Cross-rides and cycle tracks

Cross-Rides

What are cross-rides?

Similar to crosswalks, they allow cyclists to remain on their bikes and safely cross through intersections. They are generally connected to dedicated cycling facilities such as segregated bike lanes, cycle tracks and other cycling infrastructure.

Cross-rides will allow cyclists to travel in one direction or both directions, depending on the cross-ride. Some will be one direction only while others may allow for two-way travel.

How do cross-rides work?

Cross-rides are essentially crosswalks for bikes and function in much the same way. At these intersections, the cross-ride may be identified with thick painted blocks on either side, sometimes enhanced with arrowed bicycle stencils and/or green paint.

  • At signalized intersections, the cyclist may remain on their bike and cross the road when the signal display indicates that the cyclist has the right-of-way
  • At stop controlled intersections, cyclists may only cross when they have the right-of-way
  • At roundabouts, the cyclists may remain on their bike and cross when there is a gap in vehicle traffic
  • In some locations, there may be a mixed use cross-ride which allows for cyclists and pedestrians to cross in the same space

Key Messages for Road users:

Cyclists:
  • At intersections, proceed cautiously along the marked cross-ride and watch for left- and right-turning vehicles (both ahead, behind, and to the right of you) to be sure that they are yielding.  When crossing a stop-controlled side street, cross cautiously along the marked cross-ride and watch for vehicles turning off the main street, as well as vehicles approaching from the side street, to be sure that they are yielding.
  • Always travel at a reasonable speed that allows for you to stop if needed
  • Do not pass other cyclists within a cross-ride. Within the multi-use cross-ride, ring you bell and pass pedestrians with caution
  • Do not travel the wrong way down a one-way cross-ride
  • Always obey all traffic signs and signals
Drivers:
  •  When making a turn, be hyper vigilant for cyclists and pedestrians who are crossing the intersection
  •  Check left, straight, right and your blind spots prior to making your turn
  •  Signal your intention to turn early in order to provide the opportunity for other road users to react
  •  Drivers must yield to cyclists and pedestrians who enter into the intersection
  •  Always obey all traffic signs and signals
Pedestrians:
  • At intersections,proceed cautiously along the marked crosswalk and watch for left- and right-turning vehicles (both ahead, behind, and to the right of you) to be sure that they are yielding
  • When crossing a stop-controlled side street, cross cautiously along the marked crosswalk and watch for vehicles turning off the main street, as well as vehicles approaching from the side street, to be sure that they are yielding
  • Avoid texting or using electronic devices while crossing any roadway
  • Always obey all traffic signs and signals

Cycle Tracks

What are cycle tracks?

Cycle Track Information [ PDF - 3.32 MB ]

Cycle tracks are dedicated cycling facilities that are located alongside the road but are physically separated from vehicular traffic by either a curb or buffer space. Depending on the style of cycle track, they may be at the same or different level as the sidewalk.

Cycle tracks are for cycling only and are generally distinct from sidewalks as they are made of asphalt, whereas sidewalks are made of concrete.

Cycle tracks are predominantly one-way and follow the direction of traffic. There may be some locations within the City of Ottawa where a two-way cycle track is implemented.

At intersections, cycle tracks may:

  •  “bend in”, so that the cycle track is discontinued and becomes a painted bike lane, requiring cyclists to re-enter the roadway before crossing the intersection,

or

  •  “bend out”, so that the cycle track is continued through the intersection, and cyclists cross the intersection along a designated “cross-ride” beside the pedestrian crosswalk

What are the advantages of cycle tracks?

  • They offer a safer and more attractive option for cycling than do shared lanes or painted bike lanes 
  • They can greatly reduce cycling collisions involving parked cars and the opportunity of “dooring” collisions
  • The design of the cycle track reduces obstructions caused by parked / stopped motor vehicles

****Despite these advantages, cycle tracks do have disadvantages: they need more space than shared bicycle / car lanes, and generally do not support high speed bicycle movement.

Key messages for road users:

Cyclists:

Never travel the wrong way down a one-way cycle track.
Always enter an intersection cautiously along the marked cross-ride and watch for turning vehicles to ensure that they are yielding.

Be aware of other road users who may enter the cycle track; watch particularly for: 

  •  Vehicles entering / exiting driveways (drivers who are reversing out of a driveway may have limited sight distance); 
  •  Pedestrians moving between the sidewalk and the road (to / from parked cars, boarding / exiting buses, or crossing the street) 
  •  Yield to pedestrians crossing the cycle track at marked crosswalks, and at bus stops and school drop-off / pick-up zones
  •  Travel at a reasonable speed that allows you to stop if necessary 
  •  Ring your bell when passing other cyclists and pedestrians 
  •  Always obey all traffic signs and signals
Drivers:
  •  When entering an intersection, watch and yield to cyclists in the cycle track 
  •  When making a turn, be hyper vigilant for cyclists and pedestrians who are crossing the intersection.
  •  Watch for cyclists in the cycle track when entering / exiting driveways
  •  Be cautious if you need to reverse out of a driveway along the cycle track, particularly if your line of sight is limited
  •  Always travel at a reasonable speed that allows you to stop if necessary
  •  Always obey all traffic signs and signals
Pedestrians:
  •  When crossing a cycle track, watch for cyclists in both directions
  •  Avoid loitering or queuing onto the cycle track
  •  Always obey all traffic signs and signals

You can learn more about cycle tracks by watching this video.