Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


Combined bus-bike lane. Photo by Toole Design Group




Shared Bus-Bike Lane

A shared bus-bike lane (or combination lane) usually refers to a lane nearest the curb that serves multiple modes of traffic or movements. Generally, such combined uses are operationally acceptable unless there is considerable bus and bike traffic. Signs might identify this lane as a priority BUS AND RIGHT TURNS ONLY EXCEPT BIKES. Another signing alternative is BICYCLES BUSES AND RIGHT TURNS ONLY. The lane would accommodate bus traffic, motor vehicles making right turns, and bicycles where it is not feasible to provide separate facilities.

These combination lanes are not without problems. Where volumes of buses and bikes are high, or buses are making frequent stops, leap frogging may occur whereby bicyclists and buses repeatedly pass one another due to different operating characteristics and speeds. This situation can result in conflicts between buses and bicyclists. Provision of combination lanes on arterial streets with on- and off-ramps creates a difficult riding situation for bicyclists.

Communities with shared bike/bus lanes include Santa Cruz, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Tucson, AZ; Seattle, WA; and Toronto, ON.


Combination lanes are an option to create on-street travel facilities for bicyclists where it is not feasible to provide a completely separate bicycle facility or lane. These lanes can still provide a safer facility for bicyclists through the separated space from higher-speed traffic lanes.


  • Provide appropriate lane width. While staying in the lane to pass is not a necessary condition for combination lanes, it may be desired to enhance safety and operations. Lanes that are 15 to 16 feet wide allow for buses and bikes to safely pass one another. In some cases, parking may be permitted in bus-bike lanes during off-peak periods. Lane widths of 14 to 15 feet allow for bicyclists to continue riding in the lane with sufficient space to avoid opening doors of parked vehicles.
  • Provide appropriate signs. BUS/BIKE ONLY symbols may be used.
  • Evaluate the amount of right-turning motor vehicles to determine if the use of a combination lane is appropriate.
  • Determine if special signs or markings are necessary for situations such as a high volume of motor vehicle right turns.

Estimated Cost

See countermeasure costs for pavement marking improvements.


To view references for this countermeasure group click here.

Case Studies