Bicycle Infrastructure

Bicycling infrastructure includes everything that bicyclists may ride on, roll through, lock to, or zip along! Knowing what each piece is called and understanding its purpose increases our understanding of the endless possibilities that can be used to create safer biking trips that embrace smooth sailing! There are bike paths, bikeways, bike boxes, bike racks, bike corrals and so much more. We will break it all down right here!



Tired of cars whizzing by a little too closely? A Class I Bikeway, or a Bike Path, provides a completely separated right of way exclusively for you on your bike! Bike Paths are created for the exclusive use of bicycles and pedestrians with minimal motorist crossflow (according to the Streets and Highway Code Section 890.4).  What does this mean?

This means that you are physically separated from fast moving cars and traffic! Whew. On any Bike Path there are physical barriers that could include natural barriers (like rivers or mountains), parked cars, stanchions, a low curb, bollards, concrete islands or something similar to create the protected bike path and a protected cyclists. The LA River or Ballona Creek Bike Path are perfect examples of care-free, protected Class I Bikeways! Go ahead, ride with the wind in your face, not an exhaust pipe.



Do circles fit into squares? Roll into a Bike Box for the perfect fit! Green Bike Boxes are green with a white bicycle symbol inside.

Collision Avoidance! Bike Boxes are painted right before the crosswalk at an intersection (attached to a green lane) and aims to prevent collisions between bicycles and cars by increasing the visibility of a bicyclist and everyone approaching the intersection.

Right hooks are for boxing! Bike Boxes are particularly helpful in reducing collisions between cars turning right and bicyclists going straight at an intersection.  Bike Boxes help avoid the “Right Hook” collision.

See and be seen! By positioning yourself in the Bike Box in front of a car at an intersection, bicyclists are far more visible to motorists. Visibility is the key to safety!

Tips for the Green Zone!

-When the light is yellow or red, enter the bike box from the adjacent green bike lane. Stop just before the cross walk. Hang out, stay safe.

-When the light is green, carry on! Ride on through the intersection but keep an eye on motorists that may be turning right.


What does it look like? To some, sharrows may look like a little bike icon with a roof over it. Sharrows, or shared use lane markings, are painted on the pavement at regular intervals along signed bicycle routes. Sharrows look like a bicycle icon with two upside down V’s or arrows on top, in fact like a pointy roof over a bicycle icon.

What’s the point? The sharrow symbol aims to alert motorists to share the lane with bicyclists. Where the sharrow is painted in the lane guides bicyclists where to ride within the lane, depending on the width of the lane.

When shared lanes are wide enough for bicyclists and motorists to ride side by side, sharrows are painted close to the curb (see image 1).


(image 1)

When shared lanes are too narrow for this side by side dance, sharrows are painted in the center of the lane so cars know not to squeeze by (see image 2).



(image 2)

What are alternatives? Sharrows indicate shared use but bicyclists are entitled to share roadways with motorists regardless. Bicyclists often feel safer with bolder, clearer indicators, like painted bicycle lanes that give bicyclists their own space, or protected lanes (or physical barriers) that create even more separation between cars and bikes.

KNOW YOUR BICYCLE INFRASTRUCTURE: Bicycle Boulevards (and Wayfinding!)


Do you want your home property value to increase?  Do you long for the days when kids could safely play in the streets?  Are you tired of cut-through traffic in your neighborhood?  Don’t fear, Bike Boulevards are here!

What are they?

  • Bike boulevards allow all users (residents, pedestrians, bicyclists) to safely share the roadway
  • Bike boulevards are quiet, pleasant, low-volume and low-speed streets
  • Bike boulevards use traffic calming efforts to reduce and slow traffic (using traffic circles, speed bumps, for example)
  • Traffic calming involves cars slowing down to similar speeds as bicyclists
  • Bike boulevards use traffic diverters to force (cut-through) cars to turn off the street
  • Bike boulevards use special wayfinding signage and markings on the pavement

What is Wayfinding?

