Ride IllinoisRide Illinois

Providing Bike Planning Resources

Ride Illinois educates and equips people to improve bicycling conditions—from highway engineers implementing Complete Streets policies to parents advocating for a safe route to school. While we are available to serve as consultants, we are committed to making bicycle planning tools accessible to a range of audiences.

The resources below provide a starting point for local bike planning projects. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how Ride Illinois can assist in your bike planning project.


Municipal Bicycle Planning Guide

Our Municipal Bicycle Planning Guide is a free resource for elected officials, planners, and advocates. It covers the whys and hows of creating a local bicycle (or bicycle and pedestrian) plan.

Bicycle Planning Seminars

Ride Illinois has provided “Introduction to Bicycle Planning” training for hundreds of local officials, consultants, advocates, college students, and more. Topics for the 2+ hour seminar include:

  • bikeway network development
  • national standards and best practices
  • typical car/bike conflicts, and design strategies that can prevent them
  • navigating political landscapes and gaining community support
  • funding resources, and how to outshine the competition
  • taking plans from paper to pavement and paths

A video of the seminar can be viewed in several parts:

Bicycle Level of Service Calculators

Sprinkle Consulting’s Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS) is a commonly used tool for quantifying on-road bicycling conditions. Using language and data familiar to transportation planners and engineers, it describes a road’s comfort level for adult cyclists. Read more to learn how Ride Illinois and others use the BLOS and other LOS calculators to improve bicycling in our state and beyond.

Complete Streets Audits

Our Complete Streets Audit rates how well a road serves bicyclists and pedestrians given a specific context. A quiet two lane rural road might be fine as is, while a busy, multi-lane suburban arterial might need sidewalks and/or bike lanes.

Our 2009 “(In)Complete Streets” report rated 46 recent Chicago area road projects. Our 2011 “Champaign-Urbana Complete Streets Audit Project” report evaluated 16 recent road designs there.

Ride Illinois’s 2007 Transport Chicago paper describes the scoring methodology. It can help agencies design projects well from the start.

National Standards

Bikeway design relies heavily on national standards and manuals. The following are accepted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA):

AASHTO’s Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities: The longtime industry standard for bicycle facility design issues.

NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide: A more recent guide focusing on longtime and newer bike facilities in urban areas.

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD): The national standard for all roadway signage and markings, published by the FHWA. Chapter 9 addresses traffic controls and markings for on- and off-road bikeways.

Also see the latest FHWA approval status on new bike facilities.