Protected Bike Lanes

A protected bike lane combines the user experience of a multi-use trail with a conventional bike lane. They have different forms, but all share common elements — they provide space that is used for bicycles and are separated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes, and sidewalks. Read a report on the ways protected bike lanes are supporting economic growth in cities where they are being built.

Instructions on How to Use Protected Bike Lanes

Currently, Seattle is constructing two-way protected bike lanes on one side of the street. This may vary as new facilities are added. Whether you’re riding a bike, driving, or walking, here’s how to use them:

Person using Protected bike lane

Riding a bike

  • Yield to pedestrians and wheelchair users who may be crossing the road and protected bike lane and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
  • Watch for turning vehicles when approaching intersections, driveways and alleys.
  • Be alert for passing bicyclists within the bike lane and for pedestrians crossing the bike lane to access parked motor vehicles.
  • Be aware that the bike lane may weave as it approaches intersections to make bicyclists more visible to motorists.
  • Stay to the right and allow faster users to pass safely.


  • Watch and listen for protected bike lane users traveling from either direction just as you would when crossing a street.
  • Cross-protected bike lane at crosswalks.
  • Be alert for nearby cyclists when crossing a protected bike lane to access a parked vehicle.

Using a wheelchair

  • Travelers in wheelchairs are allowed to use bicycle lanes and public roads that have speed limits below 35 miles per hour. Individuals determine what is most comfortable and must follow the same rules as other protected bike lane users.


  • Park in the marked lane between the travel lane and the bike lane in instances where on-street parking is available.
  • Take extra caution and look both ways before turning across the bike lane at intersections, driveways and alleys, especially when the barrier protected bike lane is protected by on-street parking.
  • Watch for people on bikes traveling in both directions in two-way protected bike lanes.
  • Remember through bicyclists have the right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections, driveways and alleys.
  • Don’t drive in a protected bike lane. You can turn across a protected bike lane, but must yield to people riding bicycles.

Gif showing how to park with a PBL

Local, National and International Bicycle Design Guidelines

The Seattle Bicycle Master Plan guides the development of a citywide bicycling network, programs to encourage more bike riding, and activities and tools to measure our progress. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide is also a primary source for Seattle’s new bike designs. This document was created out of an extensive worldwide literature search from design guidelines and real-life experience; as well as the input of a panel of urban bikeway planning professionals from NACTO member cities, traffic engineers, planners, and academics.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.