The City of Ottawa will be piloting a new type of cycling facility on low volume, low speed streets called advisory bike lanes. It's a new way for motorists and cyclists to share the road. While similar to regular bicycle lanes (which are marked on pavement by solid white lines), advisory bicycle lanes are used on narrow, low-volume streets and are marked with dashed lines. These markings give cyclists riding space, but are also available to motorists if needed to pass oncoming traffic. This concept has been used in other cities, but not in Ottawa. For more information on advisory bicycle lanes, please view the video, image and Frequently Asked Questions below.
Want to see advisory bike lanes in action? View the YouTube video of advisory bicycle lanes in operation in the Netherlands.
A new way for drivers and cyclists to share the road
How they work :
- Advisory cycling lanes – a new way for drivers and cyclists to share the road.
- Motorists share a wide lane with oncoming vehicles.
- Each side of the road has an advisory cycling lane.
- Drivers move into the right-hand cycling lane when passing oncoming vehicles.
- Motorists must yield to cyclists already in that space.
- Motorists travel behind cyclists until it is safe to move back into their lane.
Visit our YouTube Page and click “show more” for the descriptive video text.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the City installing advisory bicycle lanes?
As a pilot (trial) exercise, the City will be installing advisory bike lanes on Somerset Street East (between Chapel Avenue and Range Road) and potentially on Byron Avenue between Sherbourne Road and Broadview Avenue. While additional locations could be added as part of the pilot, these are the only two locations being considered at this time.
Are advisory bicycle lanes going to be used as a traffic-calming measure?
No. We will not be considering the use of advisory bicycle lanes exclusively to help slow traffic.
To implement advisory lanes, do you simply add painted dashed lines on the side of the road or are there other features?
There are two important considerations. First, advisory lanes are only appropriate on low-volume, low-speed street segments. As such, should volumes and speeds be higher than appropriate, changes (such as traffic calming) would be required to get speeds and volumes down to levels that would allow for proper operation of advisory lanes. Second, to mark the presence of advisory lanes, both painted dashed lines and supporting signage would be used.
What happens if advisory bicycle lanes don't work as envisioned?
Staff will monitor operations to help complete a before and after evaluation. Where the design is not operating as it should, adjustments will be made to correct the issue. Should those adjustments fail to address the issues they were intended to correct, the advisory lanes would be removed.
Doesn't the City already have advisory bicycle lanes on Fifth Avenue between O'Connor Street and Queen Elizabeth Drive?
Yes and no. Advisory style markings have been used on Fifth Avenue between O'Connor Street and Queen Elizabeth Drive, however these are not considered true advisory bicycle lanes. The Fifth Avenue treatment provides two separate vehicular lanes divided by a yellow centreline. The advisory bicycle lane concept for the pilot does not use a yellow centreline and the width of the two-way centre lane would be less than what is traditionally used for two full vehicular lanes.
Should you have any questions or would like more information about this pilot project, please contact:
Justin Swan, P.Eng
City of Ottawa - Transportation Planning Branch
613-580-2424, ext. 21636