Skip to content
3.4 Bikeways

3.4M Contraflow bike lanes

Search Content

Print Guide


Contraflow bike lanes accommodate bicycle travel in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic, allowing for two-way accessibility for bicycles on one-way streets.


This treatment is best suited for low-speed, low volume roadways, unless physical protection is provided between the bikeway and adjacent travel lane. Contraflow bike lanes should be considered on corridors where there are few alternate routes that provide similarly convenient travel for people biking, narrow one-way neighborhood greenway streets, and on streets where existing contraflow riding is regularly observed.

Figure 3.4M.1:
Contraflow bike lane dimensions graphic

3.4U Contraflow Bike Lane Graphic.jpg


Contra-Flow Bike Lanes on 5th St SE

Design Considerations


  1. Contraflow bike lanes are typically separated from adjacent travel lanes by solid double yellow lines throughout the full block.
    • On low volume Urban Neighborhood streets, contra-flow bicycle travel may also be implemented with signage and no striping, or with solid double yellow lines only at the beginnings of a block that does not continue mid-block. Contraflow facility design without contiguous striping should be closely coordinated with Traffic and Parking Services. 
  2. Green conflict zone markings maybe considered at intersections to alert motorized traffic to contraflow bike movements.

Conditions for physical protection

Contra-flow bike lanes should be physically protected when adjacent to streets with a posted speed limit above 25mph or high traffic volumes. See protected bike lane guidance for more details. 


An “EXCEPT BIKES” plaque are typically posted beneath “DO NOT ENTER” signs (R5-1) or turn prohibition signs, if present, to permit two-way traffic use by bicycles at all street intersections.


When a parking lane is located on the same side of the street as a contraflow bike lane, the parking lanes should be located between the bike lane and travel lane (sometimes referred to as “floating” parking). Floating parking should always be implemented with vertical delineation as a component of a protected bikeway.