Two-Way Bike Lane

Usage: Limited

A bike lane that accommodates cyclists traveling in both directions, and is typically separated from vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier. Physical separation of two-way bike lanes is often preferable on wide or busy streets, on major bike routes, or along long, uninterrupted stretches. However, two-way bike lanes may also exist without physical separation on streets with low traffic volumes, low operating speeds, or low risk of conflict.

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S 5th Street, Brooklyn
Clinton Street, Manhattan


See benefits of Protected Bike Lane

  • A single buffer can protect both directions, thereby requiring less street width than a pair of protected bike lanes
  • Enhances bike network connectivity on one-way streets
  • When located adjacent to parks or public space, improves access to and circulation around the those locations
  • Allows for greater passing width for cyclists traveling at different speeds


  • Design consideration must be given to pedestrians with vision or ambulatory disabilities; emergency-vehicle and paratransit access to adjacent buildings; snow-clearing and street-sweeping needs; commercial vehicles loading and unloading; bicycling visibility at intersections; and establishment of right of way
  • Additional traffic control devices may be necessary for cyclists riding against the traffic direction in the adjacent vehicular lane


  • Where a conventional bike lane is appropriate and the street is an important bike network connection, or is along a park, waterfront, or other open space where cross streets are infrequent
  • Consider wherever a Conventional Bike Lane is appropriate


  • Two-way bike lanes require 4 feet of width in each direction (or 8 feet total) and an additional 2 feet when protected by a concrete barrier, or a 3-foot buffer in a parking-protected configuration to safely accommodate opening vehicle doors
  • A two-way bike lane can be protected using a single section of buffer or reflective vertical elements (e.g.,flexible delineator, Jersey barrier, or concrete median),
  • Care must be given to the design of bike lanes at intersections and driveways to maintain visibility of the cyclist to motorists and to reduce the risk of turning conflicts with motor vehicles
  • Special provisions for turns or turn bans may be required
  • In some circumstances (e.g., long stretches along open space or waterfront) with low-volumes, two-way bike lanes can be designed for shared use by cyclists, pedestrians, skaters, pedestrians using mobility devices, and other non-motorized users (a “shared-use” facility) rather than as a separate bike lane and sidewalk
  • If designed as a shared-use facility, provide adequate space for anticipated volumes of low-speed users (pedestrians) and higher-speed users (cyclists) to provide safe and comfortable accommodation of both and minimize conflicts
  • Design raised medians that separate bike lanes according to the Raised Median section
  • At intersections with complex traffic patterns — or when bike lanes are located immediately adjacent to the curb — bike lanes can be given visual emphasis through the application of green-colored pavement


Bike lane table

Bike Lane table [PDF]

See the Bike Lane table [PDF] for a listing of typical bikeway designs and their respective spatial requirements, ideal applications, and advantages and disadvantages.


​​Bikers in a two-way bike lane

Chrystie Street, Manhattan