Types of Bikeways

Types of Bikeways

There is no one-size-fits-all design for Chicago’s bikeways. Each segment of the bike network is planned and designed with consideration for neighborhood context, surrounding land use, connectivity to other bikeways, and access across large barriers like expressways and arterial streets.

Corridors with higher motor vehicle traffic need separate spaces for people to bike comfortably. Quieter side streets can be made into neighborhood greenways by calming motor vehicle traffic with speedhumps and curb extensions. The different types of bikeways in Chicago are described here.

Protected Bike Lanes

Dedicated space for people biking that is physically separated from vehicles on higher traffic streets. Lane separation can be created with concrete barriers, plastic curbs and bollards, and by shifting parking lanes further from the curb.

Person riding bike towards viewer in curbside bike lane with concrete curbs separating bike lane from vehicle travel lane.

North Broadway Avenue

Adult and two children riding a cargo bike on a bike lane painted green, separated from the vehicle travel lane by a low concrete barrier and plastic bollards

West Roscoe Street

Person riding towards viewer on a blue Divvy bike in a bi-directional protected bike lane with concrete separating them from the vehicle travel lane

North Clinton Street

Neighborhood Greenways

With a few simple upgrades, residential streets can become low-stress alternatives to arterial roadways. Priority for cyclists is created with traffic calming for motor vehicles, enhanced signage, special pavement markings, and sometimes facilitating two-way bike travel on one-way side streets.

Adult and three children riding a cargo bike with a neighborhood traffic circle in the  background

Glenwood Greenway

Raised crosswalk  with an adult pushing a stroller approaching

School Greenway

Street with green painted bike lane and bike symbol leading up to signalized intersection

Wood Greenway

Off-Street Trails and Bridges

Off-street trails are car-free spaces for walking and biking. Chicago has over 50 miles off-street trails including the Major Taylor Trail, the 606, and the famous Chicago Lakefront Trail.  

Line of people biking away from viewer on a trail with trees and flowers surrounding

North Shore Channel Trail

Person biking towards viewer on elevated trailand person walking with stroller away from viewer with trees surrounding

The Bloomingdale Trail at the 606

Person biking on Lakefront trail away from viewer with Lake Michigan visible in background.

Lakefront Trail

Bike Lanes

Dedicated on-street spaces for cyclists demarcated with signs, striping and pavement markings.

Four people riding in bike lane away from viewer on street lined with parked cars and houses

West 18th Street

Person biking away from viewer in bike lane on street lined with cars and trees

North Winthrop Avenue

Person biking towards viewer in dashed bike lane with a line of cars nearby in the vehicle travel lane

North Clark Street

Buffered Bike Lanes

On-street bike lanes flanked with additional space to give cyclists more clearance from the door zone and moving traffic.

Person biking in green bike lane with building in background

North Milwaukee Avenue

Person biking towards viewer in bike lane with CTA bus in vehicle travel lane

West Division Street

Person biking towards viewer in a bike lane that is buffered with wide striped areas creating more space between the parking lane and the travel lane

South Halsted Street

Contraflow Bike Lanes

Contraflow bike lanes are designed to allow bicyclists to travel against the flow of motor vehicle traffic on one-way streets. Signs and signals alert drivers to contraflow bicyclists at intersections. This practice creates more direct, low stress connections in neighborhoods.

Person with biking away from viewer on a neighborhood street with a dashed yellow line separating the contraflow lane from other traffic.

West Ardmore Avenue

Person biking towards viewer with in a bike lane with a double dashed yellow line separating the cyclist from oncoming vehicle traffic.

West Berwyn Avenue

Family biking in a marked contraflow bike lane on a residential one way street. Signs say, do not enter except bikes.

North Glenwood Avenue

Marked Shared Lanes and Advisory Lanes

Marked shared lanes and advisory bike lanes can be found on narrower streets where dedicating space for cycling is more of a challenge. Pavement markings and signs emphasize the presence of cyclists and their right to use the full travel lane. Drivers must yield to cyclists when pulling over to park, pass with care, and slow to accommodate oncoming cars and bikes in the shared space.

Street with bike symbol markings on the roadway

West Pratt Avenue

Person biking on road in advisory bike lane with dashed lines and cars in background

West Erie Street

Person biking away from viewer behind CTA bus

West Chicago Avenue