Policy Implement
State of Delaware - Department of Transportation
P.I. Number: D-06
Bicycle Policy

Issued: 11/22/2000
Revised: n/a
Effective: 12/22/2000

I. Purpose

This document constitutes the Delaware Department of Transportation policy on the provision of bikeways in the state. Title 17, Chapter 10, Section 1001 of the Delaware Code authorizes the Department to plan and establish "bikeways" within the State of Delaware for the use, enjoyment and participation of the public in non-motorized bicycling. "Bikeway" is a generic term for any road, street, path or way which in some manner is specifically designated for bicycle travel, regardless of whether such facilities are to be shared with other transportation modes. The development of a bicycle friendly transportation system will help Delaware encourage more trips by bicycle, improve access to adjacent land uses and communities, promote tourism, conserve energy, and improve air quality. Planners, designers and operations staff will utilize the provisions set forth in this policy to integrate bicycling into the development and management of the transportation system.

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II. Policy

In accordance with the Delaware Code Title 17, Section 1006, bicycles may be operated on all streets and on all highways, except specifically signed controlled access highways. Therefore, the Department shall provide appropriate accommodations for bicyclists in accordance with this Policy. It is the Policy of this Department to include appropriate accommodations for bicycles as part of all System Management and System Expansion projects. System Preservation projects are designed to keep what we already own in a good state of repair and as such are major maintenance/pavement reconstruction projects that do not require extensive design or right of way acquisition, or bridge rehabilitation/reconstruction projects. While it is not the specific intent of these projects to expand existing facilities, opportunities to provide or enhance bicycle facilities will be explored during the program development stage of paving and bridge replacement System Preservation projects. Items such as paving existing shoulders, minor widening around bypass lanes when right of way is available, and the addition of shoulders on bridge replacement projects are solutions that enhance cycling opportunities that could fit into the context of a System Preservation project. These items will be included in all System Preservation projects in "multi-modal" areas and on all roads classified as a minor arterial or above in "management " and "preservation" areas of the Long-Range Plan, unless exceptional circumstances exist that precludes the provision of these facilities for bicycling.

Appropriate accommodations for bicycles will be explored as part of the project development and scoping process for all plans and/or projects, as outlined above, in order to improve the suitability of Delaware's transportation system for bicycling. These accommodations shall be developed in accordance with guidance provided through the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) "Selecting Roadway Design Treatments to Accommodate Bicyclists". In planning for the establishment and construction of bikeways provided by the Department, priority should be given to those facilities that provide connections between neighborhoods, shopping, schools, transit, park and ride lots and employment centers.

The continuity of existing paved shoulders shall be maintained at the widest possible width. The desirable width of 5-ft (1.5m ) travel way on the shoulder shall be maintained for bicycle use unless exceptional circumstances occur that require emergency operational safety improvements that compromise this width. If the width of a paved shoulder area must be compromised to less than four feet, the area shall be appropriately marked as a hazard for bicyclists and the Department shall concurrently nominate a project that will result in the restoration of appropriate accommodations for bicycle travel. Impacts to the suitability of roadways for bicycle travel due to traffic increases caused by land development shall be assessed and mitigated as part of the Department's Traffic Impact Study and Project Development process as recommended by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.

Except in the case of limited access expressways or where circumstances are exceptional and bicycle use is either prohibited or made incompatible, the Department shall ensure that bicycle access along the corridor served by the new or improved facility is not made more difficult or impossible by its actions. If all feasible roadway alternatives have been explored and suitable accommodations can not be provided, an alternate route that provides continuity and enhances the safety and convenience of bicycle travel shall be provided.

Exceptional circumstances that may preclude provisions for bicycle travel are:

  1. Where bicyclists and pedestrians are prohibited by law from using the roadway. In this instance, a greater effort may be necessary to accommodate bicyclists elsewhere within the right of way or within the same transportation corridor.
  2. Where the cost of establishing bikeways would be excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use. For example, Where large environmental or cultural resource impacts make bicycle accommodation prohibitive.

The Department shall work with land developers to accommodate bicycle travel in entrance and site plan improvements. If additional right of way acquisition is required to complete the improvements and is not currently feasible, accommodations for bicycle travel may be initiated by the Department as part of a future project.

Other Facilities

Support facilities such as parking devices, transport racks on buses, and signal detection for bicycles shall be considered for incorporation into transportation projects during planning and project development. Bicycle friendly drainage grates shall be used to replace parallel bar grates on all roadway reconstruction and rehabilitation projects or replaced individually upon request.

Over and under crossings should be considered for roadway crossings with a high number of non-motorized users, high speed and high volumes of motorized traffic or specific safety concerns.

Rumble strips are not recommended where shoulders are used by bicyclists unless there is a minimum clear path of four feet in which a bicycle may be safely operated. In-lane rumble strips shall be appropriately marked as a hazard to bicyclists and designed to allow through bicycle travel.

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III. Justification

To provide sufficient access and mobility for bicycle vehicle operators using Delaware's Transportation System.

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IV. Approval by Policy Committee

This policy was reviewed and approved by the Department's Policy Committee on November 14, 2000.

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V. Responsibility

The Division of Planning shall have primary responsibility for implementation of this policy. Implementation shall also include an annual review of the effectiveness of the policy and a recommendation to the Policy Committee whether the policy should be amended or retained without change.

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VI. Effective Date

This policy shall become effective thirty days after signature by the Secretary, or, if applicable, upon compliance with the regulatory process required by the Administrative Procedures Act (29 Del.C. Ch. 101).

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