What are bikeways

Bike Lane

A lane is a bikeway that includes a portion of the roadway has been designated by striping, signing and pavement markings the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists.


Note the bicycle symbol, the arrow above, and the solid white line to the left and right of the lane.

Marked Shared Lane

A marked shared lane is a bikeway composed of a lane on a shared roadway which has been designated by pavement markings and signing as a preferred route for bicycle use. In Chicago, marked shared lanes are indicated by bike and chevron pavement markings and yellow, diamond warning signs which read, "Shared Lane Yield To Bikes."

Image of Marked Shared Lane

Note the bicycle symbol with chevron symbol above, and the solid white line to the right of the lane, but not the left.

Signed Route

Chicago has installed more than 170 signs to  identify good streets for bicyclists to travel on throughout the city.

This signage provides direction, destination, and distance information to the user, and can be installed on streets with or without bike lanes.

  • Destination to regional landmarks along the signed route.
  • Direction at an intersection decision point, arrow tells you which direction you need to go to get to the destination.
  • Distance of how far the destination is from where you are.

Image of Signed Shared Roadway

In the top sign, Burnham Path is the destination, the arrow is pointing in the direction of the destination (left), and the distance is 3/4 mile. These signs also alert motorists to the possibility of cyclists in the roadway.

Shared Street

Most streets in Chicago that do not include specific bicycle facilities like bike lanes or marked shared lanes are considered "unmarked shared roadways." Such roadways are open to both bicycle and motor vehicle travel, but do not include special pavement markings for bicycles. Under Illinois law, bicyclists are not intended users of shared streets.

Image of Unmarked Shared Roadway

Note the absence of any symbols or striping. This is not a bikeway, but like all streets in Chicago, bicyclists and motor vehicles share the lane.

Off-street Trails

Offstreet paths, or multi-use trails, are paved paths separated from the road for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and in-line skaters (e.g. the Lakefront Trail).

Burnham Park work field trip

The path is divided into two lanes; users ride to the right, as on roadways. Note that such paths are intended to be multi-use, which means pedestrians, inline skaters, and runners/joggers can also be expected to use these paths.

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