City Services - Bike Lanes

Bike Lane FAQ's


What is a Bike Lane?

It is a 1.2 - 2.0 metre wide striped lane, marked with a large white bicycle on the pavement. On some streets, bike lanes appear along the left side of parked cars. On streets without parking, bike lanes run along the curb. Motor vehicles are not allowed to drive, park or idle in the bike lane but are permitted to cross the lane in order to park and pull in and out of driveways. Motorists turning right must yield to cyclists in the bike lane.

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Why Do We Have Bike Lanes?

Bike lanes make most people feel safer about cycling on city streets. Bike lanes create order, minimize weaving and thereby make the streets safer for both cyclists and motorists.

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How Do I Ride in a Bike Lane?

  • Obey the rules of the road. Check out the RoadSense for Drivers manual by ICBC to refresh your memory.
  • Keep one meter of space to either side of yourself when riding. This allows you to get around unexpected obstacles and hazards.
  • See and be seen. Position yourself where drivers can see you and where you can see what's happening around you. Avoid riding in vehicle blind spots, wear bright or reflective clothing, and use lights at night.
  • Use hand signals. Indicate your intentions to other cyclists and motorists with the universal hand signals.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic. As indicated by the painted bicycle on the road surface, a bike lane is one direction only and riding against the designated direction is unsafe.

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What Do I Do When the Bike Lane Ends?

Try to move in the straightest line possible to where you’ll ride on the other side of the intersection. Do not veer into the right-turn lane. If you stay away from the curb, motorists can see you better.

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How Do I Turn Left?

Never make a direct left turn from a bike lane. Shoulder check, signal, exit the bike lane and then move toward the centre of the left lane before turning left.

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What Should I Do When I Pass on the Right?

When passing on the right, only do so very slowly and where a car could not possibly turn right. You may be in a motorist’s blind spot, a car door could open or a pedestrian could be jaywalking between the cars. Never pass a long truck or bus on the right side.

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What Do I Do if a Car is Parked in the Bike Lane?

  • Check behind you to make sure you can safely move out into traffic. Signal and shoulder check behind you again.
  • When there is enough room to pass, pass far enough away from the car that you cannot be hit by the opening of the car door.
  • Once you pass the car, move back into the lane.

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Must Cyclists Ride in the Bike Lane?

No. Cyclists can use the adjacent travel lanes if they’re moving at the speed of traffic. Cyclists also use adjacent lanes to pass another vehicle or to prepare for a turn. Always travel in the same direction as traffic.

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Where Can I Find more Cycling Resources

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