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Bicycle-friendly ideas for development plans: Bridges with #spaceforcycling

Bicycle-friendly ideas for development plans is a new mini-series of  articles covering measures which can be used in city and town developments plans. The mini-series is aimed at residents, commuters, councillors, planner and engineers who have input into developments plans, which are in the process of being renewed in areas around the country.

Our first idea is about bridges with space for cycling. Getting bridges wrong isn’t a great idea — these are usually expensive structures which can last for centuries. A town or city might think shared use is a good idea now, but if or when bridges get anyway busy, mixing cycling and walking gets uncomfortable.

In Dublin for examples, there’s issues with relatively new bridges across the Liffey. Including two pedestrian bridges (which are all too tempting to cyclists when the detours are relatively long) and two vehicular bridges, the James Joyce Bridge (where the cycle lane northbound directs people into the building line) and the Samuel Beckett Bridge (where there’s not enough space for cycling and walking on the east side of the bridge).

In this post we’re mainly interested in bridges for cycling and walking only. Our good case study examples come from Copenhagen. The main image above is a new walking and cycling bridge planned by the Danish capital. If you look at the detail, it shows how walking and cycling are both given their own space:

langebro_lillebror_ a

Here’s an example of an existing bridge in Copenhagen, named Bryggebroen, which keeps cycling and walking separate:
CPH docklands

It’s not the most elegant looking bridge, but the planned bridge in the top image shows that this concept can be applied to sleeker designs.CPH bridge

Bridges are often a place where people want to walk across, meander from side to side, take in what’s around the — these are possibly the worst conditions for mixing walking and cycling. Some readers might know that Bryggebroen is beside the more famous and bike-only Bicycle Snake (the snake-like land bridge which bypasses convoluted routes and connects Bryggebroen to a main route on the other side of this area).

We urge councillors and council officials to get bridges right — plan for cycling and walking to have space, not shared space or separation just by a painted line which can be crossed without thinking.

IMAGES: Photos of Bryggebroen by; artist impressions of new bridge by Team BuroHappold Limited, via and

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Cian Ginty


  1. Cian – great that you draw attention to what I regard as ‘shared-space’ failure in Ireland.Neither cycling nor walking modes can safely share for the simple reason that pedestrians just wander at will (and with dogs on long leads or joggers it is a disaster). Pedestrians are there to enjoy the surroundiings and don’t pay enough attention to ‘place’ and many have next to zero positional awareness.
    I do not approve of mixed off-road sharing with pedestrians on footways. Road authorities that provide for this do neither mode a service and they should stop.

  2. That Samuel Beckett Bridge is absolutally lethal. When you cross from Nth to South you suddenly come to a sharp hill which can be very slippy especially when wet ,then you are in danger of hitting a pedestrian or another Cyclist coming around the bend from the Sir John Rogersons Quay direction. How could it be fixed havent a clue, but the Bridge should have been designed for Cyclists before it was built. Instead of designing it for Cars and then putting in Cycling Lanes.


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