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Adjacent and shared use (cyclists and pedestrians) of footways and footpaths

One of a series of street environment design guides.

Description of the element

photograph of a cycle path with signage

This design guide provides information on the experiences of older people in using ‘adjacent use’ footways that, either formally or informally, are additionally used by non-pedestrians, such as cyclists and scooter users. Existing guidance is briefly discussed and additional recommendations are provided to address the issues raised by pedestrians and scooter users. Readers should bear in mind that peak times for older people being out and about in the community are typically between 09.30 and midday; and 13.30 and 15.30.


There is comprehensive guidance on the siting, design, implementation and maintenance of adjacent and shared use footways. Details of this guidance are provided at the end of this fact sheet. However, it is worth noting that Local Transport Note 2/04 section 10.1.2 defines an adjacent use facility as a footway which is segregated such that only part of the width is a cycle track, the remainder being a footway. It is illegal for the cyclist to ride on the pedestrian side, but the cycle track will normally retain a right of way for people on foot; by contrast, a shared use facility is un-segregated and the full width of the route will have been converted to a cycle track on which there is a continued right of way on foot. The Department for Transport Manual for Streets (2007) suggests that cyclists should generally be accommodated on the carriageway, and that in areas of low traffic volumes and speeds there should be no need for dedicated cycle lanes.

top of page What older people tell us they prefer and why

Most participants (3/4) feel safe from motorised traffic when walking around their local neighbourhood. Examples of what makes people feel less safe are:

“There’s a nasty bit between the main road and the post box. It’s a narrow pavement and a bus lane and the buses wiz by and make me feel unsteady”

Only half of participants (56%) feel safe from cyclists, skateboaders and rollerbladers. Cyclists riding on footways are seen as the main concern:

“They [cyclists] always ride on pavements, and don’t have bells”
“If they [cyclists] are on the pavement, I feel unsafe because I can’t hear them”
“Cyclists forget people are old and can’t move out of the way quickly”

Additionally, mobility scooter users riding along the footway are a concern:

“…I’m worried about electric scooters because I don’t hear them coming”
“Mobility scooters [on the footway] are positively dangerous, they go so fast”

2/3rd’s participants prefer not to use an adjacent use footway with cyclists:

“I don’t like cycle tracks. They suddenly stop and cyclists may come around where you are walking”
“I don’t like them because the pedestrians are in the middle between the traffic and the bikes” [photo]
“It’s good for cyclists, but dodgy for pedestrians”
“If cyclists don’t stay on their side, it can be hazardous”
“This is absolutely unsatisfactory because nobody knows where they are, it’s confusing, and it encourages cyclists to go on the pavement where there are no cycle tracks”
“In general they are okay but people never know which side to be on”

However, some participants did refer to the advantages of having an adjacent use footway:

“It facilitates walking and cycling”
“I can scooter along the bike lane”
“When I’m on my scooter, I ride on the part meant for pedestrians”
“It gives you a bit of security as you walk along”

Findings from the physical audit survey

Our survey showed that most participants (90%) live in a street which has a raised footway for pedestrian only use, and there is limited provision for cyclists to use the footway.

Bar chart 1 Provision of footway within a participant’s street

Bar chart 1 Provision of footway within a participant’s street

top of pageAt the neighbourhood scale, there is an increase in cyclists use of footways with up to 1/3rd of neighbourhoods having some combined use (either adjacent or shared). Additionally, in some neighbourhoods (12%), there is a lack of clear delineation from cyclists on footways.

This suggests that whilst our participants typically have pedestrian only footways in their own street, 1/3rd of participants will use some footways with cyclists in accessing their local neighbourhood environment, the delineation for which may not always be clear.


In designing and installing adjacent and shared use footways, it is recommended that:

  • Information similar to the Code of Conduct Notice for Cyclists (Annex D LTN 2/04) should be published at regular intervals along adjacent and shared use footways such that scooter users in particular are aware of their responsibilities.

    Manual / electric wheelchairs and scooters are categorized as invalid carriages under LTN 2/04. An invalid carriage can be used on a cycle track providing that it cannot exceed 4mph. Scooters that can exceed 4mph have to be fitted with a converter such that they cannot exceed 4mph otherwise they would be classed as a motor vehicle. Published information at regular intervals would remind scooter users that the designation of ‘cycle track’ includes them, and that they are not a pedestrian whilst using the scooter.
  • There is clear signage for pedestrians on which lane to use where the footway is adjacent or shared use

    Whilst there are comprehensive guidelines on demarcation, our research would suggest that these are not clearly understood by all users. It is recommended that particular attention is paid at both the risk assessment and design phases of implementing an adjacent use footway to ensure that signage is clear to all users. Additionally, the evaluation of in-use survey / consultation / observation studies will assess the extent to which the footway designation is understood by users, and subsequent modifications should be made if the footway proves unacceptable in use.
  • Rigorous checks are made during the design and construction phase to ensure that a footway is implemented in accordance with the guidelines.

    Our research identified some incorrectly laid paths such that the pedestrian is in the middle between the road and the cycle lane.
  • The Code of Conduct Notice for Cyclists is displayed along adjacent and shared use footways.

    The DfT LTN 1/04 Annex D provides a Code of Conduct Notice for Cyclists, and suggests that ‘this Code could be placed at points of entry and intervals along the route’. This may help to remind cyclists of their responsibilities particularly of the need to stay in the cycling lane.

Where to find further information

DfT (2004). Local Transport Note 1/04 Policy, planning and design for walking and cycling. London. The Stationery Office.

DfT (2004). Local Transport Note 2/04. Adjacent and shared use facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. London. The Stationery Office.

Dft (2005). Guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces. London. The Stationery Office.

DfT (2007) Manual for Streets, London, Thomas Telford Publishing.


This Design Guide is first printed in 2007 and is protected by Copyright Notice © Rita Newton and Marcus Ormerod, I’DGO Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors.

Corresponding author of this Design Guide:

Rita Newton, SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre, The University of Salford, Maxwell Building, The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WT, UK. Email:r.newton@salford.ac.uk

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