HUB Cycling Position: Best Practices to Accommodate People Cycling during Construction Work

May 3, 2021

Construction in and around bicycle routes and poorly planned detours can be hazardous and uncomfortable for people cycling. HUB Cycling recommends the following principles to ensure that cycling routes and needed detours are safe and comfortable during construction. 


Option One: Maintain current cycling facilities in or around the construction zone if possible  


  • Principle: Make every effort to maintain the existing cycling facilities during construction if safe to do so. 
    • If it is necessary to block the area to through-vehicle traffic, consider using  ‘except bikes’ signs to allow people cycling to continue through if safe.
    • Ensure there are no hazards or debris in the bike facility.
  • Principle: Construction traffic control workers should ensure that people cycling are given proper consideration as vulnerable road users.


Above Right Photo: Construction detour implemented along the Arbutus Greenway (City of Vancouver) stays within the greenway right-of-way and maintains the same path quality. 

(Credit: Jeff Leigh)


Option Two: Provide carefully planned and signed detours for people cycling


  • Principle: If construction work requires a detour, design and build the detour to a similar safety and comfort level as the existing cycling facility. 
    • For example, a detour of a protected cycle lane should maintain protection/separation from motor vehicles, such as using delineators to separate a lane from traffic for people cycling.
    • Detours should be to a similar gradient to the original cycle route and as direct as possible. 
    • People cycling should not be asked to dismount and walk their bikes if at all possible.  Instead, consider the use of signs indicating “walking speed.”


Detour on Hornby Street in the City of Vancouver. Temporary protected lane uses curb stops and delineators to maintain protection from motor vehicles

Detour on Hornby Street in the City of Vancouver. Temporary protected lane uses curb stops and delineators to maintain protection from motor vehicles (Google Street View).


  • Principle: Detours should be clearly signed to indicate the route that people cycling should take.
    • Detour signs should be placed in advance of the detour (‘detour ahead’), alerting people cycling to the upcoming detour.
    • Care should be given to intersections with major roads (collector, arterial) on the temporary bike route. Crossings should ideally be controlled (signals, etc.) and be able to be activated by people cycling.
    • Ensure no hazards or debris are in the temporary bike facility, such as sharp edges, loose gravel, equipment/material, etc. 
  • Principle: Consider whether the bike facilities can be maintained outside of work hours on the construction zone, with a detour only in effect part of the time. 


  • Principle: If no detour can be accommodated, such as for construction on a major bridge, signs should alert people cycling to take an alternate cycling route
    • Signs should be placed far enough in advance to allow people cycling to use an alternative cycling route without backtracking.



Additional resources: 

City of Vancouver’s Construction on Bicycle Routes Guide 

City of North Vancouver’s Information for Contractors: Bike Route Construction

Provincial Traffic Management Manual for Work on Roadways