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6 - On-Road Bicycle Facilities

Published: January 20, 2023

6.1 General

This chapter provides design guidance for accommodating bicyclists on roadways. Bicyclists have similar access and mobility needs as other users of the transportation system and may use the street system as their primary means of access to jobs, services, and recreational activities. The guidance provided in this chapter is based on established practice supported by relevant research where available. The described designs reflect typical situations; however, local conditions may vary, and engineering judgment should be applied.

6.2 Bicycle Routes

As discussed in Section 2.5.2, people bicycling are best accommodated when a connected and intuitive network of bicycle facilities is provided. Signed bicycle routes can help to identify streets and paths designated for bicycling and can provide bicyclists with wayfinding cues.

The network of bicycle routes consists of local and regional routes established by cities and local agencies, State Bike Routes established by ODOT, and U.S. Bike Routes established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Bicycle routes are typically established based on well-defined origins and destinations, which could include schools and other community resources, residential neighborhoods, business districts and employment centers, or connections to other bicycle routes.

Bicycle routes may be designed for different design user profiles. When planning and designing for Interested but Concerned Bicyclists, existing signed bicycle routes should be assessed to understand if they meet the needs of this design user.

Signing and Markings

The bicycle network should include route identification and wayfinding signs to help bicyclists navigate each bike route. In additional to the bicycle facility pavement markings and signing discussed in Chapter 5 and Section 6.3, bicycle route signage should be used to help provide a visual identity to the bike network and differentiate those streets and paths from others that are not part of the defined bicycle network.

  • Bicycle Route Guide signs (D11-1) and corresponding destination plaques (D1-1 through D1-3) serve as wayfinding signs that can help bicyclists identify and follow designated bicycle routes more easily and can provide directions to other bicycle routes or key community destinations. Bicycle Route Guide signs should be installed at appropriate intervals along the network, at locations where changes in route direction occur, and where bike routes intersect.
  • Local and State Bicycle Route Signs (M1-8 and M1-8a) may be used to establish a unique identification for a specific local or State bicycle route. An M1-8a sign with “OH” at the top of the sign may only be used on routes designated as State Bicycle Routes.
  • U.S. Bike Route Signs (M1-9 and M1-9 (Alternate)) are reserved for use on designated U.S. bike routes. These types of bicycle route signs should be supplemented by other bicycle guide signs and wayfinding signs where appropriate to inform bicyclists of changes in direction or key destinations along the route. Where two or more bike routes overlap, the routes should be signed with two or more separate signs instead of multiple routes on the same sign.

On ODOT-maintained roadways, sign locations should be approved by District Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators. Refer to ODOT’s State and U.S. Bike Route System Overview and Implementation Guide for additional information including maintenance responsibilities.

6.3 On-Road Bicycle Facilities

The following section provides design guidance for various bikeways. Although this section refers to these as bikeways, designers should understand that these facilities are also used by people on scooters, skateboards, and other micromobility devices, all of which should be considered in the planning and design process. For general design considerations including lighting, drainage, and utilities in relation to bikeways, see Chapter 3. Bicycle travel should be safely accommodated at bridges, viaducts, tunnels (Sections 4.7 and 5.4); traffic signals (Chapter 8); interchanges and roundabouts (Chapter 9); transit stops (Chapter 10); and railroad crossings (Chapter 11).

Figure 6-1: On-Road Bikeway Types

Figure 6-1

6.3.1 Shared Lanes

Shared lanes are the most common bicycle accommodations since bicycles may operate on all roadways except where prohibited by ORC Section 4511.051. Shared lanes may be identified with signage and markings or be left unmarked. Sometimes marked shared lanes are provided as an interim strategy to enhance awareness of bicyclists’ presence on the road where physical separation is desired but not currently feasible. Shared lanes are not recommended for roadways with speeds over 35mph (OMUTCD 9C.07.02).

The designs and dimensions for shared lanes differ by location, but attention to the following design features can make shared lanes more comfortable for bicyclists.

  • Along the roadway, provide good pavement quality, adequate sight distances, roadway design that encourages slower motor vehicle operating speeds and lower traffic volumes, bicycle- compatible drainage grates and bridge expansion joints, and safe railroad crossings.
  • At signalized intersections, provide appropriate signal timing and detection systems that respond to the presence of bicycles. See Chapter 8.
  • At uncontrolled crossings, provide treatments that ensure bicyclists have opportunities to safely cross the intersecting roadway. If such features or conditions are not present, improvements should be implemented. See Low-stress Intersection Crossings in Section 6.5.6 for design guidance for more information.

Where bicyclists are operating in shared lanes, travel lane widths should generally be the minimum widths appropriate for the context of the roadway. In the past, it was common practice to provide wider outside lanes (14 ft. or greater) under the assumptions that motorists in such a lane could pass a person riding a bicycle without encroaching into the adjacent lane and that this practice would improve operating conditions and safety for both bicyclists and motorists. However, this is inconsistent with Ohio passing laws, and experience and research finds that this configuration does not adequately provide safe passing distance and that motorists generally do not recognize that this additional space is intended for bicyclists. Wider travel lanes are also associated with increases in motor vehicle speeds, which reduce comfort and safety for bicyclists. Wide lanes are therefore not recommended as a strategy to accommodate bicycling. Where wide lanes exist, roadways should at a minimum be restriped to reduce wide lanes to minimum lane widths. Additional space may be reallocated to other purposes such as bike lanes, wider sidewalks, etc.

The use of constrained width bike lanes (see Section 6.3.4) is preferable to a wide outside lane. However, the use of minimum constrained width bike lanes should be limited to constrained roadways where preferred minimum bike lane widths cannot be achieved after all other travel lanes have been narrowed to minimum widths appropriate for the context of the roadway. For bicycle lanes adjacent to on-street parking, designers must follow the guidance in Section 6.3.4.

Shared Lane Signs

On urban roadways with posted speed limits of 35 mph and below, the roadway lane may be marked as a shared lane with signage and shared lane bicycle markings. Signage options include:

  • “BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE” sign (R4-11) may be used in situations where motorists must either change lanes in order to pass a bicycle at a safe distance when overtaking or operate at reduced speed behind bicyclists until an opportunity for safe passing is presented. Lanes less than 14.5 ft. are too narrow for a motorist to pass a bicyclist at a safe distance. Most general purpose lanes are 12 ft. wide or less, and wider lanes are discouraged due to safety. Given this, on most roadways the lane widths are insufficient to allow for a bicyclist and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
  • ORC Section 4511.27 states, in part, “When a motor vehicle.    passes a bicycle, three ft. or greater is considered a safe passing distance.” The PASS [BICYCLE] MIN 3 FT sign (R3-H16) should be used at locations where a problem or crash history between motor vehicles and bicyclists exists. It may also be used at other locations based on engineering judgment.
  • BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1) may be supplemented with an “IN ROAD,” or “ON BRIDGE,” plaque. The use of this sign assembly may be desirable in unique situations where bicyclists may appear to motorists to be unexpectedly operating within the travel lane.

The BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1) supplemented with a “SHARE THE ROAD” plaque (W16-1P) should not be used to communicate a shared lane condition. While it was previously common practice to use this combination of signs to communicate a shared lane condition, research has shown that the “SHARE THE ROAD” message is unclear to both motorists and bicyclists.1

Shared Lane Markings

Shared lane markings are intended to let bicyclists know where to position themselves in the lane and to communicate to motorists that bicyclists are likely to occupy the travel lane. When using shared lane markings, there are three considerations: lateral placement, longitudinal placement, and intersection approaches/navigation.

  1. Lateral placement: Shared lane markings should be marked on an alignment that represents a practical path of bicycle travel under typical conditions. For most streets, such as where on-street parking is present or where lane widths are less than 14.5 ft., this lateral placement should be the center of a shared travel lane. The lateral placement of a shared lane marking is measured from the center of the chevron marking to the face of the curb, gutter seam, edge of the pavement, or edge of on-street parking (see Figure 6-2).

Where shared lane markings are not placed in the center of the lane, they should be placed a minimum of 4 ft. from the face of curb, gutter seam, or edge of the travel way. This minimum distance should be increased at locations where:

  • Existing drainage inlets or gutters create potential safety issues;
  • There is an inconsistent or rough roadway edge or gutter; or
  • Guardrails, rock outcroppings, walls, or other physical objects are located immediately adjacent to the travel lane.

On a street with shared lanes designated as a bicycle route, if the bicycle route makes a left turn it may be appropriate to place shared lane markings within both the right and left lanes of the street.

Figure 6-2: Shared-Lane Markings Lateral Placement

Figure 6-2

  1. Longitudinal spacing: Shared lane markings should be placed no more than 50 ft. downstream from an intersection and spaced at intervals no greater than 250 ft. thereafter (see Figure 6-3). If possible, the first marking after an intersection or driveway should be placed outside of the wheel path of turning vehicles to reduce wear.

Unlike bike lanes, which provide a continuous visual presence, shared lane markings are intermittent. To compensate for this, it may be desirable to place shared lane markings at closer intervals than 250 ft. to increase motorist awareness of bicyclists and to provide additional guidance for bicyclists. This closer spacing may be desirable in the following situations:

  • On streets with higher volumes of bicyclists where the shared lane condition fills a gap between bikeways;
  • To guide bicyclists through intersections, weaving areas, or turn lanes where there is higher potential for conflicts with motorists;
  • At locations with a history of conflicts or crashes between bicyclists and motorists;
  • In locations with limited sight distance including approaches to horizontal and vertical curves; or
  • In shared lane conditions within tunnels and across bridges.
  1. Intersection navigation: Shared lane markings can also be used to provide guidance to a bicyclist to change lanes on approaches to intersections or to help them traverse an intersection. The markings should be located in a line of travel that allows the bicyclist time to merge while minimizing conflicts and unsafe motorists passing maneuvers. In these locations, the markings may be placed as close as necessary, less than the 50 ft. described above, to clearly identify the preferred travel path and maneuver. Example applications include:
  • Turns through intersections;
  • Navigation of lane shifts through intersections (see Figure 6-3);
  • Approaches to intersections where bicyclists must merge across one or more travel lanes; and
  • Approaches and crossings of railroad tracks (Chapter 11).

While the OMUTCD does not require marking parking lane lines, it may be desirable to mark the edge of on-street parking when bicyclists are expected. The parking lane line can provide a continuous point of reference to help bicyclists maintain their line of travel between shared lane markings. This can be further encouraged by adding optional door zone buffer markings (see Markings in Section 6.3.4) or the parking lane line. The placement of a shared lane marking in the travel lane in these cases may cause confusion for bicyclists and motorists. In situations with low parking demand, it is generally preferable to provide bike lanes and consolidate parking to one side of the street or remove parking altogether.

Figure 6-3: Longitudinal Placement and Intersection Navigation Examples of Shared Lane Markings along a Roadway

Figure 6-3

6.3.2 Bicycle Boulevard

Bicycle boulevards, also commonly referred to as neighborhood bikeways or greenways, are low- volume and low-speed streets that enhance bicyclist safety and comfort through design treatments such as speed and/or volume reduction features, pavement markings, signage, and street crossing treatments. These treatments generally support through bicycle movements while discouraging non-local motorists from using them for through trips. Although bicycle boulevards operate as shared lanes, the following guiding principles define bicycle boulevards and set them apart from other local streets or shared lane roadways.

  1. Managed motorized traffic volumes and speeds.
  2. Prioritize bicyclist right of way at local street crossings.
  3. Provide safe and convenient crossings at major streets.

Bicycle boulevards are intended to function as part of a low-stress bicycle network. The following summarizes the typical characteristics of a Bicycle Boulevard:

  • Volumes and speeds: Motorist speeds and volumes should not exceed the criteria in Table 6-1. Traffic calming and diversion strategies should strive to achieve the preferred values in the table.
  • Connections to local destinations: Routes should be parallel with and near major thoroughfares connected to major destinations (1/4 mile or less).
  • Route directness: There is no excessive zigzag or circuitous routing.
  • Topography: Longer, more gentle slopes are preferable to shorter, steep segments. Topography should be balanced with route directness.
  • Feasibility of major street crossings: Major street crossings on routes should be designed to provide low-stress crossings as defined in Section 6.5.6.

Table 6-1: Bicycle Boulevard Motorized Traffic Volume and Speed Performance Criteria

Minimize Motorized Through Traffic Volumes and Speed


Peak Hourly Traffic Volume* (vehicles/hr)

Average Daily Traffic Volume (ADT)

Operating Speed (mph)













*Assumed to be 15% of ADT

Signing and Markings

A bicycle boulevard should provide route identification and wayfinding or bicycle guide signs to navigate a route. A combination of pavement markings and signage should be used to help give a visual identity to the corridor and differentiate the slow, multimodal street from other nearby streets.

  • Bicycle Guide Signs (D11-1 and corresponding plaques) can help bicyclists identify and follow designated bicycle boulevard routes more easily.
  • Follow the guidance in Section 6.3.1 for shared lane markings along a bicycle boulevard.
  • The “BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE” sign (R4-11) may be used in situations where motorists must wait behind slower moving bicyclist or change lanes to pass a bicyclist at a safe distance.
  • Warning signs, such as the W11-1 and W11-15 signs, should be used at major street crossings in conjunction with other major street crossing treatments discussed later in this section.
  • Where stop signs are used at local street crossings, stop lines should be provided.
  • Crosswalk markings should be used at all bicycle boulevard crossings where sidewalks are present.

ORC Section 4511.21 defines speed limits for different roadways in Ohio. It states that in the absence of a lower limit declared or established in accordance with the ORC, 25 mph should be the posted speed of a municipal corporation, except on state routes outside business districts, through highways outside business districts, and alleys. Where lower speed limits are authorized through the process defined by the ORC, a Speed Limit sign (R2-1) should be located at the beginning of the bicycle boulevard and on each block where the reduced speed limit applies to ensure motorists are aware of the reduced limit.

Motorized Speed and Volume Management

For roadways that do not currently meet the Bicycle Boulevard performance criteria shown in Table 6-1 but are intended to serve as Bicycle Boulevards, the street and intersections should be designed to change the motorist speed and/or volume to meet these criteria. The traffic calming and diversion strategies that can be considered to achieve this goal are identified in Table 6-2 and are further discussed in Chapters 4 and 7.

Table 6-2: Speed and Volume Management Treatments


Volume Management

Speed Management

Horizontal Deflection

Curb Extensions



One-Lane Pinch Points






Traffic Circles



Median Islands



Street Width Reduction

Road Diet



Vertical Deflection

Speed Humps & Tables



Raised Crossings



Routing Restrictions & Traffic Diversion

Signs and Markings



Diagonal Diverters



Median Diverter



Forced Turn Diverter



6.3.3 Paved Shoulders

Paved shoulders are portions of the roadway that accommodate stopped or parked vehicles, emergency vehicles, horse-drawn buggies, farm equipment or other slow-moving vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians where sidewalks do not exist (See Chapter 4 for the design of shoulders for use by pedestrians). Paved shoulders have been shown to provide many safety benefits for all users, but are particularly important for improving comfort and safety for bicyclists on roadways that meet any or all of the following conditions:

  • Traffic volumes that exceed 3,000 vehicles/day.
  • Motor vehicle speeds greater than or equal to 50 mph.
  • Inadequate sight distances for the typical operating speed or grades in excess of 5 percent.
  • High percentages (> 10 percent) of heavy vehicles.

