Advisory bike lanes provide preferred but not exclusive operating space for people to bike along two-way roadways. Unlike standard bike lanes, advisory lanes allow cars to merge into the bike lane area when approaching an oncoming vehicle and when people biking are not present.
Advisory bike lanes are considered an experimental treatment by the FHWA and may only be implemented through the Request to Experiment (RTE) process.
Designers should consider these factors when determining if an advisory bike lane is appropriate in an individual context:
- Advisory bike lanes should only be considered in retrofit street projects where there is not enough space to install bike lanes and a neighborhood greenway is unsuitable or not preferred. Advisory bike lanes require less space than traditional bike lanes as a result of the shared center travel area and ability for vehicles to merge into the bike lanes when bikes are absent.
- Advisory bike lanes are only suitable for roadways with low to moderate volumes and speed (25 MPH or lower).
- Advisory bike lanes are unlikely to function well if parking is retained and parking utilization is low.
Advisory bike lane dimensions graphic
- Advisory bike lanes should be striped with a solid white line when adjacent to a parking lane and dashed white line on the side adjacent to the travel lane, indicating that vehicles may carefully merge into the bike lane when necessary when bicycles are absent.
- Advisory bike lanes are installed without a centerline in the vehicular travel area.
- The advisory bike lanes should be 5’-6’ wide.
- The vehicular travel area between advisory bike lanes should be 14’-19’.
See also bikeway intersection design guidance.