Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


Charlotte, NC. - Dan Burden  -  Dan Burden Santa Cruz, CA. - Dan Burden  -  Carl Sundstrom UniverCity, British Columbia, Canada. - Carl Sundstrom




The careful use of landscaping along a street can provide traffic calming benefits by reducing the visual width of the roadway. This can include a variety of trees, bushes, and/or flowerpots, which can be planted in the buffer areas between the sidewalk and the street. Landscaping may also provide a buffer between motor vehicle traffic and bicyclists who are using a separated bicycle facility, such as a cycle track or a sidepath.

Well-designed bicycle facilities can be an important attraction, especially for recreational bicyclists or for attracting new riders. Whereas bicycle commuters will typically choose routes based upon their directness and safety, new riders are more likely to be drawn to routes that are aesthetically pleasing and where they feel comfortable riding.

Well-designed and landscaped facilities also lead to fewer safety and security problems and are more likely to be supported by the neighborhoods and businesses that are accessible to bicyclists using the facility.


Landscaping can be used to calm traffic by creating a visual narrowing of the roadway. More broadly, aesthetically pleasing bicycle facilities can create an attractive environment, not only for bicyclists, but for everyone. By building such environments, one hopes to encourage more people to bike.


  • Maintenance must be considered and agreed to up-front, whether it is the municipality, business association, or neighborhood residents who will take responsibility.
  • Shrubs should be low-growing and trees should be trimmed to at least 8 to 10 feet to ensure that sight distances and head room (for bicyclists and pedestrians) are maintained and personal security is not compromised.
  • Plants and trees should be chosen with care to match the character of the area, be easily maintained, and not create other problems such as buckling pavement or sidewalks.
  • The services of a landscape architect or other professional may be beneficial in planning and building a facility that is aesthetically pleasing and that contributes to environmental goals like sustainable stormwater management.

Estimated Cost

Opportunities for funding landscaping tend to be more flexible than for major street changes. For example, the cost of the actual landscaping may be paid for by the corresponding neighborhood or business groups. Often, municipalities will pay for the initial installation and homeowners associations, neighborhood residents, or businesses agree to maintain anything more elaborate than basic tree landscaping.


To view references for this countermeasure group click here.

Case Studies

Santa Barbara, California
Eugene, Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Greensboro, North Carolina
University Place, Washington
San Francisco, California