On two-way roads it is preferable to provide paved shoulders on both sides of the road; however, in constrained locations where pavement width is limited, it may be preferable to provide a wider paved shoulder on only one side of the roadway rather than to provide a narrow paved shoulder on both sides. This approach is not preferred but may prove beneficial in the following situations:

  • Vertical curve - On uphill roadway sections, a paved shoulder may be provided to give slower- moving bicyclists additional maneuvering space, thereby reducing conflicts with faster moving motor vehicle traffic.
  • Horizontal curve - On roadway sections with vertical or horizontal curves that limit sight distance, it can be helpful to provide paved shoulders over the crest and on the downgrade of a vertical curve, and on the inside of a horizontal curve.

Widths of Paved Shoulders

Where bicycle usage is expected, designers should ensure that paved shoulder widths meet both those outlined in Figure 6-4 and L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 301.2.

A paved shoulder width wider than those shown in Figure 6-4 is desirable where motor vehicle speeds exceed 50 mph; where heavy trucks, buses, or recreational vehicle volumes are considerable; or if static obstructions exist at the right side of the roadway. In Figure 6-4 a minimum paved shoulder width of 6 ft. is recommended from the face of a guardrail or concrete barrier (5 ft. in constrained areas) to provide additional operating width as bicyclists shy away from these roadside elements.

In highly constrained conditions where the shoulder widths shown in Figure 6-4 cannot be achieved and it is not possible to provide a shared use path separated from the road, it is preferable to provide a narrow shoulder rather than no shoulder. In these circumstances, a 3- or 4 ft.-wide shoulder provides some benefit to bicyclists if the shoulder does not contain rumble strips.

The usable paved shoulder width for bicycle travel is measured from the center of the edge line to the edge of pavement or face of vertical object (e.g., a curb or guardrail). If rumble strips are present, the usable paved shoulder width is reduced exclusive of that area.

Figure 6-4: Shoulder Widths to Accommodate Highly Confident Bicyclists on Rural Roadways

Figure 6-4


  1. This chart assumes the project involves reconstruction or retrofit in constrained conditions. For new construction, follow recommended shoulder widths in the ODOT L&D Manual Volume 1.
  2. A separated shared use pathway is a suitable alternative to providing paved shoulders.
  3. Chart assumes operating speeds are similar to posted speeds. If they differ, use operating speed rather than posted speed.
  4. If the percentage of heavy vehicles is greater than 10%, consider providing a wider shoulder or a separated pathway.

Shoulder Surface Quality

Surface conditions and pavement smoothness are important for bicyclist control, comfort, and safety. Surface defects can be a significant contributing factor to bicyclist crashes. In addition to the surface design parameters specified in Chapter 3, designers should consider the following maintenance and design recommendations to eliminate or reduce hazards to bicyclists:

  • Address paved shoulders or pavement edges on open sections of roadway that have irregular edges or sharp drop-offs.
  • Regularly street sweep shoulders to keep them clear of gravel, glass, and other debris.
  • Pave at least 10 ft. of a low-volume driveway approach and at least 30 ft. of a high-volume driveway or unpaved road approach to prevent loose gravel from spilling or being carried onto the shoulder or traveled way. Where practical, the paved section of the approach to the highway should be sloped away from the highway to reduce the amount of loose material tracked into the shoulder. This should not be done at the expense of right of way (ROW) if the project is not otherwise acquiring ROW specifically for the driveway reconstruction.
  • If paved shoulders are to be widened and the entire roadway is not resurfaced, saw cut at the proposed edge line and mill the existing surface to provide one continues finished shoulder.

Rumble Stripes and Rumble Strips

Rumble stripes are milled longitudinal rumble strips placed on the edge line. Where necessary, rumble stripes are preferred to rumble strips in areas designated as bicycle routes or having substantial volumes of bicycle traffic as they do not decrease the available shoulder width for bicycle travel. Rumble strips are placed in the shoulder outside of the edge line and generally should not be used where bicyclists are expected unless the shoulder is wide enough to accommodate the rumble strips and still provide a minimum clear width, see Figure 6-4.

When present, the rumble stripe (or strip) pattern should not be continuous but should consist of an alternating pattern of gaps and strips, each 12 ft. and 48 ft. respectively in length. Also, gaps should be provided in the rumble stripe pattern ahead of intersections, crosswalks, driveway openings, and at other locations where bicyclists are likely to cross the shoulder. Refer to Section 1415 of the TEM for the design of rumble stripes and strips.

Bicyclist Right of Way Considerations at Intersections

ORC 4511.44 notes that “[t]he operator of a vehicle, streetcar or trackless trolley about to enter or cross a highway from any place other than another roadway shall yield the right of way to all traffic approaching on the roadway to be entered or crossed.” As such, a bicyclist operating on a shoulder must always yield the right of way to motorists. Bicyclists operating on the paved shoulder may not be aware of these requirements. In order to accommodate bicyclists along a paved shoulder and clearly communicate the right of way to all roadway users, designers may consider the following:

  • The paved shoulder may be converted to a bike lane as it approaches intersections or driveways. By designating the area as a bike lane instead of a paved shoulder, the bike lane will constitute part of the roadway, bicyclists would have the right of way at intersections, and turning vehicles would be required to merge into the bike lane to make right turns. Designers may provide a regulatory sign identifying “Turning Vehicles Yield to Bikes” on state and local roads. This may better accommodate bicyclists of all ages and abilities and should always be considered if speeds are greater than 35 mph.

This is further discussed in Section 6.5.7.

6.3.4 Bicycle Lanes

Bicycle lanes (bike lanes) are one-way bikeways designated for preferential use by bicyclists that typically carry bicycle traffic in the same direction as adjacent motor vehicle traffic and are distinguished from traffic lanes by striping, signing, and pavement markings. Buffered bike lanes are striped on-street bike lanes paired with a painted buffer space separating the bike lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane to increase the comfort of bicyclists.

Figure 3-3 identifies the roadway conditions suitable for bike lanes to accommodate the comfort of an Interested but Concerned Bicyclist, but bike lanes can be provided to accommodate bicyclists on any roadway that legally permits bicyclist use.

In most cases, bike lanes should be provided on both sides of two-way streets. A bike lane provided on only one side may invite wrong-way use. The following scenarios note when it may be acceptable to provide a bike lane on one side and how to select which side:

  • On streets where downhill grades are long enough to result in bicycle speeds similar to typical motor vehicle speeds, a bike lane may be provided only in the uphill direction, with shared lane markings in the downhill direction. This design can be especially advantageous on streets where fast downhill bicycle speeds have the potential to increase the likelihood of crashes with fixed objects, particularly in locations with on-street parking.
  • Where a roadway narrows on one side of the roadway for a short segment with an otherwise continuous bike lane.
  • Where an adjacent parallel roadway of similar width provides a bike lane in the opposing direction.

When a bike lane is only provided in one direction, shared lane markings should be added in the opposing direction if the roadway speed is 35mph or below. See Section 6.3.1 for shared lane design.


The widths prescribed in Table 6-3 accommodate a person’s operating space, occasional passing, and shy distances to vertical elements as discussed in Chapter 3. Chapter 7 provides guidance on when narrowing travel lane widths or reducing the number of travel lanes to achieve desired bike lane widths may be appropriate.

The width of a bicycle lane does not include the gutter adjacent to a curb. Where a bicycle lane is adjacent to a gutter, the width of the bicycle lane should be measured from the edge of the gutter to the center of the bike lane line. Where a bicycle lane is adjacent to a curb with no gutter, the bicycle lane width should be measured from the face of curb to the center of bike lane line. On streets with on-street parking, the bike lane width should be measured from the center of the parking line or buffer line to the center of the bike lane line.

Figure 6-5: Shared Lane Marking and Bike Lane on Steep Street

Figure 6-5

In addition to the design values presented in Table 6-3, consider the following when designing bike lane widths:

  • Bike lanes wider than the shown minimum should be considered:
    • in locations with high parking turnover;
    • where side-by-side bicycle travel is desired;
    • where roadways have irregular edges or sharp drop-offs;
    • where bicycle lanes are positioned between two moving travel lanes, such as a turn lane and through lane; or
    • on roadways that have more than 5 percent heavy vehicles, posted speeds over 30mph or AADT over 6,000.
  • On extremely constrained, low-speed roadways with curbs but no gutter, where the preferred bike lane width cannot be achieved despite narrowing all other travel lanes to their minimum widths, a 4 ft. wide bike lane can be used.
  • Where wider bike lanes are feasible, a buffer may reduce incidences of motorist attempting to use the bike lane as a travel lane or parking lane. See Section 6.3.5. Alternatively, a wide bike lane may include green colored pavement to discourage motorist use.

Table 6-3: Bike Lane Zone Widths

One-Way Standard Bike Lane Width Criteria

Bike Lane Description

Minimum Width (ft)

Constrained Width (ft)

Adjacent to curb1 or edge of pavement



Between travel lanes or buffers



Adjacent to parking2



Intermediate or sidewalk level raised bike lane1



To allow side-by-side bicycling or passing



1 Exclusive of the gutter unless the gutter is integrated into the full width of the bike lane

2 Raised bike lanes adjacent to parking should have a minimum width of 7 feet

Bicycle Lanes on One-Way Streets

On one-way streets, bike lanes should normally be on the right-hand side of the roadway. A bike lane may be placed on the left side if there are a significant number of left turning bicyclists or if a left-side bike lane would decrease conflicts, such as those caused by bus stops, heavy right-turn movements, deliveries, or on-street parking.

Bike lanes should typically be provided on both streets of a one-way couplet. If a one-way roadway pair in the opposite direction does not exist or would significantly increase a bicyclist travel time due to out of direction travel, there may be an increase in wrong way riding. If sufficient width exists, a counter flow bike lane can also be added to provide for two-way bicycle travel on a one-way street. For a bike lane to function as intended when built against the dominant flow of traffic on a one-way street, the following features should be incorporated into the design:

  • The counter flow bike lane should be placed on the correct side of the roadway consistent with the ORC (i.e., on the left-hand side from the motorist’s perspective).
  • A bike lane should be provided for bicyclists traveling in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. If there is insufficient room to provide a bike lane in the dominant flow direction of the street, shared lane markings should be considered to emphasize that bicyclists must share the travel lane on this side of the street.
  • Where parking is present along a counter flow bike lane, motorists leaving a parking space may have difficulty seeing oncoming bicyclists in the counter flow bike lane, as sight lines may be blocked by other parked vehicles. For this reason, the provision of counter flow bike lanes should be discouraged where high-turnover parking is present on the same side of street.
  • Bike lane symbols and directional arrows should be used on both the approach and departure of each intersection, to remind bicyclists to use the bike lane in the appropriate direction, and to remind motorists to expect two-way bicycle traffic.
  • Centerline markings along the left side of the counter flow bike lane should be provided where passing is prohibited in both directions.
  • Medians or traffic separators should be considered to provide more separation between motorists and bicyclists traveling in the opposing direction, particularly at intersections. This treatment is required when posted speeds exceed 35 mph.
  • At intersecting streets, alleys, and major driveways, DO NOT ENTER signs and turn restriction signs should include a supplemental EXCEPT BICYCLES plaque to establish that the street is two- way for bicyclists.
  • At traffic signals, signal heads should be provided for counter-flow bicyclists, as well as suitable bicycle detection measures. A supplemental plaque that says BICYCLE SIGNAL may be needed beneath the signal to clarify its purpose.


The following describes common signs needed where bicycle lanes are present. Section 9B of the OMUTCD provides additional guidance on bike lane signage.

BIKE LANE (R3-17) signs may be placed as needed or at periodic intervals along a bike lane (see Figure 6-6). Spacing of the sign should be determined by engineering judgment based on the prevailing speed of bicycle and other traffic, block length, and distances from adjacent intersections, but should not be installed in a manner that creates sign clutter. Bike lane markings are typically used more frequently than BIKE LANE signs, but where the BIKE LANE sign is used it should generally be placed adjacent to a bike lane pavement marking. The sign may be located on an existing post/utility pole when present.

The standard BIKE LANE (R3-17) sign with the AHEAD (R3-17aP) plaque may be placed in advance of the start (upstream end) of a bike lane. These signs are often considered at locations where the bike lane may be unexpected or there are sight distance restrictions to the bike lane.

The BIKE LANE sign with the ENDS (R3-17bP) plaque may be used in advance of the end of a bike lane to warn that a bike lane is ending. The BIKE LANE ENDS sign should always be used where a bike lane changes to an unmarked paved shoulder, for example at the urban or suburban fringe, but should not be used at temporary interruptions in a bike lane, such as where a bike lane is dropped on the approach to an intersection and resumes immediately after the intersection.

A BIKE LANE ENDS warning sign may be used in advance of a BIKE LANE ENDS regulatory sign, to warn bicyclists and motorists of the upcoming condition. A BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE sign (R4-11), BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1), and/or shared lane markings may be installed downstream of the merge area.

If motorists stopping, standing, or parking in a bike lane is a known problem, then, local jurisdictions should consider installing the NO PARKING BIKE LANE signs (R7-9 or R7-9a) or other signs restricting these activities.

For locations where wrong-way riding by bicyclists is frequently observed in bike lanes, the WRONG WAY and RIDE WITH TRAFFIC plaque (R5-1b and R9-3cP) may be used.

For locations where warning or regulatory signs are not applicable to bicyclists, an EXCEPT BICYCLES plaque should be used to supplement the warning or regulatory sign. These plaques may be applicable to supplement a variety of signs, such as DO NOT ENTER, NO OUTLET, ONE WAY, ALL TRAFFIC MUST TURN RIGHT, etc. The R3-7bP version of the sign should only be used with other regulatory signs; the version with black letters on a warning sign panel should only be used with other warning signs.


As detailed in Section 9C of the OMUTCD, a bike lane is designated for preferential use by bicyclists with a white line and bike lane symbol markings or word markings. The markings should be supplemented with the directional arrow marking indicating the correct direction of travel in the bike lane. Although the white line may be a normal width (4 to 6 inch wide), a wider width should be considered where additional emphasis is appropriate, such as roadways with higher motorist speeds and volumes. Wider markings can have the added benefit of improving the longevity of the markings.

Bike lane symbol markings should be placed no more than 50 ft. downstream from an intersection and spaced at intervals based on engineering judgement thereafter (see Figure 6-6). Spacing at or below 250 ft. may provide additional flexibility in urban areas. The first marking after an intersection or driveway should be placed outside of the wheel path of turning vehicles, to reduce wear. Additional bike lane symbols may be placed at closer intervals.