  • Signs identify designated bike routes and provide wayfinding information to lead users to the route or to direct users to stay on the route
  • Signage includes arrows, distance and travel times to key destinations
  • Destination labels are often large, clear and legible (to be seen from a distance)
  • Local streets include fewer businesses and services so signs indicate the direction to key destinations like commercial districts, transit hubs, schools, universities and other bikeways.
  • Wayfinding improves connectivity and flow

What are the benefits?

  • Bicycle boulevards provide a safe and comfortable space for residents, bicyclists and pedestrians to move freely and swiftly
  • Bicycle boulevards discourage cut-through and speedy motor-vehicle traffic
  • Bicycle boulevards prioritize and optimize use for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Bicycle boulevards are intended to appeal to casual or less experienced bicyclists who may be nervous riding with faster moving traffic
  • A bicycle boulevard is low-cost compared to the cost of implementing other types of infrastructure

For more info, check out this great Streetfilms video.


A highway, for bicycles?

A Bicycle Super Highway is a bicyclist’s dream come true! On this cycle highway, the cyclist’s needs come first on routes that are quick, safe and comfortable. The highway connects bicyclists with key destinations like home, work, school and public transportation. A ride on the highway is swift and efficient, often with as few stops as possible to keep you movin’ along!

How are bicyclists’ needs prioritized?

Ever gone surfing on a bike? Green waves keep bicyclists rollin’! Traffic lights usually cater to vehicle patterns and needs, but bicycle superhighways reverse that. On these highways, traffic lights are adjusted for cyclists along major roads to ensure a quick and easy flow for two-wheeled commuters. Bicyclists can easily “surf” a wave of green lights through the city during rush hour without ever putting down a foot.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Highway that almost was…!

In 1897, a commuter cycleway was partially built between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles. At the time, 6% of Angelenos were bicyclists. However, Los Angeles’ auto-centric craze quickly rolled through and the project was never completed and instead, the Arroyo Seco Parkway was built. More info here


Bicycle parking involves much more than just a lock and a pole. See different types of bicycle parking, economic benefits for businesses, and the LA Bike Parking Ordinance!

Options galore! Here are FUN FACTS for 6 types of bike parking:


Bike Corrals – On-street bike parking that is low-cost and easy to install. Bikes on the street means more space for pedestrians on the sidewalk. Bike corrals provide bike parking for 12 to 24 bicycles (otherwise used by 1-2 cars)!

Lockers – Bicycle lockers are secure, dry (for LA’s few rainy days!) and convenient. Lockers are often located by transit stops and can simplify multi-modal trips.  Lockers usually cost a fee for use.

Automated underground bicycle parking – Pioneered in Japan, an automated transporter can valet and retrieve a bike in seconds.  These underground bike parking garages can fit over 800 bicycles.  They take up little space on the street and provide protection from the elements and theft.  We want robotic bike parking!  Watch an awesome video of automated underground bicycle parking in action here.

Artistic bicycle racks


– These are functional and beautiful! Unique and aesthetic designs enhance the image of a city as livable and innovative.

Bike Oasis – Built on a curb extension with overhead roof cover for rain protection! This sleek design allows for street sweepers to easily pass by and does not require bollards or other protrusions. The structure is often paired with bicycle and pedestrian maps and visuals.

Business boom? Bicycle parking benefits businesses!

  • On street bicycle parking increases the visibility of a business from the street by 53%
  • Bicycle corrals increase foot and bike traffic by 67%
  • Bicycle parking increases transportation options for both employees and patrons
  • Bicycle parking promotes sustainability
  • Bicycle corrals and other forms of bicycle parking enhance the street and neighborhood’s identity as a livable place

Not just for businesses!

Bicycle parking is making it’s impact on housing developments!  The LA Bike Parking Ordinance encourages safe and secure parking in lieu of car parking in all types of new development. Bike parking spots can be swapped in for car parking – one car spot can be replaced by four bike parking spots.