increase in motor vehicle speeds, which increases the urgency of securing spaces for cyclists by simultaneously reducing the space for motorized vehicles. The following suggestions are made by Cerema:

Reduce motor vehicle lanes: maintaining multiple car lanes in each direction is not justified in the vast majority of cases during egress restrictions. Perimeter lanes can be quickly repurposed to provide wide and safe spaces for bicyclists needing to get from point A to point B.

Regulatory framework allows measures: Urban traffic arteries with 2 by 2 or 2 by 3 lanes without motorized parking on the sides are particularly well suited for the separation of bicycle traffic facilities. There are no legal objections to such measures, as they are merely a change in road operation for which - as for other police measures - an order is required from the relevant traffic authority.

Widening of existing bicycle facilities: existing bicycle lanes do not always provide the width required for traffic volumes, especially under existing corona conditions. However, space can often be gained in adjacent lanes (e.g., by narrowing them) without necessarily changing their number.

Modification of traffic organization: the very sharp decrease in motorized traffic flow can also be an opportunity to test changes in the traffic plan to free up space or accelerate already planned conversions, e.g., by reorganizing two-way motor vehicle traffic into a one-way lane with a two-way bicycle lane to be created next to it.

Authority-approved construction site signalization: As with any temporary measure, the bicycle facility must be constructed with equipment normally used for work on public streets. Directional markings or modular lane dividers can be used to separate bicyclists from motorized traffic.

Simple and fast: Implementing temporary cycling measures using construction signalization has the advantage that motorized road users can handle it very well. The lane redistribution can be implemented e.g. by red-white warning beacons or by adhesive markings. Cycling measures are easier to implement when the presence of motor vehicles is low.

About Cerema: Cerema's mission is to generate knowledge and to prepare scientific and technical know-how or innovative solutions that can be used to improve the living environment of citizens.

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15. April 2020
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