Types of Bike Infrastructure

Drivers and cyclists, we want you to know what the different markings on the pavement mean.

1. Bike Lane

A bike lane is an exclusive lane for cyclists. Cars don’t belong there. Drivers, stay clear of the lane when the line is solid. It is okay to cross or turn when the line is dashed.

Always use caution and check for bicyclists before turning or changing lanes. Use extra caution when the lane is painted green.

Parking in a bike lane is illegal under Massachusetts state law and is punishable by a $100 fine.

2. Shared Lane (“Sharrows”)

This marker indicates that a cyclist has the same rights to the lane as cars. Drivers, share these lanes carefully with cyclists. Give cyclists 3 feet when passing and don’t follow too closely.

By law, bicyclists are allowed full use of the lane. The placement of the “sharrow” on the road indicates a reasonable space for the cyclist to ride. This is Boston and lane conditions change at any moment. This is why sharrows are sometimes closer to the center of the lane or aren’t always consistently placed within a lane. Regardless of where sharrows are placed, by law cyclists are allowed full use of the lane.

3. Bike Box

Drivers, wait behind the box when stopped and yield to bikes. Cyclists, queue ahead of cars. This allows cyclists to get an important head-start on traffic, especially when a cyclist lane change is upcoming (such as at Commonwealth Avenue and Charlesgate).

4. Cycle Tracks

These are protected (usually separated) bike lanes for cyclists. They effectively form a “bike path” on the street. Cars must drive and park next to the bike lane, not the curb.

Bicyclists ride between the parked cars and the sidewalk.

Thanks to Noonan Creative Group for their work on the print version of this information, included in the 2011 vehicle excise tax mailer.


Did you know?

If you want to start a cycling related blog or website, you can do it for free at the Boston Biker blog network.

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