6. Suggestion Lanes (Advisory Lanes) and Shared Bicycle Lanes

    Written by Peter Ellison and William Gray (2011)

    Updated by Ayan Majmudar, Andrew Raffo, and Bea van den Heuvel (2012)

    Many two-way roads are too narrow to simultaneously allow two lanes of traffic to travel and also allow two bicycles to travel. The solution in the Netherlands has been to install shared bicycle lanes on these roads called advisory lanes. Advisory lanes are created in areas where separate cycle tracks cannot be made, whether from spatial or government restrictions. The basic set up for advisory lanes is a road for motorized vehicles sandwiched between two bicycle lanes with dashed lines. Advisory lanes do not have any centerlines and therefore leaves passing and decision making up to the cyclists and vehicle operators. These lanes ensure the best use of the entire width of the road by directing cars down the center of the road and allowing lanes of bicycles to pass on either side. When two cars traveling in opposing directions meet, they yield to passing bicyclists and then utilize the shared bicycle lanes to perform their pass. In the Netherlands, roads with shared bicycle lanes are usually collector roads that collect the traffic from small local roads and direct it to a main road. They normally do not have a centerline and mainly have low to moderate volume traffic traveling at speeds of 30 - 50 km/hr in urban areas and up to 60 km/hr in rural areas. These lanes make safe bike and vehicle travel possible on narrow roads.

    Typical Shared Bicycle Lanes - A. Pauwstraat in Delf

    (A, Pauwstraat Map)

    Markings Used to Designate Shared Bicycle Lanes

    Do They Work?

    The Netherlands mainly utilizes shared bicycle lanes on narrow urban and rural collector roads with low to moderate traffic to allow roads to remain two-way and still provide bicycles with a safe lane of travel. Cars respect the shared bicycle lane in the same manner as an unshared bicycle lane and when attempting to pass one another give priority to any traveling bicycles and yield before completing their pass. The consistent speed of bicycle travel in the shared bicycle lane means that cars passing each other do not have to wait very long at all when yielding to a bicycle before entering the shared lane. The existence of these lanes creates a sort of etiquette on the road where both the car driver and bicyclist knows where each should be and how to efficiently share the road should an instance of passing occur. Also, these lanes cause an expectation to be created where car drivers are aware that bicycles may be traveling in this nearby marked lane.

    Bicycle and Car traveling in advised areas on the S. V. D. Oyeweg in Pijnacker.

    (S. V. D. Oyeweg Map)

    Car yielding to traveling bicycles by utilizing shared bicycle lane on the Westplantsoen in Delft.

    (Westplantsoen Map)

    Car shows recognition of bicycles by moving over into shared bicycle lane on the Molenweg in Nootdorp.

    (Molenweg Map)

    Cars utilizing full road width to pass on the Zuideindseweg in Delgauw.

    (Zuidendseweg Map)

    Size Classification of Advisory Lanes

    The functionality of advisory lanes depends on its dimensions. It is possible to classify advisory lanes into several categories based on vehicle operator mannerisms during various situations. Some advisory lanes can accomodate a cyclist and a car, while larger advisory lanes can accomodate two cars and a cyclist. See below for a variety of different situations.

    Below are the advised widths of road to support the following configurations. The purpose of an advisory lane is to utilize the road space efficiently, therefore the total width available is less than a road providing adequate space for each travel lane. The numbers provide a theoretical minimum width, however, in practice these can vary greatly. It might be necessary to have slightly wider roads to accommodate the configurations due to existing road infrastructure, traffic calming measures, community influence, funding, and more.

    Dutch Minimum Width using adjusted CROW values

    Dutch Width According
    to CROW manual

    US Minimum Width


    5.15 m; 16' 11''

    6.45 m; 21' 2''

    5.18 m; 17''


    5.8 m; 19'

    6.15 m; 20' 2''

    6.71 m; 22''


    7.5 m; 24' 7''

    7.3 m; 23' 11''

    7.92 m; 26''


    8.54 m; 28''

    9 m; 29' 6''

    8.54 m; 28''

    *An advisory lane is not necessary for this application; a road this wide should have designated cycle lanes/paths.

    These values were calculated using the base values in the table below. The Dutch CROW manual suggests values that are not completely proportional or realistic (especially in the United States); for example, the buffer between two cars is less than one foot, but yet the buffer between a bicycle and a car has been advised to be 2' 9''. To account for this, the Dutch CROW manual values were adjusted.

    Bike Bike-Car Buffer Car Car-Car Buffer Car Bike-Car Buffer Bike
    Dutch CROW (m) 1.5 0.85 1.75 0.3 1.75 0.85 1.5
    adj Dutch (m) 1.2 0.5 1.75 0.6 1.75 0.5 1.2

    Four Dutch roads with advisory lanes were observed to study the relationship between the width of a road and its capacity. The study showed that advisory lanes were typically larger than the theoretical dimensions.

    Click here to read more about the study of the size classification of advisory lanes.

    Application in the United States

    Advisory lanes have been proven to be effective and the application of this bicycle facility can be transferred to roads in the United States. It is important to note that the observations above apply to specific situations near Delft, The Netherlands. Further research needs to be completed for United States applicability. The average truck/bus size has been assumed to be 2.6 meters in the United States and the Netherlands. However, there is a difference when it comes to personal vehicles. For example, the average size of a car in the Netherlands is 1.75 m wide, but in the United States, a large SUV is about 2 m in width, and the most popular car is 1.82 m wide (Toyota Camry). These variances in dimensions will affect the feasibility of implementation.

