Bicycle Facilities Explained

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Conventional Bike Lanes Sharrows Climbing Bike Lanes Buffered Bike Lanes Green Bike Lanes Separated Bike Lanes Paved Trails (Greenways) Sidepaths

The City of Raleigh’s bicycle network is made up of many different facilities for people who ride for fun, exercise, and transportation. Expand the sections below to learn more about bicycle facility types in Raleigh.

Conventional Bike Lanes

bike lane
Bike Lane

Conventional bike lanes dedicate exclusive space in the street for bicyclists. They include a solid white stripe between the general travel lane and the bike lane and are marked by a bicyclist symbol and arrow indicating the direction of travel. Conventional bike lanes are typically dashed near intersections to help bicyclists avoid collisions with right-turning motor vehicles. Drivers should look for bicyclists, especially at intersections and driveways, and then merge into the bike lane to turn right.



Shared lane markings, also known as sharrows, are markings in the street that look like a bicycle and two chevrons. Sharrows help bicyclists position themselves to be visible and to avoid parked cars while riding in the street. Sharrows also help to remind motorists to look for bicyclists. Even when sharrows aren’t present, bicyclists are legally allowed to ride in the travel lane.

Climbing Bike Lanes

Climbing bike lanes are bike lanes in the uphill direction paired with sharrows in the downhill direction. Bike lanes in the uphill direction provide space for bicyclists to ride without slowing motor vehicle traffic, while sharrows in the downhill direction remind motorists to share the lane with bicyclists.

Buffered Bike Lanes

buffered bike lane
Buffered Bike Lane

Buffered bike lanes are bike lanes that have a painted buffer between the bike lane and the general travel lane. In some cases, the painted buffer might appear between the bike lane and on-street parking to help bicyclists avoid opening car doors. Drivers should always look for bicyclists before opening car doors.

Green Bike Lanes

green bike lane
Green Lane

Green bike lanes function in the same way as conventional bike lanes. The green paint is intended to increase motorist awareness of bike lanes and bicyclists riding in them. Dashed green bike lanes indicate potential conflict zones between motor vehicle and bicycle traffic, and both motorists and bicyclists should approach these locations with caution. Where green bike lanes are dashed at intersections, drivers should merge into the bike lane to turn right after making sure the bike lane is clear.

Separated Bike Lanes

Separated bike lanes are bike lanes that are separated from general travel lanes with some kind of vertical element. There are myriad separation types, including flexible posts, curb stops, concrete curbs, planters, and even on-street parking. Separated bike lanes may be designed to accommodate one-way or two-way travel.

Paved Trails (Greenways)

Paved trails, also known as greenways, accommodate both bicycle and pedestrian travel. They are typically located away from the street near bodies of water or in parks. Bicyclists should always yield to pedestrians, call out “passing on your left” or ring a bell when passing pedestrians, and look in both directions where the trail crosses a street.


Sidepaths are paved trails that are located along the street. Sidepaths are wider than sidewalks so that bicyclists and pedestrians can travel side by side. Both bicyclists and drivers should look out for one another at driveways and intersections.

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Transportation Planning