Bike lanes and bike routes support cycling as a form of alternate transportation. Understanding the differences and signage associated with each is important to their success. Bike routes are identified by signage only, while bike lanes feature signage, as well as lines and symbols painted on the street. Depending on the street, parking may or may not be permitted in bike lanes.
Bike routes are designated by signage only along a street; watch for the “Bicycle Route” and “Share the Road” signs. Such routes are typically installed along arterial and major collector streets, which have high traffic volumes or where the existing cross section cannot accommodate bike lanes. There are also bike routes on residential streets where the road is too narrow to allow for a bike lane.
Bike lanes are located on the travelled portion of the street or roadway that is designed for one-way cyclist traffic. Bike lanes are defined on the road through pavement markings and signage. White lines help to delineate the location of the bike lane. The outline of a bicycle painted within the lane further identifies the space as a bike lane.
The diamond in the lane means that the lane is reserved for bicycles only. Vehicle parking is not permitted. No parking signs are also posted along these stretches of bike lanes. No diamond painted in the lane means that vehicle parking is permitted and cyclists should expect parked cars. Bike lane dimensions and signage are based on Transportation Association of Canada standards, allowing for consistency across the country.
Since restricting parking on both sides of residential streets is not practical, having bike lanes where parking is prohibited and others where parking is allowed is a good compromise for neighbourhoods. When encountering a parked car, cyclists must be cautious and remember the rules of the road.
In addition to the bike routes and bike lanes, cyclists will continue to travel along all city streets. Motorists and cyclists are reminded to be on the lookout for each other and for pedestrians as per the Motor Vehicle Act. Obey the rules of road and share the road safely.
For more on the bike routes and bike lanes, click on the various links under RELATED CONTENT.