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Cykelfrämjandets Cycle Route Analysis: Making main bikeways usable for everyday people

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Hello everyone! My name is Axel and I am a landscape architect. During the last year I have worked at the Swedish cycle advocacy organization Cykelfrämjandet. I have a big interest in sustainable mobility and how urban design can make it easier, safer, and more comfortable to get around by active modes of transport.

Main cycle route through the city.

The Cyclists' Cycle Route analysis is a project that has been carried out by Cykelfrämjandet during the last year. The idea with the project is to evaluate the most important cycle routes in a city. The objective is also to create a place for dialog between people who cycle, traffic planners, and politicians.

A map from the Swedish Road Database,, with the cycle road categories showing. The red is regional bikeway, the blue is main bikeway, and the green is local bikeway.

A few years ago, the road category ‘Main Bikeway' (Huvudcykelväg) was introduced in the Swedish national road database. There are, however, no clear design criteria for bikeways that are classified as that or how they differ from the other cycle road categories.

In the project Cyklisternas Cykelvägsanalys, the idea was to create a method to analyze cycle networks with input from people who cycle. We figured we will not have time to analyze whole cycle networks since we will be asking for volunteers’ time to help carry out the work.

Therefore, we decided to focus on the most important bikeways in the city. The bikeways that are categorized as ‘Main Bikeway’ we reasoned, ought to be the ones to look for. Since there were no clear design criteria for how a 'Main Bikeway’ should be, we created a checklist that were to function as a quality check for these ways. We assumed the ambition must be quite high for the most important routes through the city, so we set the bar accordingly. If you can tic every box in the checklist, it is most likely a bikeway of high quality. Many of the principles in the checklist are also of a qualitative character. Thus, by discussing them, you can get an understanding of how people experience the cycle network.

So, the analysis worked as follows.

We found a local unit of Cykelfrämjandet that wanted to participate in the analysis. Together with volunteers’ in Cykelfrämjandet and local planners, we chose one or a few cycle routes through the city that we though were important. These routes where either classified as ‘Main Bikeway’ or we though that they should be.

The local volunteers did an inspection and filled in the checklist for the chosen route. They also uploaded photos and comments to a shared map in Google My Maps where the route was marked out.

The shared map in Google my maps for Varberg. The routes are drawn, and every marker is a photo and comment regarding the route.

The volunteers’ shared their findings and we decided for a few crucial problems to bring up with the planners and politicians. In the case, like in Varberg, where the volunteers' had evaluated multiple routes, we also decided what route to cycle during the workshop.

A news article from the cycling workshop in the city of Varberg.

Then we did a cycling workshop along the route where the volunteers’, planners and/or politicians participated. We cycled together and made stops at those locations that the volunteers had found were problematic.

Then the findings from the inspection and the workshop were summarized in a short report and sent to all participants.

Now it seems the participating cities will fix some of the problems we pointed out and we have been invited to one of them to give a lecture about the results from the workshop.

In the next blog post I explain the methods used in the analysis in a bit more detail.

Below is a link to our webpage with more information (in Swedish). There you can find some news articles of the cycling workshops. You can also find the ‘Handbook for Cycle Route analysis’ (in English!) which contain the checklist we used, and the reports with the results.




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