Bike lane symbols may be closer than 250 ft. where potential conflicts between bicyclists and motorists are higher, such as approaches to areas with significant parking turnover, at the near- and far-side of intersections and driveways, and adjacent to turn lanes. In suburban and rural areas, with long distances between intersections and little roadside activity, bike lane symbols may be as far apart as 1,000 ft. or more.

Designers should also consider conflict markings at intersections and driveways as discussed in Section 6.5.1.

Green-Colored Pavement (Interim Approval)

Green-colored pavement is beneficial to supplement other bikeway pavement markings to communicate to road users where portions of the roadway have been designated for exclusive or preferential use by bicyclists, and to enhance the conspicuity of a bicycle lane, bike lane symbol, bicycle lane extension, bicycle crossing, bicycle box, or two-stage bicycle turn box. Green-colored pavement is an optional treatment that may be used per FHWA Interim Approval IA-14.2.

If green-colored pavement is used, designers should consider the longevity of the marking materials, the installation methods, and the expected motorist wheel paths to reduce long- term maintenance. For example, thermoplastic green markings may be appropriate for lane extension markings, two-stage bicycle turn boxes, and approaches to intersections where vehicles are expected to traverse the markings, whereas epoxy or methyl methacrylate (MMA) green markings may be appropriate where few vehicles would traverse the markings or where long areas of green are desired (such as within bike boxes or along areas with on-street parking). Thermoplastic pavement markings may also be ground-in to reduce the likelihood of a plow catching the edge of the markings to improve their longevity.

The use of green-colored pavement to supplement other bikeway pavement markings, such as a shared lane marking, requires experimental approval from FHWA. Designers should look to IA-14 and FHWA requirements for experimentation when determining if an experimental design is appropriate to consider and feasible to implement.

Figure 6-6: Typical Bike Lane Pavement Markings and Traffic Control Signs

Figure 6-6

Bicycle Lanes Adjacent to On-Street Parking

Where on-street parking is permitted along a bike lane, the bike lane should be located between the parking lane and the travel lane, unless designed as a separated bike lane following guidance in Section 6.3.7 for separated bike lanes. Delineating the bike lane with two stripes, one along the street side and one along the parking side, is preferable to a single stripe.

When parallel parking lanes are narrow (7 ft.) with high turnover it is preferable to provide a separated bike lane to eliminate conflicts with the vehicles, see Section 6.3.7. When a separated bike lane is not feasible or an interim solution is needed, a buffered bike lane should be provided, see Section 6.3.5. If a striped buffer is not desired, the bike lane width may be increased to provide bicyclists with more operating space to ride out of the area of opening vehicle doors; however, as bike lane widths increase they may appear more like travel lanes and may result in instances of double parking. Designers may consider the use of green pavement to discourage motorists from using the bikeway.

If a buffered bike lane is not feasible, designers should consider the following options in the order stated:

  1. Evaluate the reduction of travel lane widths and parking lane widths to accommodate the design widths for buffered bicycle lanes.
  2. Evaluate if parking can be consolidated to one side of the street or removed to provide the additional space necessary to accommodate the design widths for buffered bicycle lanes
  3. On constrained streets where it is not feasible to eliminate parking or to narrow or remove a travel lane to achieve the minimum dimensions, research indicates there is a slightly reduced risk of dooring in bike lanes as compared to shared lanes.2 The bicycle lane may be narrowed to a minimum width of 4 ft. to provide a buffer within the door zone area. The door zone buffer may vary from 2 ft. to 4 ft. (3 ft. minimum where parking lanes are 7 ft.). The buffer markings will encourage bicyclists to ride farther from parked vehicles and encourage motorists to park closer to the curb.
  4. Provide shared lane markings in accordance with Section 6.3.1. This design is unlikely to accommodate the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist, but could accommodate the Highly Confident Bicyclist.
  5. The minimum combined bicycle lane and parking lane width is 12 ft. All other travel lanes should be narrowed to the allowable constrained width before the minimum combined bicycle and parking lane width is considered. Pavement markings may be used within the bike lane to identify the potential door zone area by extending parking tees or diagonal pavement markings into the bike lane up to 3.5 ft. from the parking lane line. See Figure 6-7.

For the scenarios listed above, to improve the visibility of the bike lane adjacent to parking or loading areas, green-colored pavement, in accordance with Interim Approval 14, may be used within the bicycle lane.

Bike lanes should not be placed adjacent to head-in angled parking, since drivers backing out of parking spaces have poor visibility of bicyclists in the bike lane. The use of back-in angled parking can help mitigate the conflicts normally associated with bike lanes adjacent to head-in angled parking. Figure 6-8 provides guidance on the angle, width, and depth of back-in angled parking.

Figure 6-7: Example of Door Zone Markings in Constrained Bike Lane Conditions

Figure 6-7

Figure 6-8: Design Criteria for Back-in Angled Parking

Figure 6-8

Back in Angle Parking




















W1 = stall width

W2 = striping width

D = depth to face of curb

θ = angle

Curbside Management

At locations where vehicles frequently stop or stand in the bike lane, in addition to the signing strategies noted above, it may be beneficial to implement curbside management strategies to result in increased parking and loading space availability during peak periods and to address various curbside uses. Curbside management strategies may include implementation of loading zones, metered parking with performance pricing to promote parking turnover, evening freight delivery, paratransit loading areas, or passenger drop off areas. These strategies may be implemented on a corridor with a bike lane or on adjacent streets. Where on-street parking is present, loading zones may be delineated within the parking lane, and the bike lane may be preserved alongside them. See the ITE Curbside Management Practitioners Guide for more information.

6.3.5 Buffered Bicycle Lanes

Buffered Bicycle lanes (buffered bike lanes) are one-way bikeways designated for preferential use by bicyclists that are striped with a buffer space separating the bike lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or on-street parking lane to increase the comfort of bicyclists. Where space is available, existing bike lanes can be improved through the provision of the painted buffer. Buffered bike lanes may be provided on any roadway to increase the comfort of bicyclists and are beneficial for the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist as traffic volumes and speeds increase (see Figure 3-3). Buffered bike lanes follow the same design guidance as bike lanes for widths and other design elements with the following additions:


The width of the bike lane should generally follow the guidance for Bicycle Lanes (see Section 6.3.4). However, where a buffered bike lane is provided the bicycle lane may be narrowed to a minimum of 4 ft. to maximize the width of the buffer. While the buffer is not a part of the bicycle lane width, it should be anticipated to be used by bicyclists to pass other bicyclists or to merge into the adjacent travel lane; as such, the buffer surface should be traversable.

Striped Buffer Markings

The striped buffer of a buffered bike lane may include chevrons, diagonal lines, or wide pavement marking stripes depending on the conditions and widths available. See Figure 6-9. Where provided, crosshatching or chevron markings should be provided at a regular interval. A typical spacing is 15 ft. with some locations reduced to as frequent as 5 ft. spacing where engineering judgment determines a more frequent spacing is desirable to discourage motorists encroachment or parking. The maximum spacing should not exceed the equivalent of the speed limit of the roadway (e.g., 45 mph posted speed equals a 45 ft. maximum spacing between markings). There is no maximum buffer width; however, when it is feasible to provide buffers totaling 6 ft. or more in width, consideration should be given to installing separated bike lanes, see Section 6.3.7 for evaluating if a separated bicycle lane may be appropriate.

Where parking is permitted, a buffer located between the bike lane and parking can increase the comfort and safety of bicyclists operating adjacent to parked vehicles by reducing the potential for a dooring type crash. See also Bicycle Lanes Adjacent to On-Street Parking.

Figure 6-9: Typical Striped Buffer Treatments

Figure 6-9

6.3.6 Raised Bicycle Lanes

A conventional bicycle lane can be raised above the street grade to create a new bikeway type that provides more separation from vehicles when a separated bike lane (see Section 6.3.7) with horizontal separation is not feasible. In general, a separated bike lane is preferable to a raised bike lane to prevent motor vehicle encroachment and to reduce the potential for a bicyclist to crash while transitioning from the raised bike lane to the roadway at intersections. While a mountable curb between the raised bike lane and travel lane can reduce crash risk for bicyclists, it may not discourage motorists from encroaching into the raised bike lane. Raised bike lanes should not be installed adjacent to on-street parking due to the greater risk of dooring.

Raised bike lanes can be raised between street level and sidewalk height (intermediate level) or can be located at sidewalk height (sidewalk level). Specific information on the curb types adjacent to raised bike lanes are discussed in Section 6.3.7. The width of raised bike lanes should accommodate the anticipated bicyclist demand and reduce the likelihood that a bicyclist will have to transition to an adjacent travel lane or sidewalk to pass other bicyclists or to avoid hazards such as debris, surface defects, or objects in the bike lane.

The width should also consider the elevation of the bike lane. Table 6-3 provides minimum and constrained widths for both raised bike lane scenarios. A white edge line should be provided near the top of the curb to provide a buffer between bicyclists and the curb; however, the width of the bike lane is still measured from curb to curb.

Figure 6-10: Raised Bike Lane Examples

Figure 6-10

To prevent motor vehicle encroachment into the bike lane, a sidewalk-level raised bike lane built with a vertical curb between the bike lane and travel lane is preferred. Where sidewalks are adjacent to the raised bike lane, a detectable edge should be provided to reduce the likelihood people with vision disabilities will enter the bike lane. This consideration may lead to the design of an intermediate-level bike lane. Section 6.3.7 provides additional guidance for sidewalk buffer designs.

At locations where an intermediate-level raised bike lane is less than 7 ft. in width, the bike lane should have a continuous mountable curb on both sides, between the bike lane and travel lane and the bike lane and the sidewalk, allowing bicyclists to traverse the curb if necessary (see Figure 6-10). While the provision of a vertical curb along the travel lane is more likely to discourage motorists from entering the raised bike lane, it may also decrease the comfort and safety of bicyclist if the bike lane is not sufficiently wide or if it is necessary for the bicyclist to exit the bike lane.

The bike lane elevation may vary within a single corridor via bicycle transition ramps which raise or lower the bike lane as needed at pedestrian crossings, transit stops, driveways, and intersections. Additional details on the design of intersections are discussed in Section 6.4. Frequent elevation changes along a corridor should be avoided because they reduce the comfort of the bicycling environment and can create maintenance challenges.

Raised bike lanes will require special considerations for maintenance activities as it may be difficult to maintain a debris free surface with standard street maintenance practices. For example, street sweepers cleaning an adjacent travel lane may push additional debris onto an intermediate level bike lane.

Markings and Signing

A wide white edge line may be used along a raised bike lane, but it is recommended at locations with an intermediate height bike lane to provide additional emphasis of the mountable curb or the lower height vertical curb. When the sidewalk is attached, directional indicators along the sidewalk should be used to differentiate the bike lane from the sidewalk to pedestrians with low or no vision.

Paving material, green-colored pavement, and signage can all help to differentiate the bike lane from an adjacent travel lane or to increase awareness of the elevation change. Designers may supplement the BIKE LANE (R2-17) sign with a plaque with the message RAISED in black letters.

6.3.7 Separated Bicycle Lanes

Separated bicycle lanes are exclusive bikeways that are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic. While buffered bike lanes provide a horizontal separation from motor vehicle traffic, separated bike lanes also provide vertical separation such as flexible delineators or a curbed median. Separated bike lanes may be located at street elevation, sidewalk elevation, or at an intermediate elevation in between the sidewalk and street. When built at sidewalk level, care must be taken to ensure they are distinct from the sidewalk to discourage pedestrian encroachment. Separated bike lanes may be installed in one-way and two- way configurations, each of which present opportunities and challenges that must be considered during the design process.

Figure 6-11: Separated Bike Lane Zones

Figure 6-11

Separated bicycle lanes are more appealing to a wider range of bicyclists than other bike lanes when installed along higher volume and faster speed roads. They also prevent motor vehicles from driving, stopping or waiting in the bikeway and provide greater comfort to pedestrians than a shared use path by separating them from bicyclists.

Separated bike lanes are comprised of three distinct zones:

  1. Bike lane – The bike lane is the space in which the bicyclist operates. It is located between the street buffer and the sidewalk buffer.
  2. Street buffer – The street buffer physically separates the bicycle lane from a vehicle lane or on- street parking both vertically and horizontally.
  3. Sidewalk buffer – A sidewalk buffer separates the bike lane and sidewalk zones.

Within the bike lane zone, the horizontal and vertical alignment of the bike lane should be smooth. Bicyclists should not need to climb sudden steep inclines, nor should they be forced to veer sharply from side to side to stay in the bike lane. Horizontal tapers should follow the same equation provided for on-street striped bicycle lanes (see Section 3.6.3).


Separated bike lane width should be selected based on the desired elevation of the bike lane, adjacent curb type(s), anticipated volume of users, likelihood of passing maneuvers, and one-way vs. two-way operation. Bicyclists typically do not have the option to pass each other by moving out of a separated bike lane as they would in a standard bike lane because of the vertical elements between the bikeway and motor vehicle travel lane. It is therefore preferable for the width of the separated bike lane to accommodate passing and potentially permit side-by-side bicycling.

The minimum bike lane widths for one-way and two-way separated bike lane(s) are provided in Table 6-4 and Table 6-5 respectively based on the anticipated directional bicyclist volumes. The widths vary depending on adjacent curb types and account for shy distances to these different curb types. Similar to conventional bike lanes, the widths in these tables should be measured from the relevant edge of the bike lane striping, face of curb, or edge of the gutter pan.

Table 6-4: Minimum One-Way Separated Bike Lane Widths

Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume

One-Way Separated Bike Lane Width (ft)

Between Vertical Curbs

Adjacent to One Vertical Curb

Between Sloped Curb or at Sidewalk Level


6.5 - 8.5

6 - 8

5.5 - 7.5


8.5 - 10

8 - 9.5

7.5 - 9





Constrained Condition*




*Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume not applicable

Table 6-5: Minimum Two-Way Separated Bike Lane Widths

Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume

Preferable Two-Way Bike Lane Width (ft)

Between Vertical Curbs

Adjacent to One Vertical Curb

Between Sloped Curb or at Sidewalk Level


10 - 12

9.5 - 11.5

9 - 11


12 - 16

11.5 - 15.5

11 - 15





Constrained Condition*




*Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume not applicable


Some curb types can increase the risk of bicycle crashes if struck by a wheel or pedal. The face of curb angle—vertical, sloping, or mountable (see SCD BP 5.1)—and curb height influence the functional width of the bikeway, crash risk to bicyclists, the ability to exit bikeways to access bike parking or adjacent properties, pedestrian detectability, and the risk of encroachment into the bikeway by motorists. The following curb types are recommended for separated bicycle lanes:

  • Curb Type 10-A, Sloping Curbs are preferred along any separated bike lane to reduce pedal strike hazards and to ease access to the sidewalk. See Table 6-4 and Table 6-5 for bike lane widths were sloping curbs should be provided.
  • Curb Type 10-B, Mountable curbs are traversable by bicyclists, reduce pedal strike hazards, and are preferred along intermediate level separated bicycle lanes.

