Do bicyclists have to ride in the bike lane? No. bicyclists can use the adjacent travel lanes if they are moving at the speed of traffic. Bicyclists can also use adjacent lanes to pass another vehicle or prepare for a turn.
In a bike lane, people on bikes don't have to think about cars, right? Wrong. When the bike lane stripe turns into a dotted line, it means motorists can cross the lane to make turns. Bike riders should hold their position in the lane, but be ready to slow down for motorists who don't yield.
What's a bike lane? A bike lane is a five- to six-foot wide striped lane, marked with a large white bicycle on the pavement, and restricted to bicycle travel. On most streets, bike lanes appear left of parked cars. On streets without parking, bike lanes appear along the curb. See "What are bikeways."
Where in the bike lane should people ride? Bicyclists should usually ride in the middle. But in a bike lane next to a line of parked cars, bicyclists should ride on the left side of the lane. That way, an opening car door won't hit them.
Why have bike lanes? Bike lanes make the average person feel safer about biking on city streets. Bike lanes also cut down on weaving, making streets safer for everyone.
Why not put bike lanes on all major streets? Among other factors, not all streets are wide enough. Bicycle facility selection requires an understanding of the street condition; bicycle usage, volumes, speeds and routes; and automobile volumes and speeds (if present). Please refer to the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 for more information on our facilities guide.
Read more about laws regarding bicycling on the Chicago Complete Streets Website