Bike Lanes: What Do They Look Like

Conventional Bike Lanes

Conventional bike lanes are dedicated on-street facilities for cyclists and micro-mobility users. These lanes are adjacent to the vehicle travel lanes and are marked with solid white stripes. Cyclists travel in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. Conventional bike lanes are typically placed to the right of motor vehicle traffic, between the vehicle travel lane and the curb (or parking), but occasionally may be placed on the left side of the road on a one-way street.

Worcester Street with Brick-Lined Buildings and Shared Bike Lane in Forefront
Empty Worcester Street Heading Up Hill with Shared Bike Lane on Right Lane


Cyclists and micro-mobility users are permitted to use any roadway except limited access highways. Shared lane markings, commonly called sharrows, are reminders to motorists that bicyclists are allowed to use the full travel lane just like motor vehicle traffic. The markings for a sharrow include a bicycle and two chevrons above the bicycle. Under Massachusetts law, drivers must wait until it is clear to pass a cyclist and provide a safe passing distance of at least 4 feet.

Road with Marking of Bicycle and Two Chevrons Painted in White
Busy City Street with Sharrow Indicator Painted on Right Side of Road

Buffered Bike Lanes

Buffered bike lanes are bike lanes with a painted buffer between the bike lane and the vehicle travel lane. Buffers are typically marked with two white lines and diagonal or chevron markings between the two lines.

Example of City Street with Bike Lane at Right from Traffic's Perspective
Looking Up a Street with Two Cars Coming in Opposite Direction and Bike Lane at Right

Parking Protected Bike Lanes

Parking protected bike lanes are similar to buffered bike lanes, except they are separated from motor vehicle travel lanes with a parking lane. In these cases, the buffer is created between the parking space and the bike lane. It sometimes includes bollards or planters to add extra separation between the parking lane and the bike lane.

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Protected Bike Lanes

These bike lanes are typically separated, or protected, from motor vehicle travel lanes with physical elements such as bollards, planters, concrete curbs, etc. and from pedestrians on the sidewalk. These facilities can be designed for one-way or two-way travel, depending on the right of way width.

Shared Use Paths

Shared Use Paths are sidewalk-level biking facilities that are shared with pedestrians. These facilities are adjacent to vehicle travel lanes, without placing cyclists and micro-mobility users directly on the street. Shared Use Paths may also be bidirectional, allowing cyclists to travel in both directions. Cyclists using shared used paths must remain alert to pedestrians and other cyclists.

City Street at Left with Sidewalk/Bike Lane and Pavement Parkings on Right
Looking Up a Street from an Intersection with Sidewalk/Shared Bike Lane and Guard Rails on Left

Contact Information

Transportation & Mobility
76 East Worcester Street
Worcester, MA 01604

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Fax: 508-453-2888
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Phone: 311
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