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Frequently asked questions about how bicycle lanes work for cyclists.

What are on-street bicycle routes?

On-street bicycle routes, such as bicycle lanes and shared-use roadways, are specially designed facilities to support safe and efficient bicycle transportation on roadways. The bike infrastructure that makes up these routes may include protected bike lanes, painted bike lanes and shared roadways. Bicycles are permitted on any road in Edmonton.

What is the difference between protected bike lanes, painted bike lanes, shared-use roadways?

Shared-use lanes indicate the shared use of a roadway between motorists and cyclists. Painted bike lanes are for bicycle use only, which are identified by a solid white line with a diamond symbol and bicycle. Protected bikes lanes have a physical barrier separating the bike lane from all other modes of transportation and parked cars.

What is the Downtown Bike Network?

The Downtown Bike Network is 7.8 km of protected bike lanes, shared-use paths and shared roadways helping to lower traffic within Edmonton’s core. The network reaches within two blocks of many destinations providing cycling opportunities for all ages and abilities to travel to different events, festivals and locations in Downtown.

How do I use a bike lane going against traffic on one-way streets?

Cyclists may use a contraflow bike lane to travel against vehicle traffic on a one-way street. An example of this is 83 Avenue from 99 Street to 96 Street, which is one way for vehicle traffic flowing east.

  • Cyclists riding against traffic ride in the contra flow bike lane
  • Cyclists riding in the same direction as traffic use the shared-use lane
Do I have to ride in the dedicated bicycle lane?

No. Although cyclists are encouraged to use the bike lanes, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles and therefore may ride outside the bicycle lane.

For example, a cyclist making a left hand turn, may join the flow of motor vehicle traffic and turn left from the left turn lane.

Why is the bicycle lane dashed in some instances?

Bicycle lanes are dashed to indicate to motorists that they may cross the bicycle lane for certain manoeuvres, provided they have checked and it is safe to do so.

For example, the bicycle lane is dashed before intersections, allowing the motor vehicle to move to the right to make a right turn.

Can I cross the solid white bicycle lane lines in my motor vehicle?

Motor vehicles may cross the bicycle lane when turning into accesses or driveways along the roadway, or when parking is permitted between the curb and the bicycle lane. Motorists should first check for cyclists in the bicycle lane and cross only when it is safe to do so. Motorists cannot stop, park or encroach on the bicycle lane.

What happens to bicycle lanes at bus stops?

At bus stops, the bicycle lane is dashed to indicate that the bus can pull across the bicycle lane, and to notify the cyclist that buses will be pulling over.

Cyclists are required to yield to stopped buses as any motor vehicle would be expected to. When a bus is at a bus stop, the cyclist should either wait behind the bus or legally pass it on the left by making a proper lane change. The cyclist should not pass the bus on the right as they may run into people getting on or off the bus.

Is it legal to ride my bicycle on a sidewalk?

Shared-Use Path SignCycling on the sidewalk is not permitted except for bikes with a 50 cm wheel diameter or less, such as kids’ bikes.

Some sidewalks may be designated as Shared - Use Paths. Watch for signs.

Cycling on Sidewalks Factsheet

How are laws enforced for cyclists?

All groups including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians have governing regulations. Cyclists are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles. There is enforcement in place, as well as educational programs to help users to follow the law.

Alberta Traffic Safety Act

Why has parking been reduced?

To ensure roads can accommodate motorized vehicles and bicycles, permanent parking bans will be set up in areas along the new bicycle routes where there is limited roadway width. These parking bans are required to help the operation of the bicycle lanes.

Will bicycle lanes be closed in the winter?

No. Bicycle lanes are open year round.

Winter Cycling

For More Information

Online Contact 311 Online

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555

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