How to Use Seattle Bike Lanes

Seattle is creating an all ages and abilities citywide bike network. A network that meets the needs of our neighborhoods, businesses and helps make our streets safer for everyone. As a result, you may see new bike facilities on the street and wonder how to use them. The following graphics will help you understand.

What is a sharrow?

Example of a sharrow

Shared lane markings or "sharrows" guide bicyclists to the best place on the street to ride and help motorists expect to see and share the lane with bicyclists.

What is a bike box?

Example of a bike box

It's a painted green space on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside.

The bikebox creates a space before the intersection so that people on bikes can cross the intersection ahead of traffic. This makes bikes more visible and predictable to approaching drivers.

What is a two stage left turn box?

Example of a two stage left turn box

A two stage left turn box offers bicyclists a safer way to turn at multi-lane signalized intersections and helps create predictability for drivers.

A green bike box designates a space in front of cars where a bicyclist can wait during a red light. Bicyclists can also make a left turn from the driving lane.

How to Use Left Turn Box

What is a bike detector?

Example of a bike detector

Bike detectors tell the traffic signal when a person on a bike is waiting for the light to turn green. Markings indicate where to position your wheels on the pavement in order to change the signal.

Place your bicycle on the bike detector symbol to trigger the green light.

Can I ride my bike on the sidewalk?

In Seattle it's legal to ride on the sidewalk but please do so slowly and you must yield to pedestrians. Watch for cars turning at driveways and intersections because people driving may not expect bikes on the sidewalk.

Can I park in the bike lane?

Do not park in bike lanes

Stopping in a bike lane, even for just a little bit, can be very dangerous for someone on a bike. Always be sure to stop or park your car in designated parking or loading space and never stop in or block the bike lane.

What does the green mean?

Example of green pavement

Green pavement highlights areas where bicycles and cars cross paths. The green pavement alerts both drivers and bicyclists to pay extra attention.


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.