    It is possible to retrofit existing roads into roads with advisory lanes to allow for bicycle priority. Oostplantsoen Straat, Delft, The Netherlands is an example of a road that was converted into an advisory road. Its dimensions are as follows:

    Location: Oostplantsoen Straat
    Bike Lane 1 Bike Lane 2 Roadway
    0.99 m 1.17 m 3.43 m

    While not ideal, this road was redesigned to be effectively used as an advisory road. Its maximum configuration fit one bicycle and one car; with the car taking priority over the car. The city of Minneapolis, MN in the United States has been developing advisory lanes.

    Example of Shared Bicycle Lane Use in the United States

    Though not common yet in the United States, the city of Minneapolis, MN has recently begun to explore the usage of shared bicycle lanes (termed by them as "Advisory Lanes") by installing 6 foot shared bicycle lanes on E. 14th Street (Map) which is too narrow to fit both two-way car traffic and bicycle traffic.

    The map above details the placement of two 6 foot shared bicycle lanes alongside an 14 foot driving width and 7 foot parking spaces.
    For additional information see the City of Minneapolis Request to Experiment attached below.

    Download file "Minneapolis Request to Experiment 2010.pdf"

    More Urban Photos

    More Rural Photos




    1. What kind of bicycle route facilities are there, and how much of each kind is there?

    2. One-Way Cycletracks and Refuge Cycletracks

    3. Two-Way Cycletracks

    4. Bike Lanes, Introductory Bike Lanes, Pocket Lanes, and Bike Boxes

    5. Bike Boulevards

    6. Shared Bicycle Lanes

    7. Service Roads

    8. Bicycles at Roundabouts

    9. Raised Crossings

    10. Bicycle Wayfinding (Signposting)

    11. Signalized Intersection Practices for Bikes

    12. Cycletracks and Bike Lanes – Special Features


    /groups/nl2011transpo/search/index.rss?tag=hotlist/groups/nl2011transpo/search/?tag=hotWhat’s HotHotListHot!?tag=hot1/groups/nl2011transpo/sidebar/HotListpfurthPeter Furth2012-08-24 00:18:19+00:002012-08-24 00:18:19updated31kkrantzkkrantz2012-08-16 13:44:46+00:002012-08-16 13:44:46updated30kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 16:24:13+00:002012-07-29 16:24:13updated29kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:59:42+00:002012-07-29 15:59:42updated28kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:55:18+00:002012-07-29 15:55:18updated27kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:49:18+00:002012-07-29 15:49:18updated26kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:48:38+00:002012-07-29 15:48:38updated25kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:47:39+00:002012-07-29 15:47:39updated24kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:47:18+00:002012-07-29 15:47:18updated23kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:46:59+00:002012-07-29 15:46:59updated22kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:46:13+00:002012-07-29 15:46:13updated21kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:43:36+00:002012-07-29 15:43:36updated20kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:38:48+00:002012-07-29 15:38:48updated19kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:34:26+00:002012-07-29 15:34:26updated18kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:28:19+00:002012-07-29 15:28:19updated17kkrantzkkrantz2012-07-29 15:27:32+00:002012-07-29 15:27:32updated16eleeelee2012-07-25 12:52:28+00:002012-07-25 12:52:28updated15eleeelee2012-07-23 14:30:20+00:002012-07-23 14:30:20updated14eleeelee2012-07-23 13:43:50+00:002012-07-23 13:43:50updated13eleeelee2012-07-23 13:29:54+00:002012-07-23 13:29:54updated12eleeelee2012-07-23 10:30:20+00:002012-07-23 10:30:20updated11eleeelee2012-07-23 10:29:48+00:002012-07-23 10:29:48updated10eleeelee2012-07-23 10:29:39+00:002012-07-23 10:29:39updated9Added tag - hoteleeelee2012-07-23 10:29:32+00:002012-07-23 10:29:32addTag8eleeelee2012-07-23 10:29:17+00:002012-07-23 10:29:17updated7eleeelee2012-07-23 10:28:41+00:002012-07-23 10:28:41updated6eleeelee2012-07-23 10:27:52+00:002012-07-23 10:27:52updated5eleeelee2012-07-23 10:27:10+00:002012-07-23 10:27:10updated4eleeelee2012-07-23 10:26:34+00:002012-07-23 10:26:34updated3eleeelee2012-07-23 10:26:21+00:002012-07-23 10:26:21updated2First createdeleeelee2012-07-23 10:08:04+00:002012-07-23 10:08:04created1wiki2012-08-24T00:18:19+00:00groups/nl2011transpo/wiki/1b4b7False10. Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat/groups/nl2011transpo/wiki/1b4b7/10_Ruys_de_Beerenbrouckstraat.htmlPeter Furth31 updates10. Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat Contributors: Keegan Krantz and Erika Lee Based on Dutch road safety guidelines, streets sho...Falsepfurth2012-08-24T00:18:19+00:00hot/groups/nl2011transpo/search/index.rss?sort=modifiedDate&kind=all&sortDirection=reverse&excludePages=wiki/welcomelist/groups/nl2011transpo/search/?sort=modifiedDate&kind=all&sortDirection=reverse&excludePages=wiki/welcomeRecent ChangesRecentChangesListUpdates?sort=modifiedDate&kind=all&sortDirection=reverse&excludePages=wiki/welcome0/groups/nl2011transpo/sidebar/RecentChangesListmodifiedDateallRecent ChangesRecentChangesListUpdateswiki/welcomeNo recent changes.reverse5search