Colored Bike Facilities

Description

Colored pavement within a bicycle lane increases the visibility of the facility, identifies potential areas of conflict, and reinforces priority to bicyclists in conflict areas and in areas with pressure for illegal parking. Colored pavement can be utilized either as a corridor treatment along the length of a bike lane or cycle track, or as a spot treatment, such as a bike box, conflict area, or intersection crossing marking. Color can be applied along the entire length of bike lane or cycle track to increase the overall visibility of the facility. Consistent application of color across a bikeway corridor is important to promote clear understanding for all users.

Click on the images below to view 3D concepts of colored bicycle lanes. The configurations shown are based on San Francisco, CA, Portland, OR, and New York City examples.


Treatment details can be accessed below under design guidance.

Colored Bike Facility Benefits

Typical Applications

  • Within bike lanes or cycle tracks.
  • Across turning conflict areas such as vehicle right turn lanes.
  • Across intersections, particularly through wide or complex intersections where the bicycle path may be unclear.
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  • Across driveways and Stop or Yield-controlled cross-streets.
  • Where typical vehicle movements frequently encroach into bicycle space, such as across ramp-style exits and entries where the prevailing speed of turning traffic at the conflict point is low enough that motorist yielding behavior can be expected.
  • Color may be applied along an entire corridor, with gaps in coloring to denote crossing areas.
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  • Facility designers should match coloring strategy to desired design outcomes of projects.
  • May not be applicable for crossings in which bicycles are expected to yield right of way, such as when the street with the bicycle route has Stop or Yield control at an intersection.

Design Guidance


Guidance for conventional bicycle lanes, intersection crossing markings, and through bike lanes may also apply.

Required Features
The color green shall be used to minimize confusion with other standard traffic control markings.
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Color shall be applied to the road surface to delineate space, increase visibility, and emphasize proper vehicle priority.
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Normal white bike lane lines shall be provided along the edges of the colored lane to provide consistency with other facilities and to enhance nighttime visibility.
Recommended Features
The colored surface should be skid resistant and retro-reflective.
A “Yield to Bikes” sign should be used at intersections or driveway crossings to reinforce that bicyclists have the right-of-way at colored bike lane areas.
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The configuration of color should be consistently applied throughout the corridor.
Optional Features
Color may be applied within conflict areas for increased visibility of bicyclists.
Color may be applied along a dashed pattern within a dashed bicycle lane to indicate merging areas. Dashed application of colored pavement mimics typical traffic striping layouts, where dashed markings indicate areas where merging maneuvers are permitted.
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Color may be applied along a corridor, with gaps in coloring to denote crossing areas. When used in this fashion, color can distinguish the bicycle facility along its entire length. This is particularly useful in high traffic situations or areas where traffic may encroach into the bike facility.
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Color may be used to supplement shared lane markings for added visibility.
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Maintenance

  • Colored pavement requires varying levels of maintenance depending on materials.
  • Because the effectiveness of markings depends entirely on their visibility, maintaining markings should be a high priority.
  • Colored facilities should be maintained to be free of potholes, broken glass, and other debris.

Treatment Adoption and Professional Consensus

Application of colored pavement is seen in the following US cities:

  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbia, MO
  • Eugene, OR
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Missoula, MT
  • New York, NY
  • Portland, OR
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC

Click to see the complete reference material for this treatment.

Reference Publications