In general, any curb type with a height of 3 inches or less will allow a bicyclist to ride closer to the curb without fear of a pedal strike. Curb Type 10-A and 10-B may be adjusted based on site conditions but must be at least 2 inches to be detectable by people who are blind.

Curbs with integral gutters result in a longitudinal seam parallel to bicycle travel that may deteriorate, resulting in dips or ridges that increase crash risk for bicyclists. Similar to conventional bike lanes, gutters should not be included in the bike lane width of a separated bike lane. For retrofit projects where separated bike lanes are added to existing roadways, integral gutters may not be avoidable; however, for new roadways or roadway reconstruction projects, integral gutters should not be provided along a separated bike lane.

One-Way vs. Two-Way Operation

Designers must determine if it would be more appropriate to place a one-way separated bike lane on each side of the street, or to place a two-way separated bike lane or side path on one side of the street (and if so, which side) or on both sides of the street. Note that side paths are a type of shared use path and therefore generally discussed in Chapter 5; however, at intersections, their geometric and operational design considerations closely follow those for separated bike lanes and are discussed here as applicable. Selecting the appropriate configuration requires an assessment of many factors, including safety, overall connectivity, ease of access, public feedback, available right-of-way, curbside lane uses, intersection operations, ingress and egress to the bikeway, maintenance, and feasibility. The analysis should also consider benefits and trade-offs to people bicycling, walking, taking transit, and driving. The primary objectives for determining the appropriate configuration are to

  • provide clear and intuitive transitions to existing or planned links of the bicycle network;
  • minimize conflicts between all users – bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists; and to
  • provide convenient access to destinations.

One-way separated bike lanes in the direction of motorized travel are typically the easiest option to integrate into the existing operation of a roadway and are the preferred design in most situations. This configuration provides intuitive and direct connections with the surrounding transportation network, including simpler transitions to existing bike lanes and shared travel lanes. It is also the design most consistent with driver expectation since bicyclist operation is in the same direction as motor vehicle operation.

Two-way separated bike lanes or a side path on one side of a street introduces a counter flow movement for bicyclists, which can be challenging – but not impossible – to accommodate. Two- way separated bike lanes might be appropriate where key destinations exist along one side of the road, where driveways and intersections are sparse along one side of the road but frequent along the other side, or for other context-based reasons. If used, care should be given to the design of intersections, driveways, and other conflict points, as people walking and driving may not anticipate bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction (See Section 6.3.8 and Section 8.4.5). Motorists entering the roadway and needing to cross the separated bike lane often will not notice bicyclists approaching from their right and motorists turning from the roadway across the bikeway may likewise fail to notice bicyclists traveling from the opposite direction. At the terminus of the bikeway, the counter flow bicyclist must also be clearly transitioned back into traffic lanes or to a different bikeway type.

If all other factors are equal (number of conflict points, right-of-way availability, predictability, etc.), consider locating bikeways on the north side of urban roadways to reduce shading snow and ice during winter months.

Two-way separated bike lanes or a side path on both sides of a street introduces the same challenges noted above but may be appropriate on roadways with fewer crossing opportunities for bicyclists. The two-way operation on both sides of the street can allow bicyclists to make more direct connections to adjacent land uses and may prevent wrong way riding that might otherwise occur on some one-way separated bike lanes.

For selecting the location of one-way or two-way bikeways on one-way or two-way roadways, designers should understand the following principles:

  • Whenever possible, bikeways should be designed to operate as one-way in the direction of adjacent motor vehicle traffic, to reduce the amount of information that motorists and pedestrians will need to make decisions about safe movements. Research indicates that two-way operation resulted in a higher crash rate than one-way operation.3
  • Where separated bicycle lanes are built on one-way streets, it is preferable to place them on the right side.4 Where bikeways need to be installed on the left, additional treatments to increase awareness and visibility should be considered.
  • If bikeways are built on the left side of a one-way street, crashes may increase in the short term, as motorists and bicyclists become accustomed to interacting on the left side, but should normalize over time.5 There are cases (such as on high-frequency bus routes) where it may be recommended to install the bikeway on the left side of the one-way street. In those cases, designers should consider additional treatments to increase awareness and visibility, easing the transition to the bikeway for motorists and bicyclists.

Table 6-6 and Table 6-7 summarize the separated bike lane configurations for one-way and two-way roadways, along with a discussion of associated issues and considerations.

Table 6-6: Separated Bike Lane Configurations on a One-Way Street

Corridor-level Planning Considerations

One-way SBL

Counterflow SBL One-way SBL Plus Counterflow SBL Two-way SBL
One-way SBL Counterflow SBL One-way plus counterflow Two-way SBL
Access to Destinations Limited access to other side of street Full access to both sides of street

Limited access to other side of street

Network Connectivity Does not address demand for counterflow bicycling, may result in wrong way riding

Requires bicyclists traveling in the direction of traffic to share the lane (may result in wrong way riding in the SBL); counterflow progression through signals may be less efficient

Accommodates two-way bicycle travel, but counterflow progression through signals may be less efficient
Crash Risk

Lower because pedestrians and turning drivers expect concurrent bicycle traffic

Higher because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic
Intersection Operations

May use existing signals phases; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Typically requires additional signal equipment; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Table 6-7: Separated Bike Lane Configurations on a Two-Way Street

Corridor-level Planning Considerations One-way SBL Pair Two-way SBL Median Two-way SBL
One-way pair Two-way pair Median two-way SBL
Access to Destinations

Full access to both sides of street

Limited access to other side of street Limited access to both sides of street
Network Connectivity

Accommodates two-way bicycle travel

Crash Risk Lower because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic Higher because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic

Higher because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic, but median location may improve visibility and create opportunities to separate conflicts

Intersection Operations May use existing signals phases; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Typically requires additional signal equipment; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Street Buffer

Street buffer width is a central element in separated bike lanes and side path design. Appropriate street buffer widths vary depending on the degree of separation desired, right-of-way constraints, and the types of vertical elements, features, or uses that must be accommodated within the buffer. In general, the minimum width of a street buffer is at least 6 ft., regardless of the type of street buffer. Street buffers may be narrowed to a minimum of 2 ft. (3 ft. encouraged when on-street parking is present) in constrained conditions or where bicyclists and turning motorists are phase separated at a signalized intersection.

In addition to providing increased physical separation mid-block, street buffers impact bicyclists’ safety at intersections, driveways, and alley crossings. Street buffer widths that provide a recessed crossing between 6 ft. and 16.5 ft. from the motor vehicle travel lane have been shown to reduce crashes at uncontrolled separated bike lanes and side path crossings (See Figure 6-30).6, 7 This offset improves visibility between bicyclists and motorists who are turning across their path, and creates space for motorists to yield (this is discussed in more detail in Section 6.5.2).

Continuous or intermittent vertical elements are needed in the street buffer to provide separation between motor vehicle traffic and the bikeway operating zone. For new roadways and reconstruction projects, these vertical elements will typically be curbed medians. Depending on the available buffer width, it may also be possible to implement green infrastructure strategies such as linear bioretention cells within the buffered area; see L&D Manual Volume 2 for stormwater design. Existing or future street sweepers and snowplows should be able to access the bikeway. If the bikeway clear space widths are not able to accommodate the equipment, the vertical elements should be mountable or designed so that both the vertical elements and the maintenance equipment is not damaged.

For retrofit projects where separated bike lanes are being added to existing roadways, the street buffer typically consists of buffered bike lane pavement markings (see Section 6.3.5) and are supplemented with vertical elements. On lower speed roads (30mph or less), flexible delineator posts, concrete barriers, or other vertical elements (see Figure 6-12) can be used. On higher speed roads, vertical elements must be crashworthy. Vertical objects may be struck by motor vehicles and require regular replacement. Maintenance and operation crews should plan on replacing vertical objects placed in the buffer zone and refreshing pavement markings, on a regular basis. If vertical objects are struck with significant regularity, adjustments to the design should be considered. The placement of vertical elements within the street buffer should consider the need for shy distances to the bikeway and to the travel lane, access to and from on-street parking, drainage, and maintenance. Vertical element spacing should consider the alignment with corresponding pavement markings in the buffer and the necessary effectiveness of the vertical elements to keep vehicles from encroaching into the separated bike lane. For example, on a higher-speed suburban road where motorists are less likely to cross into the bike lane (i.e., fewer driveways or loading and unloading needs), a wider spacing of the vertical elements may be acceptable, but on lower-speed urban streets, a spacing of 15 ft. or closer may be appropriate to prevent vehicles from attempting to stop or park in the bike lane, similar to the recommended design for buffered bike lane markings. Vertical elements may also be more closely spaced approaching intersections or driveways to better see where the gaps in the vertical elements are provided for driveway access points while preventing vehicle encroachment too early at these conflict points.

On-street parking may be used as a street buffer without other vertical elements if the parking always has high occupancy throughout the day and night, but vertical objects are typically provided to prevent vehicles from parking within the street buffer or bike lane. Additional pedestrian accessibility considerations for on-street parking are identified in the sections below.

Figure 6-12: Vertical Elements in the Street Buffer Zone

Figure 6-12

Sidewalk Buffer

The sidewalk buffer zone separates the sidewalk from the separated bike lane to communicate that the sidewalk and the separated bike lane are distinct spaces. Sidewalk buffer widths may vary depending on context (See Chapter 4). When a separated bike lane is raised to sidewalk level, sidewalk buffers need to include a delectable edge so pedestrians with vision disabilities can distinguish between the bike lane and the sidewalk. See Chapter 4 for detectable edge design options.

Vegetation in the sidewalk buffer should be trimmed and maintained on a regular basis to keep the bikeway clear at all times.


For retrofit projects, most vertical elements are non-continuous or can be provided with gaps or drainage channels to allow stormwater to flow through the street buffer. This approach allows drainage patterns to remain largely unchanged from existing conditions and allows stormwater to reach existing catch basins. When some continuous vertical elements are introduced along separated bike lanes, this may impact existing drainage patterns and require alterations to a drainage system. Some example separated bike lane drainage patterns are shown in Figure 6-13. In some suburban and rural areas, the preferred practice is to direct runoff onto adjacent vegetated areas, where soils and slopes allow for runoff to be conveyed or infiltrated.

Figure 6-13: Examples of Separated Bike Lane Drainage Configurations

Figure 6-13


Maintenance of separated bike lanes should be discussed early in the design process to ensure that the bike lane will be maintained to provide safe operation for bicyclists. This often requires a discussion of existing street cleaning equipment and snow clearing equipment to understand the width needed to accommodate maintenance operations. Although a city or district may not have a typical plow or street sweeper narrow enough to get into a separated bike lane, there may be other existing equipment that can be used, such as a loader, tractor, or utility vehicle. The purchase of new equipment may also be appropriate, particularly as a bike network expands, to ensure that the equipment is appropriate for maintaining the bikeway type(s).

The consideration of maintenance may be the justification for providing a wider bike lane or locating vertical elements closer to the travel lanes to allow equipment to pass behind the vertical elements to sweep or plow the bike lane. Similarly, the justification for a two-way separated bike lane may be the ability to more easily sweep and plow the bike lane. Additional discussion of maintenance is provided in Chapter 12.

Accessible Parking and Loading Zones Adjacent to Separated Bicycle Lanes

Accessible parking and loading spaces require additional space adjacent to parking stalls for vans with ramps to allow passenger boarding and alighting, and to ensure an accessible route is provided to and from the sidewalk. This can present a unique challenge when separated bike lanes are present between the on-street parking and sidewalk.

Pedestrian accessibility guidelines define circumstances and minimum number of accessible on- street parking spaces that should be provided within a block perimeter where marked or metered on-street parking is provided. See PROWAG Section R214. In general, accessible parking is required on each block face, so accommodating accessible parking on cross streets where separated bike lanes are not present is preferred. However, where accessible parking is appropriate on a street with separated bike lanes, it may be provided close to intersections or mid-block.

When accessible parking or loading is provided close to intersections, the design should allow the intersection curb ramps to also serve as the accessible route for the parking space(s), see Figure 6-14. When accessible parking is provided mid-block, a separate curb ramp will be necessary to provide an accessible route, see Figure 6-15. In constrained locations where accessible parking is provided, the protected bike lane may be narrowed to a minimum constrained width adjacent to the parking. At locations without on-street parking but where an accessible parking or loading area is desired, a lateral deflection (bend-out) of the separated bike lane will often be required to accommodate the accessible space. Bike lane deflection should occur gradually but should not exceed the shifting taper guidelines to maintain bicyclist safety and comfort (See Section 3.6.3).

Figure 6-14: Example of Accessible On-Street Parking at Intersection

Figure 6-14

Figure 6-15: Example of Accessible Mid-block On-Street Parking

Figure 6-15

At locations where there is a higher volume of pedestrians crossing between the separated bike lane such as valets or designated rideshare pick up and drop off, the following treatments should be used:

  • Add a PED XING pavement marking across the bike lane where the approach grade is 3 percent or greater, or where the location is within 100 ft. of an intersection.
  • Use a raised street buffer and sidewalk or intermediate-level separated bicycle lane.
  • Increase the street buffer width. This may result in narrowing the bike lane width to constrained bike lane widths along this short segment.
  • Mark pedestrian crossings and use BIKES YIELD TO PEDS (R9-6) signs.
  • Pedestrian railings may be used along the bikeway to direct pedestrians to marked crossings of the bike lane at loading zones where pedestrian activity is anticipated to be high. When present, these should be placed at an appropriate offset so that they do not present a hazard to bicyclists (see discussion on Shy Spaces in Section 3.6.2).

Transitions between Separated Bicycle Lanes and other Bikeway Types

Transitions between separated bike lanes and other bikeway types is essential for all projects that include a separated bike lane. The actual transition design can vary greatly from location to location depending on many of the contextual factors discussed throughout this guide. The selected transition design should clearly communicate how bicyclists should enter and exit the separated bike lane in order to minimize conflicts with other users.

Transitions of two-way separated bike lanes to bikeways or shared lanes that require one-way bicycle operation require additional considerations. Bicyclists operating in the counter flow direction will be required to cross at least two directions of travel and potentially two or more roadways. Failure to provide a clear transition to the desired one-way operation may result in wrong way bicycle riding. The principles identified for intersection design in Section 6.5.1 should be followed.

The use of directional, tapered islands can provide positive direction for bicyclists to follow the desired transition route. It may also be desirable to use green-colored pavement within intersection crossings (see Section 6.3.4) and bike boxes and two-stage bicycle turn boxes (see Section 6.5.1) to improve legibility and provide strong visual guidance of the intended path across and through an intersection to all users. The crossing may warrant bicycle signals at signalized crossings (see Section 8.4)

Figure 6-16. through Figure 6-21. provide illustrations of some example transitions.

