There are lies, damned lies, and then there are standards.

There are councils and organisations around the country that are decades ahead of where some councils are and we must be able to recognise our own failings and take on board that others have done it better. They have learnt from their mistakes. They DO get it.
The following four documents are key, and councillors should be requiring these documents to be used by Highways, Planning, and Development Control as well as forming key cornerstones in ANY development.

Public Highways IAN 195

Available here 

Provides minimum requirements for the Strategic Road Network, but was authored by Phil Jones specifically to be usable by ANY council/authority as it applies to ALL road types. Key takeaways from this document are:

  • 1.2m x 2.8m long mobility bike dimensions for designing access to cycle infrastructure
  • Minimum requirements for cycle infrastructure based on road speed and volume

Get this in front of your highways team. It is part of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges which Highways will use on an ad-hoc basis. There is NO reason this cannot be part of the set of standards that their engineers use.

Wheels For Wellbeing Guide to Inclusive Cycling

Available here

Simply for one simple reason. Thinking beyond the bicycle. One of the key reasons Cycle Bath recently changed its logo. People need to understand you are designing for the hand cyclist, for the wheelchairs, for wheelchairs ON trikes.

Get this in front of your councillors and your Highways Safety Officers, particularly those that love putting in stepped gates and 5 bollard formations because we “need to slow down speeding cyclists”. Get them thinking BEYOND the bicycle. So much of UK cycle infrastructure access is limited by Health and Safety and the fear of kids being killed by speeding cyclists, yet every junction of a road has a simple corner pavement ledge and we don’t have kids randomly running into roads at junctions constantly.

Highways Health and Safety create immense problems for people with accessibility issues. They design in exclusion in the name of safety.

Oxfordshire’s Development Control Walking and Cycling Standards

This one is a big one. Developers design and build developments. The roads in those developments MUST be adopted by the council. The council has a Development Control Team that signs off those roads. They use standards from the 1990s where the car is the primary concern.

Oxfordshire council realised that developers were forced to design car centric developments but wanted Walking and Cycling centric developments. They realised they had to update the standards that the Development Control Team were using BEFORE developers would design and build walking and cycling prioritised developments.

Get these in front of your councillors and insist that they take the Oxfordshire standards and rebrand/adopt them. These are decades ahead of other councils. If you do one thing, recognise that the one person in the council that is the “Development Control Team” is absolutely wrecking your housing developments keeping them grounded in a car centric 1990s air pollution creating nightmare.

 Your council’s road adoption standards are fundamentally defining the fabric of your environment and not a single councillor is aware the power this one person has. Get those adoption standards changed. Get them changed NOW.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

A latecomer to this list but, in principle, the most important. Many neighbourhoods are blighted by convenient short cuts that enable residential road systems to become major rat runs. A symptom of connected SatNav applications providing perfect information to drivers.

The process of creating Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and making streets back into community space, where it is easy to walk, cycle, and even play is complex and comes with significant political hurdles. London Living Streets and London Cycle Campaign have teamed together distilling the wisdom and experience into an exceptional document that any community can use to reclaim their streets.

Use it to make an immense difference.


  1. Another good document is the Active Travel (Wales) Act Design Guidance which I see they refer to from the Oxfordshire guide. You can find it here:

    It includes tools for assessing existing infrastructure, which could be used to demonstrate whether a proposed development is accessible by bike. It also has a long set of design parameters for different types of junctions, crossings and cycle paths, covering walking and cycling in one document.

    I agree that for developers the Oxfordshire documents provide a really clear and accessible set of standards, and rather than reinventing the wheel they have chosen some things to emphasise, like flush kerbs and steeped cycle paths, and referred to things like the Welsh guidance for the details.

    • Yes I have a copy. CROW is referenced by many standards but are standards set by another country. I’m specifically identifying standards/guidance that councils can immediately adopt and use.

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