London Cycling Design Standards

  • Published: Transport for London, 2014
  • Authors: Transport for London
  • Date Added: 28 Aug 2016
  • Last Update: 28 Aug 2016
  • Format: pdf


This manual sets out the requirements and advice for cycle network planning and for the design of dedicated cycle infrastructure, cycle friendly streets and cycle parking in London.


Description of options for different ways to design cycle infrastructure and cycle friendly streets as well as other cycling facilities.

Some Key Findings

  • The six core design principles are based on international best practice and consensus within London about adopting certain aspects of this practice in the UK:

    • Safety - infrastructure should help to make cycling safer and address perceptions of cycling being unsafe, particularly at junctions. Space is an important consideration when considering safety.

    • Directness - cycle routes should be as direct as possible, whilst being logical, and avoiding unnecessary obstacles and delays to a journey. Planning routes as part of a network is key.

    • Comfort - surfaces which cyclists ride on should be fit for purpose, enable smooth riding and be well constructed and maintained.

    • Coherence - infrastructure should be easy to understand and follow for all users.

    • Attractiveness – infrastructure should add to the attractiveness of the public realm whilst not contributing to unnecessary street clutter.

    • Adaptability – infrastructure should accommodate all types and experiences of cyclist and should be designed taking into account an increase in cyclists in the future.

    • Transport for London’s guidance also reflects the principle that the form of cycling infrastructure that is appropriate for a given location will be influenced by the local context and ‘function’ of the road. This is considered as ‘Movement’, i.e. the purpose of getting people and vehicles from one place to another, and ‘Place’, the purpose of a street in providing space where people live, shop, work, meet, view the streetscape etc. Where ‘Movement’ is considered to be the priority then segregated facilities are more likely to be required, whereas if ‘Place’ dominates then spaces are more likely to be shared, and vehicle flows and speeds restricted.

    • In most circumstances, the safety benefits to cyclists of tighter geometry and the reduction in speed of turning motor vehicles outweighs the risk to cyclists that exists in relation to larger vehicles moving out to the centre of the carriageway to make a left turn.

    • Marking cycle lanes through priority junctions (such as T-junctions or crossroads) in the direction of the cycle route can increase subjective safety with respect to the potential of other vehicles to turn across cyclists. The lane markings make drivers more aware of the likely presence of cyclists in the nearside lane.

    • In order to support the needs of cyclists in terms of safety, comfort and directness at junctions, signal timings where possible should minimise delays for cyclists, whilst taking into account the needs of other road users and pedestrians. When calculating inter-green timings or advanced starts for cyclists, enough time should be provided to ensure that cyclists can clear the junction safely, taking into account the gradient of the road.

    • Two way cycle tracks can be advantageous where cycle flows are tidal, i.e. where there are large flows in one direction during peak times. They can be particularly suitable where streets have buildings and active frontages on one side only or where there are not many side roads on one side.

    • A new type of crossing (sometimes referred to as a ‘Tiger’ crossing) has been included in the latest TSRGD (2015) which provides parallel pedestrian and cyclist crossings without the need for signal controls. The crossing consists of a zebra crossing for pedestrians with a route marked by elephants’ footprints next to it within the controlled area of the crossing.

    • By tightening the geometry of a side road, i.e. reducing the turning radius so that vehicles have to cross the path of cyclists close to the perpendicular, vehicle speeds are reduced and cyclists are placed into the direct line of sight of the driver.

  • Raised entry treatments can, when implemented in a suitable location, help reduce the speed of vehicles turning into a side road, thereby addressing some of the risks at side road crossings. They can also be used to suggest priority for cyclists and pedestrians by differentiating the crossing from the carriageway road surface.
  • Preventing parking and loading close to junctions also helps maintain visibility at the side road crossing.
  • Making sure cycle routes are well maintained is even more important than general highway maintenance as even minor degradation can cause a cyclist to fall and poor surface quality can impact cyclists’ comfort to the extent that it deters cyclists from using the facility.


Cycling, guidance, infrastructure, London, design, requirements


Advice and requirements of how cycle infrastructure should be laid out to suit different surrounding environments.