Figure 6-16: Transition to Shared Lane

Figure 6-16

Figure 6-17: Transition to Conventional Bike Lane

Figure 6-17

Figure 6-18: Transition to Conventional Bike Lane on Intersecting Street

Figure 6-18

Figure 6-19: Transition from One-Way to Two-Way Separated Bike Lanes at Protected Intersection

Figure 6-19

Figure 6-20: Transition from One-Way to Two-Way Separated Bike Lanes with Two-Stage Turn Box

Figure 6-20

Figure 6-21: Transitions between Offset Intersections with Two-Way Separated Bike Lanes

Figure 6-21

6.3.8 Bicycle Ramps

Bike ramps are used to improve bicyclist safety or comfort, to shift the elevation of a bikeway to a different elevation (e.g., from street-level to sidewalk-level), or to change the bicycle facility type (e.g., from a conventional bike lane to side path).

It is common to use bike ramps when approaching roundabouts, at interchange ramp crossings, or at high-conflict zones (such as heavy weaving areas or high turning volume intersections). In these situations, the bike ramp serves the purpose of allowing bicyclists to avoid sharing travel lanes with motorists. In some instances, it may be appropriate to provide a bike ramp that would be used by most bicyclists, but also provide an on-street option for Highly Confident and Somewhat Confident Bicyclists to allow them to ride in the shared lane environment.

The other situation to use a bike ramp is approaching pedestrian conflict areas or raised crossings across a separated bike lane, where a change in elevation is desired to meet pedestrian accessibility guidelines, to slow bicyclists at conflicts, or to transition the bikeway elevation.

In either situation, the overall facility geometry, the extent of construction or type of project, or the types of bikeways being connected can affect the alignment of the bike ramp. Figure 6-22 identifies two options for bike ramps that transition to a shared use path. Detail 1 is preferable to provide a bicyclist with a comfortable change in alignment and ensure grade breaks are parallel to the path of travel. Detail 2 should be used where there is insufficient space to provide the straight taper shown in Detail 1. Designers may encounter the following challenges with the design shown in Detail 2:

  • Narrow bike ramp widths can force bicyclists to encroach on adjacent motorist travel lanes, pedestrian zones, or on- coming bicycle traffic on two-way facilities in order to access the ramp.
  • If grade breaks at the top and bottom of the bike ramp are not perpendicular to the bicyclist path of travel, bicyclists with more than two wheels (e.g., adult tricycles or bikes with trailers) can experience instability or overturning.

Figure 6-22: Bicycle Ramp to Shared Use Path or Sidewalk

Figure 6-22

Figure 6-22

In both situations, increasing the width of the bike ramp can help to address these issues.

Bike ramps are intended for the exclusive use of bicyclists and therefore the slopes need not comply with pedestrian accessibility guidelines. Ramp grades can be steeper than pedestrian curb ramps; however, grades of 5 to 8 percent can help to address issues of comfort when transitioning from one elevation to another. Where a bike ramp connects directly into a sidewalk or shared use path, a detectable warning surface shall be used at the top of the bike ramp, and may be supplemented with a directional indicator to guide pedestrians away from the bike ramp (see Section 4.3.3).

6.3.9 Bicycle and Micromobility Parking

When bikeways are provided along a corridor, bicycle parking should be included along the corridor and opportunities to accommodate bikeshare systems and other shared micromobility systems will increase. The placement of these bike parking and micromobility systems should be considered as part of any street design, particularly in regard to maintaining pedestrian accessibility on sidewalks. Without the provision of dedicated parking areas, bicycles and other micromobility vehicles have the potential to obstruct access. This section focuses only on short-term bike parking considerations. See the APBP Bicycle Parking Guidelines for additional bike parking considerations, including long-term bike parking.

As discussed previously, the sidewalk is made up of three zones: Pedestrian Through Zone (Pedestrian Access Route), Frontage Zone, and Buffer Zone. The buffer zone typically serves a wide range of amenities such as landscaping, street lighting, signage, benches, and traffic control devices. Another common use of this space is to provide bike racks or dedicated areas for bicycle and micromobility storage. These areas can be for personal vehicles or for shared fleet vehicles for municipal or regional bike and scooter share programs.

When bicycle or e-scooter parking is provided in the sidewalk buffer zone, it should generally not encroach into the pedestrian through zone unless an unobstructed path of travel for pedestrians is maintained as discussed in Chapter 4. Designers should follow the general design guidance provided below and defer to local or regional agency policies where applicable.

  • Select racks that are versatile and intuitive, allowing bicycles of all shapes and sizes to be locked through the frame and at least one wheel. See Figure 6-23 for examples of typical recommended bike racks and those that are not recommended.
  • A 5 ft. minimum clear pedestrian access route must be maintained behind any designated bike parking or designated dockless mobility parking area. In high-volume pedestrian areas, the unobstructed pedestrian through zone should match the widths discussed in Chapter 4.

Figure 6-23: Recommended and Not Recommended Bike Racks

Figure 6-23

  • A minimum depth of 6 ft. for bicycle parking and bikeshare docks and 5 ft. for scooter zones should be provided. Additional space to accommodate longer bicycles should be considered.
  • When a group of bike racks are provided, at least 36 inches should be provided between bike racks. 48 inches-60 inches of space should be allotted between parallel racks. A minimum clear distance of 36 inches should be provided between a bicycle rack and other streetscape elements so that the bike rack is functional. Bike racks can be installed with a minimum 24 inches offset from curbs (36 inches at intersections) on roadways with a posted speed of 35 mph or less. The 24 inch offset should be increased to 36 inches when adjacent to on-street parking (to maintain usable parking for bicycles and access to motor vehicle doors). See Figure 6-24 for different bike rack orientations.
  • Bikeshare docks typically feature semi-permanent structures that hold bicycles, while scooters may be parked in spaces designated by pavement markings and/or signage. Scooter stands may be installed to prevent scooters from tipping over.
  • Racks should be placed a minimum of 5 ft. from all fire hydrants.
  • Orient racks to facilitate easy access to dockless mobility vehicles.
  • Where bicycle parking is placed alongside on-street parking, bike racks should be placed to avoid conflicts with the parked vehicle’s opening doors.
  • Bikeshare pay and informational kiosks (if provided) should be accessed from the sidewalk.
  • Co-locate multiple dockless mobility options in the same location to maximize transportation choices and efficiency and minimize clutter. Additionally, consider co-locating hubs with rideshare pick-up/drop-off locations to create multimodal mobility hubs.
  • Bicycle parking and bikeshare stations may be installed within the pavement of a roadway in place of on-street parking to provide direct access to and from bikeways and eliminate conflicts with pedestrians on the sidewalk. When used, flexible delineators or other vertical elements should be used to prevent motorist encroachment into the bicycle parking area. See Figure 6-25 for an example of a bikeshare station installed in place of on-street parking. When feasible, additional space between the bike parking area and the adjacent travel lane (e.g., bike lane or vehicle lane) will provide additional maneuverability but given a constrained scenario this may not always be possible.
  • Bike parking and bikeshare dock installations should comply with the clear zone guidance specified in L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 600.2 for roadways with posted speeds of 40 mph or greater.

Figure 6-24: Typical Bike Parking Spacing for Parallel, Diagonal, and Longitudinally Oriented Inverted U Racks

Figure 6-24

Figure 6-25: Example of Bikeshare Stations Installed Within a Roadway

Figure 6-25

6.4 Evaluations of Uncontrolled Roadway Approaches to Bicycle Crossings

Where it is determined that bicycle approaches to intersections must be yield- or stop-controlled, the designer should evaluate traffic characteristics and quantify crossing opportunities where motor vehicles have an uncontrolled approach to the bicycle crossing. At these locations, natural crossing opportunities are created when motorists yield to crossing pedestrians, or when there are sufficient crossing opportunities (e.g., gaps) in traffic for bicyclists to cross. Table 6-8 identifies the recommended number of bicyclist crossing opportunities per hour that should be available at uncontrolled crossings. If sufficient crossing opportunities are not available, bicyclists are likely to accept smaller gaps or avoid the bikeway entirely due to the uncomfortable or inconvenient crossing conditions.

Table 6-8: Recommended Hourly Crossing Opportunities

Major Street Crossings (opportunities per hour)





A gap study may be used to evaluate the availability and frequency of safe crossing gaps, defined as critical gaps in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM). The HCM provides a methodology to calculate the average pedestrian delay for an uncontrolled crossing. This approach may also be used to evaluate bicyclist delay at an uncontrolled crossing. The critical gap is determined by calculating the pedestrian or bicyclist departure sight distance that allows a person enough time to judge a gap and complete a full crossing of the roadway (see Section 3.5.2. Intersection Sight Distance – Case D).

Designers should evaluate the crossing opportunities provided during the peak hour, as well as the peak 15-minute period, similar to the evaluation of level of service for motorized traffic. Where sufficient crossing opportunities are not provided, countermeasures should be provided to increase the frequency of opportunities (see Section 6.4.1).

6.4.1 Countermeasures to Improve Yielding

At locations where gaps do not provide the recommended minimum crossing opportunities (Table 6-8), engineering countermeasures to increase crossing opportunities should be considered. For roadways operating over 30 mph, it may be necessary for a traffic control device to display a red signal to require motorists to stop for bicyclists (and pedestrians) crossing roadways at locations where gaps in traffic are not sufficient (See Tier 3 in Table 6-9).

In many contexts, the installation of multiple countermeasures may improve yielding and safety outcomes. Tier 1 should be considered as the base countermeasures that support Tier 2 and 3 countermeasures. Tier 1 and 2 countermeasures should support Tier 3 countermeasures.

Tier 1 Countermeasures

  • The goal of Tier 1 countermeasures is to clearly communicate the presence of a crossing to all users as the traffic volumes and speeds are conducive to motorists yielding. Where bike lanes are present, provide Bicycle Crossing Markings and Signs (see Section 6.5.1 and Section 6.7)

Table 6-9: Uncontrolled Crossing Evaluation Table8,9,10

Uncontrolled Crossing Countermeasure Evaluation Table

Roadway Type

Vehicle ADT
< 9,000

Vehicle ADT
9,000 - 12,000

Vehicle ADT
12,000 - 15,000

Vehicle ADT
> 15,000

(Number of Travel Lanes and Median Type)

Speed Limit (mph)













2 Lanes













3 Lanes with raised median













3 Lanes without raised median













4 Lanes with raised median**













4+ Lanes without raised median













* Where the speed limit exceeds 40 mph, Tier 3 should be considered

** Raised medians must be at least 6 feet wide to serve pedestrians. See Figure 3-2 for different bicycle lengths to serve bicyclists. Where median width is less than these values, review category of 4+ lanes without raised median.


Tier 1: 1
Tier 2: 2
Tier 3: 3
  • Improve Intersection Sight Distance:
    • Where intersection sight distance for either party is limited, consider removing parking or other sight obstructions, or installing curb extensions (see Chapter 4) to allow bicyclist to wait closer to the edge of the traveled way to shorten the crossing distance.
    • Where minimum intersection sight distances cannot be provided, stopping sight distance must be provided and advance warning beacons and signage should be installed (see Chapter 8).
    • Additional options for scenarios where neither intersection or stopping sight distance can be achieved include relocating the crossing or evaluating it for a signal or other traffic control device (i.e., stop sign, rectangular rapid flashing beacon, pedestrian hybrid beacon, etc.).
  • Reduce Approach Speeds:
    • Designers can complete a speed study and may be able to lower the posted speed limit. A reduction in the posted speed limit should be complemented by street design changes to reinforce the desired operating speed. Section 7.8 covers speed management and traffic calming measures.

Tier 2 Countermeasures

In addition to Tier 1 countermeasures, designers should consider the following as speeds, volumes, and roadway widths increase to clearly communicate the presence of the crossing to all roadway users.

  • Optimize Geometric Design:
    • The geometry of the intersection and crossing should be optimized to be as close to 90 degrees as practical to minimize the exposure of crossing users, reduce crossing distances, and maximize sight lines.
    • The crossings should be shortened to reduce exposure and increase the frequency of safe crossing gaps. Strategies to consider include travel lanes, travel lane removal, crossing islands, and curb extensions (see Chapter 7).
  • Reduce approach speeds (see Tier 1 Countermeasures).
  • Provide active beacon or rectangular rapid flashing beacon (see Chapter 8).

Tier 3 Countermeasures

The goal of Tier 3 countermeasures is to require motorists to stop for crossing bicyclists (and pedestrians) at a pedestrian hybrid beacon or traffic signal or to eliminate the conflict using grade separation (see Section 6.6). These roadways where Tier 3 countermeasures are appropriate have higher volumes and speeds where crossing opportunities are less likely. Tier 3 recommendations require an evaluation of OMUTCD warrants for signalized treatments, see Section 8.2. Where these options are considered, bicyclists must either be ramped from the street to a side path to access pedestrian pushbuttons or pushbuttons or other detection methods must be provided within the street. See Chapter 8 for guidance on beacons and signalization for bicyclists.

6.5 Intersections and Bicycle Crossings

This section discusses the design of bikeways at intersections and crossings. The preferred design treatment at every intersection and crossing should be selected based on the following design principles:

  • Minimize exposure to conflicts
  • Reduce speeds at conflict points
  • Provide adequate sight distance
  • Communicate right of way priority
  • Provide clear transition between bikeway types
  • Accommodate people with disabilities

6.5.1 General Bikeway Design at Intersections & Crossings

Separation of Modes

It is preferred that a bikeway and any physical separation provided along a bikeway be maintained up to intersections. Sections 6.5.2, 6.5.3, and 6.5.6 discuss when additional physical separation may be appropriate based on speeds, volumes, and contexts. In some instances, it may not be feasible to maintain a bikeway and separation to an intersection, which will necessitate specific design considerations and may not maintain the desired level of comfort and safety for the selected bikeway. Chapter 8 provides guidance for separating users through signalization strategies and Chapter 9 provides additional design treatments at complex intersections and roundabouts.

Visibility of All Users

Adequate sight lines are needed between all roadway users as they approach an intersection. Section 3.5 defines sight distance requirements for different intersection scenarios. Due to the mixed nature of traffic at intersections (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists), the designer should keep in mind the speed of each travel mode and its resulting effect on design values when considering design treatments. The fastest vehicle should be considered for approach speeds (typically the motor vehicle and bicycle) because these modes require the greatest stopping distance. By contrast, for departures from a stopped condition, the characteristics of slower users (typically pedestrians and bicyclists) should be considered due to their greater exposure to cross traffic.

When a separated bike lane or side path is located behind a parking lane, it is typically necessary to restrict parking and other vertical obstructions near a crossing to ensure adequate sight distances are provided. At intersections and driveways with permissive turning movements where bicyclists and motorists are traveling in the same direction, parking restrictions (and the resulting sight distances) are a key consideration. See Section 3.5. At intersections and driveways with stop signs, where motorists must stop before turning across the separated bike lane or side path, the standard parking restricted area adjacent to the intersection (20 ft. minimum from a crosswalk and 30 ft. prior to a traffic control device at per ORC 4511.68 (6), (7)) may be adequate. More discussion of driveways is provided in Section 6.5.8.

