Lane Width

Straits Times 2012-01-23, this project was first published in news paper

Cycling is a green, energy efficient and healthy way of traveling. It should be encouraged. But many potential cyclist are put off by the risk of being run over by cars. Dedicated lane is the best way to protect the vulnerable cyclist from the risk of being run over by cars. Singapore is still a long way from seeing Dutch style bicycle lanes along the road infrastructure. The main reasons for NOT building special lane for cyclist is space constrain- there is simply no room for a dedicated lane within the current road surface. But is it true?

The “Lane width” project is setup to physically measure the lane width on existing roads. We want to find out if there is opportunity to reduce some of the lane width, such that we can paint the double yellow line a bit further away (e.g. 1.2 meter, like the picture above) from the curb. This 1.2 meter space will give cyclist more confident to ride on the roads. it will also give driver clear indication of where they can drive, without interfere with the cyclist.

To be cost effective and minimize administration effort, the proposal is to in-cooperate the following into a “Standard Operation Procedure” SOP:
1) Start of procedure – when lane marking need to be repainted
2) All lanes repainted to width of 290 cm. If existing lane width is narrower, keep the narrower width.
3) Shift the double yellow line away from the curb when it is possible.

If this SOP is adopted, we will see more Singapore roads to have a bit more space for cyclist near the curb. Both driver and cyclists can feel a little bit more relax. Best of all, this is totally free (the lanes need to be repainted anyway), and no additional space is required.

How to use the map?
Click on the blue dots to show the lane width measured at that location
If the map doesn’t show up, refresh the page may help.

View lane width in a larger map

Lane width measurement team: Tah Ching of Studioorigins, AhSun of Bamboobee, Francis Chu of ISUDA Bike Share

We need help for more lane width measurement from different location. Can you help? Shot an email to chu(dot)francis(at)gmail(dot)com, I will send an explanation of how we took the measurement and add you as a contributor of the Google map above so that you can start adding lane-width data there, thanks!

Media update: The New Paper: 2012-08-28

The New Paper: 2012-08-28: There are roads wide enough for cycle lanes

Tokyo update: 2014-01-03

I was recently in Tokyo, took the opportunity to measure the roads and lane width. There is a wide spread of 40 km speed limit. Car lanes tends to narrow down a bit to before traffic junction to help slow down the speed. Here is a picture from Google street view, showing clearly the average lane width is 2.85 meters. In Singapore it is often 3.2 meters or more.

Typical lane width in Tokyo is 2.85 meters

Typical lane width in Tokyo is 2.85 meters

Reference for lane width
Street Wiki – Bigger Is Not Better
Adding Bike Lanes Actually Reduces Traffic Delays
The Magic Bullet of Road Design: Narrower Lane Widths – by Steve Miller
Relationship Between Lane Width and Speed – Parsons Transportation Group