Cycle paths on the sidewalk

5 Reasons NOT to do them

Photo of a cycle path

Article by


The cycle paths

Published on

29 June 2023

We propose the excellent point of view taken from the blog l’occhio di Romolo:

5 Reasons NOT to make bike lanes on sidewalks

Reason # 1
We keep our priorities well established

In a vision of sustainable mobility and a just and equitable city, the infrastructure priorities should be:

1. pedestrians and people with disabilities
2. cyclists
3. those who use public transport
4. motorists

Reason # 2
Most of our sidewalks aren’t wide enough even for pedestrians

As established in international regulations, generally the sidewalk must be at least 1.5 meters wide free of obstacles (the “pedestrian zone” in the figure) for two people to cross each other without interference; in the main streets with greater density the width must be at least 2.5 meters and 3 in the commercial areas (not counting the space of buildings and trees).

Reason # 3
There must be no conflict between cyclists and pedestrians

A bike path needs at least 1.5 meters wide, so if you don’t have more than 4 meters and a low density of pedestrians, such as along rivers or in some parks, designing a sidewalk bike path will create a conflict. between pedestrians and cyclists.

Reason # 4
Cycling is a serious urban mobility program, it shouldn’t be seen as a toy. It must be seen as a means of transport and as such be integrated and protected in the flow of means of transport
Generally cyclists prefer to go on the cycle paths since:

a) they can reach higher speed
b) have fewer obstacles (pedestrians, buildings, vegetation, etc.)
c) they can gather and exit more easily at intersections

Reason # 5
Towards sustainability, coexistence and visibility

Given all of the above, it is better to take space away from the motorist in favor of a non-polluting, safe vehicle that encourages physical activity such as the bicycle. Furthermore, motorists must learn to live with and respect cyclists, especially when they are less visible to the motorist (especially think of the right turn at intersections)

The cover image is by kevers on


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