Speed Minimization

If conflict points cannot be eliminated, intersection designs should minimize the speed differential between users at the points where travel movements intersect. Reducing speeds, particularly of motor vehicles, at conflict points may allow all users more time to react to avoid a crash and can reduce the severity of a potential injury if a crash does occur. Intersections where bicyclists operate should be designed to prioritize slower-speed turning movements and weaving movements across the path of bicyclists. Treatments for reducing speed and improving safety at conflict points are provided in subsequent sections based on the bikeway type and roadway configuration and Chapter 7 provides design guidance for the various traffic calming treatments as well as a discussion of design and check vehicles for evaluating corner radii.

Communicate Right of Way Priority

Intersection design should provide bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists with cues that both clearly establish which user(s) have the right of way and consistently communicate expected yielding behavior. Traffic control devices should communicate right of way priority through the provision of:

  • Marked pedestrian crossings of bikeways;
  • Marked bicycle crossings (lane extensions) at driveways and intersections;
  • Regulatory or warning signs for motorists and/or bicyclists who are crossing, merging, or turning where appropriate;
  • Signalization where provided.

Regulatory and warning signs will depend on the bikeway type and lane configuration and is discussed for each treatment type. At signalized intersections, bicyclists may be controlled by motor vehicle signals, pedestrian signals, or bicycle signals. A bicycle signal provides a separate indication for the exclusive use of bicyclists. See Chapter 8 for bicycle signalization design considerations.

Intersection Pavement Markings

Intersection pavement markings are used to highlight conflict areas and aid bicyclist navigation. Table 6-10 summarizes the preferred pavement markings based on the intersection and bikeway type.

Bicycle Crossing Markings (Lane Extension Lines)

Where a bikeway crosses an intersection separate from a crosswalk, bikeway lane markings may be extended through the intersection to delineate the bicycle crossing and raise awareness of the presence of bicyclists. Bike lane crossings are desirable to:

  • Delineate a preferred path for people bicycling through the intersection, especially crossings of wide or complex intersections,
  • Improve the legibility of the bike crossing to roadway users, and
  • Encourage motorist yielding behavior, where motorists must merge or turn across the path of a bicyclist.

Figure 6-26 provides design details for bicycle crossing markings. Bicycle crossings should consist of dotted extensions lines, which should at least match the width of the line it is extending. 6 inches is a typical width for a bicycle dotted extension line, but wider extension lines should be considered to further emphasize the crossing and improve the longevity of the markings. Bicycle lane symbols may be added within lane extension lines to communicate the directionality of the bike lane, which may be beneficial in areas where two-way separated bike lanes or counter flow bike lanes are present.

Table 6-10: Bicycle Crossing and Intersection Markings Selection Guidelines

Intersection Type Condition Separated Bicycle Lane

Conventional/Buffered Bike Lane

Bicycle Boulevard


Turn Conflict

Bars Bars No Markings

No Turn Conflict

Dashes Dashes No Markings

Bikeway Corridor Turns Left

Bike arrow Bike arrow Bike arrow left

High Turning Volume

Bars Bars No Markings*

All other conditions

Bars Dashes No Markings

Bikeway Corridor Turns Left

Bike arrow Bike arrow No Markings

*Additional treatment may be needed

Bicycle crossings may also be supplemented with green-colored pavement. If used, the green- colored pavement should align with the dotted extension line pattern of the dotted edge lines. If the green-colored bike crossings are proposed parallel to pedestrian crosswalks comprised of wide longitudinal lines (i.e., high visibility crosswalks) the dotted extension lines and green- colored pavement should align with the crosswalk markings. See Figure 6-26. This placement will reduce pavement marking clutter and ensure that the green-colored markings are spaced to avoid motorist wheel paths and improve the longevity of the markings.

At locations where the bicycle crossing is less than 1 ft. from the pedestrian crossing, the dotted extension line nearest the pedestrian crossing can be removed, allowing the edge of the crosswalk to serve as the edge of the bicycle crossing.

Figure 6-26: Bicycle Crossing Pavement Markings

Figure 6-26

Two-Stage Bike Turn Box (Interim Approval)

Figure 6-27 designates an area at an intersection intended to provide bicyclists a place to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding in a different direction of travel. To use the two-stage bike turn box, bicyclists traverse the intersection within the bike lane, stop within the turn box, reorient themselves to the cross street, and wait for the signal for the cross street to proceed, eliminating the need to merge across travel lanes.

Two-stage bicycle turn boxes may be used for left or right turns, and its use is preferred for making turns instead of a bike box (see Section below), particularly on higher-volume or multi-lane roads. A two-stage bike turn box may be used at signalized intersections per FHWA Interim Approval IA-20.12. The use of a two-stage turn box at an unsignalized intersection is not an approved use of this treatment and would require an experimental approval from FHWA.

Two-stage turn boxes should be installed where a bikeway intersects with another designated bikeway or where it would connect to a major destination, such as a school, community center, grocery store, etc. When designing a buffered or separated bike lane, designers should plan on installing two-stage turn boxes at most intersections to discourage merging with traffic to make a left turn before reaching intersections. When designing a conventional bike lane, if the volume or speed of the adjacent roadway is more than 6,000 ADT or 30 mph, designers should consider installing two-stage turn boxes at intersections.

Figure 6-27: Two-Stage Bike Turn Box Pavement Markings

Figure 6-27

Figure 6-28: Two-Stage Left Turn Box Placement

Figure 6-28

A two-stage bike turn box:

  • Must be located outside of the path of through and turning traffic;
  • Should be located adjacent to the direct path of bicyclist travel;
  • Should be located downstream of the crosswalk and downstream of the stop line;
  • Should be located in an area clearly visible to motorists and adequately illuminated;
  • Must include a bicycle symbol, preferably oriented in the direction in which the bicyclists enter the box, along with an arrow showing the direction of the turn; and
  • May include green-colored pavement or pavement markings to enhance the conspicuity of the box.

A NO TURN ON RED (R10-11) sign shall be installed where a two-stage bike turn box is not located outside the path of right-turning traffic to prevent motorists from entering the bicycle queuing area. The placement must also consider left- turning traffic that may otherwise overlap with the two-stage bike turn box. Passive detection of bicycles in the two-stage bike turn box must be provided if detection is required to actuate a traffic signal.

Two-stage bicycle turn box dimensions vary based on the street operating conditions, the presence or absence of a parking lane, traffic volumes and speeds, and available street space. The queuing area should be a minimum of 6.5 ft. deep measured in the longitudinal direction of bicycles sitting in the box. The box must be outlined with solid white lines.

Figure 6-29: Bicycle Box Configuration Across One Lane of Through Traffic

Figure 6-29

Bike Boxes (Interim Approval)

A bicycle box is a designated area on the approach to a signalized intersection consisting of an advanced stop line and bicycle symbol. Bike boxes mitigate conflicts between through bicyclists and right-turning motorists, reduce conflicts between motorists and bicyclists at the beginning of the green signal phase, and provide additional queuing space for bicyclists. Bike boxes should not be installed across more than one through travel lane with the intention of accommodating bicyclist turns; however, FHWA Interim Approval IA-18.10 does permit this installation with certain conditions. A two-stage bicycle turn box should instead be used to accommodate bicyclist turns. The use of bike boxes is limited to signalized intersections and should not be used in other locations.

At least one bicycle symbol should be placed in the box to indicate it is for bicycle use. Bike boxes should be a minimum of 10 ft. in depth and may be larger depending on anticipated bicyclist volumes. At least 50 ft. of bike lane should be provided on the approach to a bike box so bicyclists will not need to ride between lanes to enter the box. The approaching bike lane, and the bike box, may be colored green.

The stop line for motorists should be set back to coincide with the beginning of the bike box. The sign STOP HERE ON RED (R10-6 or R10-6A), aligned with the motorist stop line, should be installed to indicate the correct stopping location for motorists, with an EXCEPT BICYCLES (R3-7bP) word legend plaque. The sign STOP HERE ON RED (R10-6 or R10-6A) should not be used in locations with a separate turn lane where motorists are stopping in two different locations (see Figure 6-29).

Turns on red should be prohibited on the approach where a bike box is placed in front of traffic that has potential to turn on red, using a NO TURN ON RED sign (R10-11 series). At intersections where a high number of collisions occur between through bicyclists and turning vehicles, alternative treatments should be considered such as a protected intersection (see Section 6.5.2), leading or exclusive bicycle signal phases (see Chapter 8), separate lanes for through and turning traffic, or a combination of these and other treatments.

6.5.2 Separated Bike Lanes at Intersection Design

A protected intersection (discussed below) is the preferred intersection treatment for separated bike lanes and side paths. When intersections are constrained, designers should consider the following in the order listed:

  1. Reduce each roadway element (motor vehicle lanes, buffers, separated bike lanes, and sidewalk) to its minimum dimensions or minimum number of travel lanes necessary.
  2. Eliminate the sidewalk buffer while still providing a detectable edge adjacent to the road for pedestrians with disabilities (see Chapter 4).
  3. Provide a conventional bike lane or mixing zone (not appropriate for side paths or two-way separated bike lanes) by transitioning the separated bike lane to:
    • A conventional bike lane with an optional bicycle ramp to the sidewalk for roadways with operating speeds of 35mph or greater. If local jurisdictions prohibit bicycle use on sidewalks, this option is limited to when the ramp leads to a side path or shared use path or requires a sign to indicate that a bicyclist must dismount and walk their bike.
    • A conventional bike lane or shared lane for roadways with operating speeds of less than 35 mph.
  4. These options are further discussed below and in Section 6.5.3 for conventional bike lane designs.

General Intersection Design

The principles and basic pavement marking treatments of intersection design are covered in Section 6.5.1. This section covers only issues that are unique to separated bike lane and side path intersection designs.

Reducing Speed at Conflict Points

Where motorists are permitted to turn across the path of bicyclists, intersections should be designed to reduce motorist turning speeds. Designers should apply the following treatments for reducing motorist turning speeds when feasible based on the roadway context:

  • At protected intersections, the effective radius of the intersection corner plays a significant role in determining the speed at which turning motorists may negotiate the corner. See the Protected Intersection section below and Chapter 7 for design information regarding reducing turning speed through the use of corner islands, truck apron treatments, and design and check vehicles.
  • The speed of left-turning motorists crossing a bikeway should also be considered. Channelizing devices such as median islands and hardened centerlines (see Chapter 7) can be used to establish a smaller turning radius, reducing the speed of motorists, which can improve yielding and reduce the severity of crashes.
  • Raised crossings can also be an effective treatment for reducing both left and right turning vehicle speeds, increase visibility of bicyclists, and increase yielding behavior of motorists. See Chapter 7 and the bike ramp discussion in Section 6.3.8.

It may also be necessary to slow the speed of bicyclists approaching an intersection, especially where the grade of the roadway will frequently result in a higher speed of travel.

  • Bending the bike lane away from the adjacent motor vehicle lane is preferred, as this creates a larger offset at the intersection from turning vehicles, while also introducing horizontal deflection in the bike lane. The offset may also allow for the provision of a corner island or protected intersection. The horizontal deflection should follow the bicycle taper rate design criteria specified in Chapter 3 using the desired operating speed.
  • Where horizontal deflection is not feasible due to geometric constraints, designers may consider vertical deflection for bicyclists, raising the elevation of the bikeway to reduce their speed as they approach an intersection. See the following Transitions between Elevations section for vertical deflection design parameters.

Transitioning Bikeways between Elevations

Separated bike lanes may transition from one elevation to another in order to accommodate:

  • Raised crossings at intersections,
  • A vertical deflection to slow bicyclists as they approach an intersection, and
  • At loading/unloading areas that prioritize pedestrians such as accessible parking, valet parking, transit stops, or ridesharing pick-up/drop-off

The ramp for the bicyclist should provide a smooth vertical transition with a maximum slope of 8 percent; however, a 5 percent slope is generally preferred. For side paths, any transitions must be consistent with pedestrian accessibility guidelines. Speed hump markings should be used on bicycle ramps to allow the ramp to be more visible to bicyclists. Transition ramps should typically not be located within a lateral shift or curve in the bike lane alignment near an intersection. Transition ramps may impact drainage flow and require additional storm sewer infrastructure.

Restricting Motor Vehicles

Separated bike lane and side paths should be marked with bicycle crossings (Figure 6-26) and crosswalks (Section 4.5.1), respectively, at intersections and driveways. These marked crossing treatments are often sufficient to communicate that motor vehicles are not the intended user of the bikeway. Bicycle lane symbol markings (Section 6.3.4) located close to an intersection or driveway can further reinforce the intended user. Green-colored pavement or markings in the bicycle crossing and/or close to an intersection or driveway can further enhance the conspicuity and reinforce that vehicles are not authorized.

KEEP RIGHT or KEEP LEFT signs (R4-7, R4-8), supplemented with an optional EXCEPT BIKES plaque (Section 6.3.4), can be installed in the street buffer to reinforce that motorists should not enter the bikeway.

If the above-mentioned treatments have been implemented and found to be ineffective, changes to the width of the separated bike lane or side path may be considered. Visually narrowing the width of the bikeway using white edge lines should first be considered. For one-way separated bike lanes, the use of flexible delineators or other vertical elements (Section 6.3.7) may be used to narrow the physical width of a one-way separated bike lane to no more than 6 ft. at intersections and driveways, but these treatments should not be placed in the middle of a one-way separated bike lane. For two-way separated bike lanes or side paths, if the above treatments are found to be ineffective, the treatments from Section 5.6.1 may be considered. A two-way separated bike lane may include a flexible delineator post on the centerline at intersections as a temporary measure to acclimate drivers to the lane configuration and then the flexible delineator can be removed once driver education has occurred.

Protected Intersection

Protected intersections maintain bicyclist separation in a separated bike lane or side path up to the intersection using corner islands (vertical elements or curbing) to separate bicyclists from traffic. The design principle may be used at signalized and unsignalized intersections and driveways.

At uncontrolled approaches of intersections and at signalized intersections where turning vehicles and bicycle through movements are expected, designers should offset the bicycle crossing between 6 and 16.5 ft. from the adjacent motor vehicle lane. This treatment creates a yielding space for motorists and has been shown to reduce crashes at uncontrolled and permissive conflict locations. Figure 6-30 shows the design components for a protected intersection.

Designers should consider using a text-only TURNING VEHICLES YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES sign to communicate when turning motorists need to yield to these street users.

Figure 6-30: Protected Intersection Design Components

Figure 6-30

Corner Island

Figure 6-30 shows the corner islands in a protected intersection. The corner island is a key component of a protected intersection, which provides the following benefits:

  • Helps establish the horizontal offset between the adjacent motor vehicle lane and the bike crossing, creating a motorist yield zone,
  • Provides a defined intersection corner to slow turning vehicles,
  • Positions bicyclists waiting to cross ahead of the adjacent motor vehicle lane via an advanced bicycle stop line, allowing bicyclists to be more visible,
  • Creates queuing space for bicyclists making a two-stage turn, outside of the path of through bicyclists, thus eliminating the need for some two-stage bicycle turn boxes, and
  • Allows for a pedestrian crossing island, shortening the crossing length and reducing exposure.

