Minnesota Department of Transportation

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State Aid for Local Transportation

Bicycle Path Design

Bicycle Path Design

Our intent is to provide you with clear, concise guidance when designing a bicycle path or trail which is financed with federal or State Aid funds.

On-Road Bikeway

On-road bike standards for State Aid projects are included in State Aid Rule 8820.9941 Minimum Design Standards: On-Road Bicycle Facility for Urban; New or Reconstruction Projects and 8820.9951 Minimum Design Standards, On-Road Bicycle Facilities for Urban; Reconditioning Projects.

Off-Road Bikeway, Shared-Use Trail or Path

If you are designing an off-road bikeway on State Aid projects, the shared-use trail or path standards shown in State Aid Rule 8820.9995 Minimum Bicycle Path Standards must be met.

When design elements are not covered by State Aid Rules, State Aid recommends that the designer follow the MnDOT Bikeway Facility Design Manual and its associated website updates. While this document covers many issues, there are some design elements which differ within this manual.

Designers should be aware of the following bikeway guidelines:

Design Elements State Aid Standards and Guidelines
(Standards are in RED)
Railing Heights

4.5 ft (54”) on bridges


3.5 ft (42”) when railing is constructed adjacent to steep slopes


Maximum 2 percent cross slope

Designing at 1.5 percent to allow for a 0.5 percent construction tolerance is recommended for ADA (MnDOT BFDM)

Design Speed

20 mph

30 mph for grades longer than 500 ft and greater than 4 percent, from the uphill point where the grade equals 4 percent to 500 ft beyond the downhill point where the grade becomes less than 4 percent.

Vertical Curves The stopping sight distance must be calculated to determine vertical curves. For examples see the charts for 20 mph (PDF) and 30 mph (PDF).
Horizontal Curves 74 ft minimum radius (20 degree lean angle)
Using calculated minimum horizontal radius of curvature based on lean angle (MnDOT BFDM, Exhibit 5-6)
Surface Width

8 ft minimum for a two-way (10 ft desired)


5 ft minimum for a one-way
8 ft minimum for vehicular roadway bridges/underpasses (combined surface width plus shoulder/clear zone) *

Shoulder/Clear Zone 2 ft from the edge of the travel lane*
In-slope Maximum 1:2 (rise:run)
Vertical Clearance

10 ft nominal *


8 ft nominal if passage of emergency or maintenance vehicles are not required

*Additional 8820.9995 notes apply

Graphic of vertical clearance over lane and shoulder

Traffic control devices (signs and pavement markings, etc.) shall be installed in accordance with the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MnMUTCD).

If a project is being constructed and paid for using state aid funds (including the match to federal funds) and if requirements in a State Aid Rule cannot be met, a variance is required. If a project is being constructed and paid for using federal funds and if requirements in a State Aid Rule cannot be met, a design exception is required. Please contact Rachel Broughton at rachel.broughton@state.mn.us or 612-427-3907 for further guidance and assistance.