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City Bicycle Ways

cycle, street, surface, traffic, wheelmen and sidewalks

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CITY BICYCLE WAYS. The wheel being recognized as a proper conveyance and as entitled to the use of the street under reasonable restrictions, the question arises as to what portion of the street the wheelman shall use and whether any special construction is required for their accommodation.

In business districts and in residence districts having fairly imooth pavements, it seems reasonable to confine the bicycle traffic to the carriage way; but on residence streets where the pedestrian travel is light and the carriage way is not surfaced with a material which is suitable for bicycle travel, the wheelmen should be per mitted to use the sidewalks under proper rules regulating the speed, particularly in meeting and passing pedestrians. However, there are main avenues of travel to the business district and to parks, ball grounds, summer resorts, etc., where neither the carriage ways nor the sidewalks afford reasonable facilities for the wheelman and where the volume of bicycle travel for both business and pleasure is sufficient to require a special construction for its proper accommo dation. Some cities lay smooth pavements on leading thorough fares for the accommodation of wheelmen, while others construct special cycle ways on unpaved streets, and sometimes at the sides of paved streets having a dense vehicular traffic. In some cases special cycle ways are constructed at the expense of the city and in other cases by private contributions of wheelmen.

Where there is any considerable amount of bicycle traffic, it is true economy to set apart a certain portion of the street for the use of the wheelmen, since the traffic can not, with safety to pedestrians, be accommodated upon the sidewalks, and since it is much cheaper to construct a pavement suitable for a cycle carrying 100 pounds on a rubber tire than to construct a pavement for a truck concen trating perhaps 2,000 pounds upon a steel-tire. Further, cycle ways are much cheaper to construct than sidewalks, often cost ing one fourth or one fifth as much.

Location.

Some cities have allotted a strip in the middle of the street for the use of wheelmen, but the result has not been satisfactory owing to the difficulty of keeping teamsters from tres passing thereon. The cycle way should be either on the edge of the

roadway next to the curb, or in the parking between the curb and the shade trees, the former probably being the better on an unpaved street and the latter on a paved street (see § 468).

Width.

The width should depend upon the amount of cycle traffic, and varies from 3 to 16 feet, but is seldom less than 4 feet for city paths. One wheel can pass another at speed on a 4-foot path, but not safely upon a narrower path.

Materials.

The wearing-surface may consist of a layer of sand, gravel, cinders, or crushed-stone screenings on an earth bed. or it may consist of plank laid upon timber mud-sills, or it may be a strip of sheet asphalt laid upon a rough stone-block pavement. A layer of screened black cinders (§ 922) about 1 inch thick on a firm foundation makes a fairly good cycle path; and a layer 3 to 6 inches thick, if sprinkled and rolled or tamped, makes an excellent surface. The chief advantages of cinders are that they are usually cheap, are always dry, and give a fairly firm surface; while the principal disadvantages of cinders are (1) that they are not durable, since in dry weather they powder up and blow away, and in wet weather they wash off, and (2) that the sharp angular particles are destruc tive of bicycle tires.

A mere sprinkling of coarse sand on a bed of hard and well drained earth makes a fine surface, but one that is easily damaged by the feet of horses and cattle or by the wheels of ordinary vehicles. A layer of cementing gravel 1/2 to 1 inch thick, upon a well drained and thoroughly consolidated earth bed makes a durable and pleas ing bicycle road. The largest pebbles should not be more than to 3/8 of an inch in longest dimension, and the mass should contain sufficient binding material (see § 345) to keep the surface firm and hard. If the gravel contains much clay, the surface will be sticky and muddy during a wet time.

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