Corner islands may be constructed of concrete and curbing, or may be constructed with low-cost materials, such as paint and flexible delineator posts or engineered rubber curbs and/or rubber speed cushion (see Figure 6-31). If a corner island is constructed of mountable materials, such as rubber speed cushions, designers should understand that the forward queuing area for bicyclists and pedestrian crossing islands may no longer be protected from turning motorists and should therefore be removed. Where flex posts or other vertical elements are used, they should be placed at least 1 ft. offset from the turning radius of design vehicles at all intersection and driveways, See Chapter 7 for determining intersection curb radii.

Figure 6-31: Protected Corner Treatment Examples: Concrete Corner Island (left) and Flexible Delineators and Rubber Parking Stops (right)

Figure 6-31

Pedestrian Considerations

When the street buffer is at least 6 ft. in width, it may be used as a pedestrian crossing island, which can shorten the pedestrian crossing distance. In this case, pedestrians would cross the separated bike lane as an uncontrolled crossing, then cross the motor vehicle lanes as a separate crossing.

When the pedestrian crossing is located at a signalized intersection, the designer can consider reducing the signal timing for the pedestrian crossing to reflect this shorter crossing distance only if the pedestrian pushbuttons are located within the pedestrian crossing island. Yield markings, BIKES YIELD TO PEDS (R9-6) signs, and crosswalk markings should indicate the right of way between bicyclists and pedestrians at these locations.

When the street buffer is less than 6 ft. in width and there is not space for a pedestrian crossing island, the crossing distance cannot be shortened, and any associated signal timing must be calculated for the entire street width.

When on-street parking is located along a corridor, normal parking restrictions at intersections will allow space for a wider street buffer as the separated bike lane approaches the intersection. When there is no parking along the corridor, an offset can be created by narrowing or removing the sidewalk buffer and increasing the width of the street buffer as the separated bike lane approaches the intersection (i.e., bending the bikeway out, away from the adjacent travel lanes).

Separated Bike Lanes with Mixing Zones at Intersections

Where protected intersections are not viable, or where separate signal phasing cannot be provided between right-turning motor vehicles and bicycles, the following mixing zone options may be considered for separated bike lanes at intersections. Mixing zones create a defined merge point for a motorist to yield and cross paths with a bicyclist in advance of an intersection. They require removal of the physical separation between the separated bike lane and the motor vehicle travel lane, and are therefore generally appropriate as an interim/retrofit solution or in situations where right-of-way constraints make it infeasible to provide a protected intersection.

The speed of motor vehicles at the merge point is a critical factor for the safety and comfort of bicyclists in mixing zones to accommodate the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist profile. The following strategies can be used to reduce speeds of motor vehicles entering the merge point:

  • Minimize the length of the merge area to slow motorists prior to the conflict area.
  • Locate the merge point as close as practical to the intersection.
  • Minimize the length of the storage portion of the turn lane based on anticipated vehicle queue length (see L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 401.6.3).
  • Provide a buffer and physical separation (e.g., flexible delineator posts) from the adjacent through lane after the merge area, if feasible.
  • Highlight the conflict area with a green-colored pavement and dotted bike lane markings, as necessary, or shared lane markings. See Figure 6-32.

Figure 6-32: Separated Bike Lane to the Left of a Right-Turn Lane (left) or Transitioning to a Shared Right-Turn Lane (right)

Figure 6-32

6.5.3 Bicycle Lanes at Intersection Design

As a bicycle lane approaches an intersection, designers should provide a continuous and direct route through the intersection, driveway, or alley that is legible to all users of the roadway. Designers should minimize or eliminate conflict areas between bicyclists and motor vehicles, where possible. To minimize the potential for conflicts, designers should adhere to the following design principles:

  • Designers should communicate where motorist are expected to yield to bicyclists.
  • Bicycles should not operate between turning lanes and moving lanes with traffic operating over 30 mph on either side of them for distances longer than 200 ft. (see further discussion in the Right Turn Only Lanes section).
  • Bicycle crossings of weaving or merging movements by motor vehicles operating over 20 mph should be avoided or minimized to a length of 200 ft. or less.
  • It is preferable for motorists merging and crossing movements across bike lanes be confined to a location where motor vehicles are likely to be traveling at speeds less than 20 mph.
  • It is preferable for bicycle crossings of intersections to be marked (see Section 6.5.1. General Bikeway Design at Intersections & Crossings)

A conventional or buffered bike lane can be transitioned to a protected bike lane and follow the design of a protected intersection to increase the comfort of the bikeway at the intersection. Designers should consider this design as operating speeds reach 35 mph or higher. See Chapter 3 for bicycle lane taper rates and Section 6.5.2 for protected intersection design. When a protected intersection is not feasible for operating speeds of 35 mph or greater or motor vehicle turning volumes exceed 150 turning vehicles per hour, a bicycle ramp (Section 6.3.8) should be considered to give bicyclists a choice to exit the roadway to a side path or sidewalk prior to the intersection.

Approach Markings

Bike lane lines may be solid or dotted on the approach to and within intersections where motor vehicles are permitted to enter a bike lane to prepare for a turning, crossing, or merging maneuver.

The choice between a solid or dotted lane line should be based on several factors including the speed and volume of turning vehicles, the presence of bus stops and frequency of transit use, and the types of vehicles that may cross or enter the bike lane (see Figure 6-6). A key consideration is the legibility of the bike lane network to both bicyclists and drivers and consistency of application within a community.

At locations with infrequent conflicts, the bike lanes should remain solid to the intersections. Dotted lane lines should be used to delineate conflict areas within the bike lane at locations where:

  • intersections are signalized and bicyclists and motorists operate concurrently.
  • where right turn lanes are not provided and turning motorist volumes are high.
  • buses frequently cross the bike lane at transit stops.

As buffered bike lanes approach intersections, the buffer should not be marked where motorists must cross or enter the bike lane and a bicycle crossing should be considered. Where bike crossings are marked, the bike crossing should be widened to match the width of the full bike lane and buffer. Where a bike crossing is not marked, the buffer should be discontinued by dropping the inside lane line along the bike lane as shown in Figure 6-33 to ensure the motor vehicle travel lane is provided a continuous edge line. As buffered bike lanes approach intersections with shared through/right lanes, the buffer may terminate as shown in Figure 6-34.

Shared Through/Right Motor Vehicle Lanes

When bicycle lanes are present on two-lane roadways, designers should see the Approach Marking guidance above for when to provide a solid or dotted line at the intersection approach.

Figure 6-33: Buffered Bike Lane Treatments at Merge Areas

Figure 6-33

Figure 6-34: Buffered Bike Lane Treatments Approaching Intersections

Figure 6-34

At intersection approaches with limited space where a right-turn lane is not required but there are relatively high right-turn volumes (more than 150 vehicles during the peak hour) or an existing crash history, designers should consider converting the conventional bike lane to a separated bike lane by adding a 2 ft. wide minimum buffer with flexible delineator posts beginning at least 50 ft. in advance of the intersection to provide added comfort for bicyclists, slow the speed of turning motorist, and reduce the length of the conflict area (see Figure 6-35). Signal phase separation of bicyclists and motorists should be considered, but if concurrent movements are permitted a bike box or forward bicyclist queuing area should be considered.

Figure 6-35: Bicycle Lane Treatment for high turning volumes from a shared through/right motor vehicle lane

Figure 6-35

Right Turn Only Lanes

Vehicular right turn only lanes are often used where higher volumes of right-turning motor vehicles warrant an exclusive right turn lane to increase motor vehicle capacity at intersections or for safety benefits. As right turn volumes increase, the potential for conflicts between bicyclists and motor vehicles also increases at merging or crossing locations.

The following are common scenarios for bike lane approaches to intersections with right turn lanes. These scenarios and subsequent treatments are discussed in order of most separated to least separated. Designers should work to provide the highest level of separation feasible to both accommodate the Interested but Concerned user and reduce motorists and bicyclists conflict points.

Figure 6-36: Example Bike Lane Approach to a Right Turn Only Lane

Figure 6-36

Right-Turn Only Lane with Separated Bike Lane

At signalized intersections where a right-turn lane is provided, the bike lane can transition to a separated bike lane with the provision of a separate bicycle crossing signal phase. See Figure 6-36.

Bicycle Lane Adjacent to a Right Turn Only

On roadways when a right-turn only lane is added on the approach to an intersection by either widening or by restricting on-street parking, drivers must yield to bicyclists when merging across the bicycle lane into the right-turn lane. To reduce bicyclist exposure on roadways with operating speeds of 35mph or less (see Figure 6-37) and turn lanes less than 200 ft. in length, designers should:

  • Mark the merging area with dotted pavement markings for no length greater than 200 ft.
  • Mark the merging area where motorists’ speeds are lower, typically within 400 ft. of the intersection. For these locations, designers should:
  • Provide the ‘BEGIN RIGHT-TURN LANE YIELD TO BIKES’ (R4-4) signs to remind drivers of yielding obligations.
  • Add green colored pavement to highlight the conflict area and reinforce that drivers should yield to bicyclists.

Figure 6-37: Example Bike Lanes on Streets under 35 mph with Right Turn lanes < 200 Ft. in Length

Figure 6-37

  • Include vertical elements, such as medians or flexible delineators, between the bike lane and through lane to force motorists to enter the turn lane at the clearly defined beginning, thus providing a more predictable conflict point.

On roadways with operating speeds over 35 mph (see Figure 6-38), or at locations where right turn lanes exceed 200 ft. in length, designers should also:

  • Provide a bicycle lane as wide as possible, with a bike lane width of 6 ft. or greater and a minimum 2 ft. buffer on either side. In constrained locations, the minimum bike lane width is 4 ft. with a minimum 2 ft. buffer adjacent to the through traffic lane.
  • Consider providing a bicycle ramp to allow bicyclists to exit the roadway to an off-street bikeway or sidewalk prior to the merge area, if desired.
  • Consider providing mountable medians or flexible delineators within the buffer adjacent to the through travel lane (where present) to prevent motorist encroachment into the bike lane and constrain the motorists merging area across the bike lane.

Figure 6-38: Example Bike Lanes on Streets over 35 mph or Right Turn Lanes > 200 ft. in Length

Figure 6-38

Figure 6-39: Through Lane Drops to Right Turn Lane with Bike Lane

Where buffered bike lanes or bike ramps to an off-street bikeway or sidewalk are not feasible for roadways with operating speeds greater than 35 mph or right turn lanes that exceed 200 ft. in length, the bike lane may remain along the curb until it is within 400 ft. of the intersection, at which points the bike lane shall transition to the left side of the right turn lane, as shown in Figure 6-39.

Through Lane Transitions to a Right Turn Only Lane

Figure 6-39 shows an intersection where a through travel lane becomes a right turn only lane or an auxiliary lane. In this scenario, the bicyclist must transition to the left side of the turn lane. This is a challenging maneuver for bicyclists, and it increases crash risk as traffic speeds exceed 30 mph and motorist volumes increase. To compensate for this, the bike lane should remain along the curb until it is within 400 ft. of the intersection. The bike lane drops at this point and is re-introduced on the left side of the right turn lane. Design treatments should be selected based on the operating speeds:

  • Operating speeds less than 35 mph - shared lane markings may be used to delineate the likely path of travel of bicyclists transitioning to the shared lane and then into the bike lane. The bike lane should not be striped diagonally across the travel lane, as this inappropriately suggests to bicyclists that they do not need to yield to motorists when moving laterally. In this situation, the BEGIN RIGHT TURN YIELD TO BIKES (R4-4) sign should not be used, since bicyclists are the users who need to yield as they are weaving across the path of motor vehicle traffic. A BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1) or BICYCLES MERGE sign should be placed where the curb side bike lane ends.
  • Operating speeds over 35 mph - a bicycle ramp should be considered to allow bicyclists to exit the roadway, if desired, to an off-street bikeway or sidewalk prior to the merge area.

Bike Lane Ends to Develop a Right Turn Lane

If there is insufficient space for a bike lane and a right turn only lane, designers must select from three primary design alternatives. Bicyclists often prefer to operate within the lane that has a lower traffic volume, experiences less queueing, and has lower operating speeds than the adjacent lane. Designers should select the treatment that maximizes bicyclist safety and comfort:

  • Bike Lane Transitions to a Shared Right-Turn Lane - If the right turn only lane is best suited for bicyclists, the adjacent travel lane should be narrowed to the minimum width allowed by the L&D Manual Volume 1 to maximize the width of the turn lane for shared operation. At locations where the right turn lane is 14 ft. or less in width and posted speeds are less than 35 mph, shared lane markings may be located within the center or left-most portion of the turn lane (See Figure 6-40).
  • Bike Lane Transitions to a Shared Through Lane - At locations where the right turn lane experiences extensive or frequent queuing or there is no bike lane present on the downstream side of the intersection, and has operating speeds below 35 mph, the shared lane markings may be located within the right-most through lane instead of within the right-turn lane. In these locations, the shared lane markings should be located following the guidance provided in Section 6.3.1 and Figure 6-3.

Figure 6-40: Example Right Turn Only Lane with Shared Lane Markings

Figure 6-40

  • Bike Lane Transitions to an Off-Street Bikeway or Sidewalk - At locations where operational speeds exceed 35 mph or motorist volumes exceed 150 turning vehicles per hour, a bicycle ramp should be considered to allow bicyclists to exit the roadway to an off-street bikeway (separated bike lane or side path) prior to the termination of the bike lane.

Dual Right Turn Only Lanes

Avoid installing dual right turns on streets with bicycle lanes. If dual right turn lanes are necessary to accommodate heavy right-turn volumes, a designer should transition the bike lane to a separated bike lane or side path in advance of the intersection (see Figure 6-36). The high right turn volumes will require the provision of a separate bike crossing phase (see Chapter 8).

If the bike lane cannot be transitioned to a separated bike lane, shared lane markings may be located in the adjacent through lane if posted speeds are less than 40 mph.

6.5.4 Raised Bike Lanes at Intersections

At locations where bike lanes are raised and located near adjacent travel lanes, it will be necessary for the raised bike lane to transition to a street level bike lane, shared lane, or to a sidewalk, side path or separated bike lane (see Figure 6-41).

It is preferable to transition the raised bike lane to bend away from the travel lane to form a protected intersection where space allows to minimize conflicts with turning motorists (Option 1).

Where it is determined to transition the raised bike lane to a standard bike lane or shared lane, that transition should occur 50 ft. to 200 ft. prior to the intersection (Option 2). A bike ramp should be considered to allow bicyclists to transition to the adjacent sidewalk or side path at locations where bicyclist may encounter high volumes of motorized traffic.

