Bike Lanes

A family enjoying a bike lane on Mellenbrook Road in Columbia

Bike lanes are striped ares of a street that are reserved for the exclusive use of bicycles. These allow bicyclists to travel safely along busy roads without occupying a vehicle lane. In addition, bike lanes increase the safety for bicyclists and drivers by providing separate, designated areas for people on bikes and people on cars.

They are usually at least five feet wide and marked with conspicuous bike stencils. In some areas, bike lanes are painted bright green to increase their visibility and emphasize that these lanes are only for bicycle use. Bike lanes may also include buffers to provide additional separation and safety for bicyclists and motorists. A protected bike lane has a physical barrier between the bike lane and the vehicle lane.

According to Maryland law, bicyclists may ride outside the bike lane if necessary to pass other bicyclists, avoid hazards, or to make a left turn. Therefore, motorists must still watch for bicyclists in the travel lane even if a bike lane exists on a road segment.


The buffered bike lane on Centennial Lane in Ellicott City provides greater separation from passing vehicles

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