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Section 4: Bicycle Facilities

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Overview

The Texas Legislature has directed TxDOT, in Texas Transportation Code §201.902, to enhance the use of the state highway system by bicyclists. Administrative rules adopted by the commission in 43 TAC §25.50–25.55 affirm TxDOT’s commitment to integrating this mode of travel into project development.

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Guidance for Bicycle Facilities

The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities is the guide for planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of bicycle facilities. There are three types of bicycle facilities described in the guide. These are bicycle lanes, shared lanes, and shared use paths. A bicycle lane is defined as a portion of a roadway which has been designated by striping, signing and/or pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. For a striped bicycle lane, the clear width is 4 ft [1.2m] minimum and 5' [1.5m] desirable (measured from the lane stripe to the gutter joint or 1 ft [.3m] from the nominal face of curb on a monolithic curb). A shared lane is a 14 ft [4.2m] lane (measured from the lane stripe to the gutter joint or 1 ft [.3m] from the nominal face of curb on a monolithic curb), that is shared by motorists and bicyclists that should have bicycle signing and pavement markings. A shared use path is defined as a bikeway that is physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier, either within the highway right of way or within an independent right of way, that can also be used by pedestrians, skaters, joggers, wheelchairs, and other non-motorized users. A shared use path is generally preferred over a bicycle lane or shared lane because the physical separation reduces possible conflicts with vehicles. If a shared use path is provided, an additional bicycle lane or shared lane is not needed. If a shared use path is not feasible, a bicycle lane is generally preferred over a shared lane.

Due to concerns of minimal passing distance and tendency for motor vehicles to increase speeds when wide outside lanes are used, wide curb lanes are not recommended as a strategy to accommodate bicycling except as an interim treatment for retrofits where an existing road is being re-striped and all other travel lanes have been narrowed to the minimum widths. On high speed roadways, shared lanes are not appropriate and should be avoided.

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Design Exceptions and Design Waivers for Bicycle Facilities

Design exceptions will be required for bicycle lanes, or shared lanes that do not meet the minimum requirements in the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities. For new shared lanes, the minimum lane width shall be 14 ft [4.2 m]. For new bicycle lanes, the clear width is 4 ft ([1.2m] minimum and 5' [1.5m] desirable. Proposed widths less than these will require a design exception.

Design waivers will be required for shared use paths that do not meet the minimum requirements in the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.

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