Bicycles are an essential component of a balanced transportation system. They can be an efficient way to get around in an urban environment, providing a clean alternative to the automobile and contributing to health and quality of life.
The bicycle chapter of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan shows an extensive system of bikeways that includes nearly every major road within the Town.
Technically, every street is a bikeway. Since North Carolina law regards bicycles as vehicles, bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. The League of American Bicyclists, the national bicycling advocacy organization, says cyclists fare best when they act as drivers of vehicles and adhere to the rules of the road.
Cary's bicycle transportation network will include:
Wide Outside Lanes allow motorists to safely pass a cyclist while remaining in the same lane. Experienced cyclists prefer this approach. The Town of Cary has updated its roadway design standard to require 14-foot-wide outside lanes on multi-lane roadways. Existing multi-lane roads with two 12-foot travel lanes will be re-striped for 13-foot outside lanes and 11-foot inside lanes. These facilities have no markings for bicycles, but may have signs denoting Cary Bike Route.
Striped Bike Lanes are designated by striping, signs and pavement markings. They are for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. Bike lanes are effective on collector or multi-lane minor thoroughfares with relatively low traffic volumes, few commercial driveways, and few complicated intersections. Typically, bike lanes are at least 4 feet wide, not including curb and gutter. Novice or casual bicyclists may prefer striped bike lanes.
Signed Bicycle Routes have directional or informational "Bike Route" signs along selected bikeways, often indicating 'loop' routes or other routes to important destinations. Signed routes can include wide outside lanes and striped bike lanes. Cross-town connectors are bike routes (with signs) located along major thoroughfares. These routes have heavy traffic volumes and high speeds and are recommended for experienced cyclists only.
Multi-Use Trails may be appropriate where access is cut off from adjacent neighborhoods, schools or shopping centers by a dead-end street or a cul-de-sac. A neighborhood connector an asphalt path 10 feet wide for bicycle riders and pedestrians only. On narrower paths, cyclists may have to dismount and walk in most cases it is necessary to install bollards in spaced intervals at both ends of a neighborhood connector to keep unauthorized vehicles from cutting through. Cyclists must use extreme caution while traversing neighborhood connectors.