Figure 6-41: Intersection Approach Options for Raised Bike Lanes

Figure 6-41

Where protected intersections are not feasible, the raised bike lane should transition to street level. It is preferable for the raised bike lane to continue to the intersection and return to street level on a ramp within 10 ft. of a pedestrian crosswalk (Option 3). This option is only applicable when the bike movement is phase separated (see Chapter 8).

6.5.5 Counter flow Bike Lanes Intersection Design

At intersecting streets, alleys, and major driveways, DO NOT ENTER (R5-1) signs and turn restriction signs should include a supplemental plaque reading EXCEPT BICYCLES to establish that the street is two-way for bicyclists and to remind motorists to expect two-way bicycle traffic. At traffic signals, signal heads and suitable bicycle detection measures should be provided for counter flow bicyclists. If bicycle specific lenses are not used, a supplemental plaque reading BICYCLE SIGNAL may be needed beneath the signal to clarify its purpose. Bicycle crossing may be marked to further emphasize the counter flow movement of bicyclists to motorists.

Counter-flow transitions should normally occur at intersections or locations where bicyclists may return to normal two-way travel or naturally transition to the correct side of the street in another bikeway. If transitions are not made at logical locations, bicyclists may continue to ride counter flow in a shared lane, in a bicycle lane, or on a sidewalk which can substantially increase their crash risk.

Figure 6-42: Signing for Counter-flow Bike Lanes

Figure 6-42

6.5.6 Bicycle Boulevard Intersections and Crossings

Low-stress Intersection Crossings

An important principle of bicycle boulevards is to ensure that street crossings maintain the low- stress nature of the bikeway with minimal delay. Many of the intersections a bicyclist will cross will be local streets crossing other local streets. These are commonly all-way or two-way stop or yield-controlled, fully uncontrolled, or fully uncontrolled with traffic circles (see Chapter 7). Frequent stopping along a bicycle boulevard can significantly increase the bicyclist’s total ride time and may result in reduced stop sign compliance where stops are closely spaced and crossing traffic volumes are low. For a bicycle boulevard to function as an alternative route to a parallel arterial, it should provide a similar travel time for the bicyclist as they would experience on the parallel arterial. In many cases, achieving this outcome may involve intersection control changes along the bicycle boulevard.

Traffic Controls for Minor Street Crossings:

  • Limit locations where stop control is used on the bicycle boulevard to less than one location per half mile (in the direction of travel along the bicycle boulevard). Yield controls are preferable to stop controls as it allows bicyclist to slow and assess the cross traffic without having to stop and restart.
  • On long corridors with a frequent application of all-way or two-way stop control, efficiency of the bicycle boulevard can be improved by removing stop controls on the bicycle boulevard and requiring the cross street to stop or yield, or by utilizing mini-roundabouts.
  • Parking restriction signs may be necessary to provide the required sight distance at intersections where stop signs are removed or where yield control is provided.
  • Consider supplementing STOP or YIELD signs with either CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP (W4- 4P) signs and Bicycle Guide Signs. When used, Bicycle Guide Signs shall be installed on a separate post than the STOP sign.

Designers should be aware that the removal of stop signs can result in increased motor vehicle speeds and volumes. When bicycle boulevards run parallel to a congested arterial or are the only route through an area with few connecting streets, it may attract cut-through motorized traffic. Designers should consider traffic calming or diversion treatments to discourage or prevent increased traffic volume, speeds, or both (see Chapter 7).

Traffic Controls for Major Street Crossings:
Major street crossings along bicycle boulevards can be significant barriers. At intersections where a bicycle boulevard crosses an arterial road, or any other major road where the bicycle boulevard is stop- or yield-controlled, an uncontrolled crossing of the major roadway is common. Where traffic signals are not present, additional crossing measures may be needed to ensure bicyclists can continue along the route. Designers should ensure that there are sufficient crossing opportunities (see Table 6-8) and apply appropriate countermeasures as needed (see Section 6.4). Chapter 8 provides design guidance for beacon and signal countermeasures. Bicycle boulevards are commonly used by families with children because they often originate in neighborhoods and provide connections between neighborhoods. At major streets, bicycle boulevard crossings may also be used by pedestrians. For these reasons, intersection crossings should assume pedestrians are crossing and include crosswalk markings, along with other appropriate design measures to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle crossings. Designers should be guided by the following performance criteria when evaluating and designing bicycle boulevard crossings at major intersections:

  • Crossing time and acceleration should accommodate pedestrians and child bicyclists (Section 3.3.1 and Section 3.5.2 - Case D)
  • Sight distance eye height should be based on recumbent bicyclist (Section 3.5)

In some instances, active beacons or traffic signals may be present to control the major street. At intersections with bicycle boulevards, it may be desirable to allow coordinated traffic signals to operate on half signal cycle lengths or to operate in “free” or uncoordinated mode during off-peak hours to reduce delays for bicyclists and provide frequent service (see Chapter 8).

Offset Intersections:

Along a bicycle boulevard, there may be discontinuities in the street grid. In order to continue, a bicyclist may be required to turn or travel for a brief distance on a roadway with higher motorist volumes and/or speeds. Without comfortable crossing treatments, offset intersection with these streets become a barrier along the corridor. In general, designers should select a bikeway for the major street based on the bikeway selection criteria identified in Figure 3-3 and follow the guidance for traffic control devices at major crossings in this section. Example connections could be a bicycle lane with two-stage turn boxes (Section 6.5.1) or a two-way separated bike lane or side path connection as shown in Figure 6-43.

Figure 6-43: Reserved for Future Use

6.5.7 Paved Shoulder Intersection Design

Designers can transition a shoulder to a bicycle lane prior to intersections and driveways, and then transition back to a paved shoulder. Figure 6-44 shows an example of introducing a bike lane at an intersection where a right turn lane is present. For instances where a dedicated right turn lane is not present, see Section 6.5.3. Designers should follow signing and striping design in Section 6.3.4 and 6.5.3. Transitioning a paved shoulder to a separated bikeway at intersections may be desirable at locations near high-speed exit and entrance ramps to highways, or along high-volume, high-speed rural arterials with long deceleration, and right turn lanes where on-street bike lanes are not a preferred treatment.

When paved shoulders are not transitioned into bicycle lanes, bicyclists crossing an intersection from the paved shoulder or merging into the adjacent travel lane to turn left, continue straight, or turn right on to a roadway without a shoulder must yield to all vehicles within the roadway. As noted previously, the yielding requirements for vehicles traveling along the paved shoulder may not be clear to all roadway users. At a minimum, a regulatory sign reinforcing Ohio state law should be posted stating “BICYCLIST ON SHOULDER MUST YIELD” when the paved shoulder is wide enough to allow for bicycle use and it is a designated bikeway, such as a state and U.S. bicycle route, or where bicyclists are expected. The paved shoulder striping should not taper towards the cross street at intersections, but it can transition to a dotted edge line where motorists are expected to use the paved shoulder to begin their turning movement. Figure 6-44 shows both of the above described conditions for typical paved shoulder designs to accommodate bicycling.

Bypass lanes at T-intersections of two-lane roadways can be incorporated, so as to facilitate the passing of motorists stopped to make left turns onto intersecting roads. Where this is done on a highway with paved shoulders, a minimum of 4ft. of shoulder pavement should be carried through the intersection along the outside of the bypass lane and designated as a bike lane. This is especially critical on roadways with higher volumes and operating speeds where bicyclists operating on the shoulder are likely to be in conflict with bypass lanes. See Figure 6-45.

Figure 6-44: Example Paved Shoulder Markings to Accommodate Bicycling

Figure 6-44

Figure 6-45: Motorist Bypass Lane with Bicycle Lane

Figure 6-45

6.5.8 Driveway and Alley Crossings

When on-street bike lanes cross driveways, the bike lane may be continued with solid white lines, if driveway volumes are low, or bicycle crossing markings may be provided at higher volume driveways. Table 6-11 identifies treatments for roadways based on motor vehicle volumes with the goal of both reinforcing right of way operations and slowing turning motorists crossing bikeways as conflicts increase. Driveway volume ranges shown in Table 6-11 should be used as a guide and may be adjusted based on land use context and roadway characteristics.

For all driveways, the design of the intersection between the driveway and a separated bike lane or side path should clearly communicate that bicyclists and pedestrians have the right of way by continuing the surface treatment of the bikeway across the driveway.

Where separated bike lanes or side paths intersect with high-volume driveways, crossings should be designed according to the protected intersection design principles (see Sections 6.5.1 and 6.5.2). At driveways where it is not possible to provide a protected intersection, or where there are other constraints or safety concerns, designers should take additional measures to increase the visibility of bicyclists to turning motorists, and to reinforce yielding behaviors. Some or all the following measures can be taken:

Table 6-11: Driveway & Alley Treatments along Roadways

Driveway Volume


Elevation Considerations

Driveway Design Considerations

<200 veh/day

Bike lane markings should be maintained across driveway. Bike Crossing Markings may be used

Bike lane may be located at any elevation

A concrete driveway apron should be used

200-500 veh/day

Bike Crossing Markings should be used. Green-colored markings are allowed

Bike lanes may be located at any elevation

A concrete driveway apron should be used

>500 veh/day

Bike Crossing Markings should be used. Green-colored markings should be considered

Bike lanes may be at any elevation, but intermediate- or sidewalk- level bike lanes should be considered

A concrete driveway apron should be used. Where separated bike lanes or sidepaths are provided, the street buffer width should be between 6 and 16.5 ft.

*Green-Colored pavement is permitted for use with Interim Approval from FHWA. (See Section 1.2.2)

  • Raised crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians should be considered to increase motorist yielding behavior. See Chapters 4 and 7.
  • Sight distances should be kept clear to ensure motorists exiting the driveway can see oncoming bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists before leaving the driveway, and that motorists entering the driveway can see bicyclists and pedestrians approaching the driveway entrance and yield appropriately. Designers must consider if motorists will be permitted to block a separated bike lane to view approaching motor vehicle traffic (see Section 3.5.2 – Case C).
  • Designers should minimize the width of driveways and consider access management strategies along separated bike lane routes to minimize the number and frequency of driveway crossings.

For corridors with on-street parking and commercial driveways spaced 100 ft. apart or less, designers should consider eliminating on-street parking between these driveways to maximize sight distances. For higher-volume commercial driveways, adjacent on-street parking must be eliminated to provide the adequate sight distance (see Section 3.5).

6.6 Overcrossings and Underpasses

As discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, grade-separated crossings may be necessary for bicyclists to cross common barriers such as freeways, arterials, and railroads. Designers should refer to Section 4.7 and 5.4 for details and design considerations.

6.7 Work Zone Bicycle Accommodations

Construction projects often disrupt the public’s mobility and access. Proper planning for bicyclists through and along work zones is as important as planning for motor vehicle traffic. The OMUTCD (6A.01) states that, "the needs and control of all road users (motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians) ... through a temporary traffic control zone shall be an essential part of highway construction, utility work, maintenance operations, and the management of traffic incidents". Bicyclists should be expected on all roads unless prohibited (e.g., limited access highways), therefore work zone treatments such as temporary lane restrictions, detours, and other traffic control measures should be designed to accommodate bicyclists.

Guidance for providing bikeways through or around work zones is discussed in the ODOT Traffic Engineering Manual and the OMUTCD. If a bicycle detour is needed, a route with similar or lower traffic stress should be provided, if feasible. ODOT’s online Level of Traffic Stress calculation tool includes pre-calculated values for level of traffic stress for the State & US Bike Route System and may be used for this detour evaluation.

Sections 670-2 of the TEM notes that “if the temporary traffic control zone affects the movement of bicyclists, adequate access to the roadway or shared use paths shall be provided.” OMUTCD Section 6G.05 addresses work affecting pedestrians and bikeways. OMUTCD Chapter 6D and Sections 6F.74 and Chapter 603 provide additional information regarding steps to follow when pedestrians and bikeways are affected by the worksite.

When feasible, designers should incorporate the following recommendations into project construction plans:

  • Maintenance of bicycle travel should be included whenever the need for temporary traffic control is being considered. Designers should determine how to maintain existing bikeways during construction and details should be provided in the MOT design portion of the project plans. Options include accommodating bicyclists through the work zone or providing a suitable alternate route with the least amount of detour necessary. It is preferable for the alternate route to direct bicyclists to a bikeway that is equal to or lower in traffic stress than the existing route.
  • Similar to other vehicular traffic, work zones should be compatible with bicycle travel. Work zone concerns for bicyclists may include road or path closures, sudden changes in elevation, construction equipment or materials, and other unexpected conditions. Providing bicyclists access through or around the work zone may result in the need for the construction of temporary facilities, including paved surfaces, structures, signs, and signals. The OMUTCD includes appropriate mode-specific detour guidelines in the section on temporary traffic controls.
  • Work zone signs, construction vehicles, and other related construction materials should not be stored or placed within bikeways or on sidewalks that are open for use. Workers who routinely perform maintenance and construction operations should be aware of these considerations.
  • For sections of separated bike lanes or shared use paths which are closed to bicyclists, advanced warning is necessary to allow bicyclists sufficient time and space to transition out of the bikeway. This may require construction of temporary curb ramps to transition bicyclists to a street or sidewalk. It is also preferable to maintain physical separation from traffic where feasible, as separated bike lanes and shared use paths often attract people who are not comfortable operating in mixed traffic.

Chapter 6 Endnotes

  1. Hess, G. and M. N. Peterson. “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety. PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 8, 2005.
  2. Teschke, K., M. A. Harris, C. C. Reynolds, M. Winters, S. Babul, M. Chipman, M. D. Cusimano, J.R. Brubacher, G. Hunte, S. M. Friedman, M. Monro, H. Shen, L. Vernich, and P. A. Cripton. Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 102, No. 12, 2012, pp. 2336-2343.
  3. Schepers, J.P., P. A. Kroeze, W. Sweers, J.C. Wüst. Road Factors and Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Crashes at Unsignalized Priority Intersections. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 43, 2011, pp. 853-861.
  4. Zangenehpour, S., J. Strauss, L.F. Miranda-Moreno, N. Saunier. Are Signalized Intersections with Cycle Tracks Safer? A Case-Control Study based on Automated Surrogate Safety Analysis using Video Data. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 86, 2016, pp. 161-172.
  5. Smith, R. L. and T. Walsh. Safety Impacts of Bicycle Lanes. In Transportation Research Record 1168. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 1988.
  6. Schepers, J.P., P. A. Kroeze, W. Sweers, and J.C. Wust. Road Factors and Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Crashes at Unsignalized Priority Intersections. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 43, 2011, pp. 853-861.
  7. Madsen, T., and H. Lahrmann. Comparison of Five Bicycle Facility Designs in Signalized Intersections Using Traffic Conflict Studies. Transport Research Part F, Vol. 46, 2017, pp. 438-450.
  8. FHWA Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Location
  9. FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations
  10. Fitzpatrick, K., S. Turner, M. Brewer, P. Carlson, B. Ullman, N. Trout, E. S. Park, J. Whitacre, N. Lalani, and D. Lord. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 562: Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings. NCHRP, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2006.