Biking season is in full effect! Know the rules to share the road safely

Photo by Luca Campioni on Unsplash

The City of Minneapolis routinely gets top marks on the “Best Cities to Bike” roundups due to its many bike routes and accommodations. With the official start of summer upon us, even more bikers are hitting the streets. So, there’s no better time to refresh your understanding of the many bike markings.

Various types of bike designations

Bike Lanes are striped, signed lanes marked with a large, white bicycle stencil on the pavement. They are typically 5 feet wide. A solid line means drivers cannot cross into the bike lane except to park or pull into a driveway. A dashed line means drivers may cross while turning or to make way for an oncoming car.

Courtesy of the City of Mpls

Green bike lanes let drivers know that they may be crossing a bike lane, so they should look out for bicyclists. They also show bicyclists where they should be.

Buffered bike lanes add a little extra space for bike traffic. Bikes should avoid this area, as well as cars, except when turning onto another street after yielding to bikes first.

Shared lanes markings are designated bike routes placed in the travel lane that encourage bicyclists to ride in a safe position outside of the door zone (where driver’s side doors of parked cars open).

Protected pathway markings offer bikers a space that is protected from motor vehicle traffic, curbs, parked cars, planters, posts or other barriers.

Bike boulevards are found on lower-volume, lower-speed streets that have been optimized for bike traffic. The purpose of a BLVD is to provide bicyclists, especially those who are not comfortable riding on busy streets, a safer and more relaxing place to ride. Motor vehicles are permitted on almost all portions of bike boulevards, unless signs or pavement markings indicate otherwise.

Advisory bike lanes are usually found on quieter streets that are too narrow to handle driving lanes, parking, and ordinary bike lanes. Advisory lanes are marked with a solid white line on the right (next to parked cars) and a dotted line to the left. These markings give bicyclists a space to ride but are also available to motorists if space is needed to pass oncoming traffic.

There is no law which requires bicyclists to use bike lanes, but using them makes it easier for bicycles and motor vehicles to share the road by providing separate lanes of travel. Bike lanes also allow bicyclists to safely pass motor vehicles during periods of heavy traffic.

For more details on bike lanes and safety, visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles.

 —Info and graphics provided by the City of Minneapolis