Applicable Countermeasures

Bike Maps

Bike maps can be a useful tool for helping bicyclists get around in a new or unfamiliar riding environment, whether seeking a different route for getting to their destination, exploring a new section of town, or negotiating another city or town while on a vacation. Bike maps come in many shapes and sizes, from small "strip maps" designed to fit in the pocket of a front pannier so they can be read while riding, to larger fold-out maps looking much like a traditional road map. They can be statewide maps, regional, or local.

There are two primary types of bike maps: route maps, which indicate preferred roadways for bicyclists, and suitability maps, which are more like regular maps, but with the roadways coded (through the use of colors, dashed or dotted lines, etc.) based upon their relative safety or attractiveness to bicyclists. Both types can be extremely beneficial to bicyclists (and even non-bicyclists simply looking for the best way to negotiate a new city environment).

A well-designed bike map is typically in high demand and can serve many functions. In addition to showing the best route for getting places, bike maps often contain information or advertising for a variety of resources including a calendar of bike events, locations of bike shops, points of interest in the community, laws and local ordinances pertaining to bicycles, and safety tips for the rider and motor vehicle driver. Thus, a good bike map can be a tool for promoting bicycling as well as for educating and informing riders and motorists.


  • Encourage and enable bicyclists to ride in new environments.
  • Assist bicyclists in selecting appropriate roadways for their skill level.
  • Provide safety tips for bicyclists as well as motorists.
  • Inform bicyclists about available resources within a community, region, or state.

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  • Computer mapping capabilities have greatly reduced the costs involved in producing attractive bike maps, and today many bike maps may be downloaded from the Internet. Still, care must be taken in recommending specific routes for bicyclists. For suitability maps, care must be taken in developing guidelines and a rating system for distinguishing among the various roadways their suitability for bicycling.

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Estimated Cost

The primary cost lies in the development of the map. In North Carolina, cost for the trip-tics (strip maps) for the original "Bicycling Highways" maps were minimal — just ink and paper. Recent updates include digitizing the information, undertaken by a consulting cartographer at an average cost of $1,000 per segment for two-color artwork. The four-color map/brochures for county route systems, produced by outside cartographers and graphic designers, cost $20,000 for production and about $.50 for each printed copy. Urban maps produced by outside cartographers and graphic designers have ranged from $30,000 to $60,000 for production and $.34 to $.78 per copy for printing. These costs do not reflect staff time spent in administering the projects, developing routes, coordinating with local committees, preparing text, or reviewing and proofing the product throughout the production process.

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Case Studies

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