A historical perspective on the AASHTO guide for the development of bicycle facilities and the impact of the vehicular cycling movement

William Schultheiss, Rebecca L. Sanders, Jennifer Toole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper draws from a literature review and interviews to demonstrate the impact of advocacy, research, and culture on guidance for design users, bike lanes, and separated (protected) bike lanes in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ bicycle guides’ content from 1974 to present. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a bicycle renaissance in America resulted in efforts at the local, state, and federal level to encourage bicycling. After Davis, California, became the first community in the United States to build a network of bike lanes, a new brand of bicycle advocacy, vehicular cycling (VC), formed to oppose efforts to separate bicyclists from motorized traffic based on fears of losing the right to use public roads. Via positions of power and strong rhetoric, vehicular cyclists influenced design guidance for decades to come. Through the 1980s, VC philosophy aligned with a federal view that bicyclists freeloaded from the gas tax, resulting in diminished federal support for guidance and related research throughout the decade. However, the passing of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 led to increased bicycle networks and renewed interest in bicycle facility research. Although vehicular cyclists continue to oppose roadway designs that separate bicyclists from motorized traffic, research from the last decade demonstrates networks of separated bike lanes improve bicyclist safety and are necessary to meet the needs of the vast majority of the public who want to bicycle but feel unsafe in many traffic contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Volume2672
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A historical perspective on the AASHTO guide for the development of bicycle facilities and the impact of the vehicular cycling movement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this