Bicycling Glossary

Terms we use

Be informed about the correct terminology for bicycle facilities.

Bicycle A pedal-powered vehicle upon which the human operator sits. The term "bicycle" for this publication includes three- and four-wheeled human-powered vehicles, but not tricycles for children. In some states, a bicycle is considered a vehicle, while in other states it is not.

Bicycle Boulevard A street segment, or series of contiguous street segments, that has been modified to accommodate through bicycle traffic and minimize through motor traffic.

Bicycles Facilities A general term denoting improvements and provisions to accommodate or encourage bicycling, including parking and storage facilities, and shared roadways not specifically defined for bicycle use.

Bicycle Lane or Bike Lane A portion of roadway that has been designated for preferential or exclusive use by bicyclists by pavement markings and, if used, signs. It is intended for one-way travel, usually in the same direction as the adjacent traffic lane, unless designed as a contra-flow lane.

Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS) A model used to estimate bicyclists' average perception of the quality of service of a section of roadway between two intersections.

Bicycle Locker or Bike Locker A secure, lockable container used for individual bicycle storage.

Bicycle Network A system of bikeways designated by the jurisdiction having authority. This system may include bike lanes, bicycle routes, shared use paths, and other identifiable bicycle facilities.

Bicycle Rack or Bike Rack A stationary fixture to which a bicycle can be securely attached.

Bicycle Route or Bike Route A roadway or bikeway designated by the jurisdiction having authority, either with a unique route designation or with Bike Route signs, along which bicycle guide signs may provide directional and distance information. Signs that provide directional, distance, and destination information for bicyclists do not necessarily establish a bicycle route.

Bicycle Wheel Channel A channel installed along the side of a stairway to facilitate walking a bicycle up or down the stairs.

Bikeway A generic term for any road, street, path, or way which in some manner is specifically designated for bicycle travel, regardless of whether such facilities are designated for the exclusive use of bicycles or are to be shared with other transportation modes.

Highway A general term denoting a public way for purposes of vehicular travel, including the entire area within the right-of-way.

Independent Right-of-Way A general term denoting right-of-way outside the boundaries of a conventional highway.

Rail-Trail A shared use path, either paved or unpaved, built within the right-of-way of a former railroad.

Rail-with-Trail A shared use path, either paved or unpaved, built within the right-of-way of an active railroad.

Right-of-Way A general term denoting land, property or interest therein, usually in a strip, acquired for or devoted to transportation purposes.

Right of Way (Assignment) The right of one driver or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another driver or pedestrian.

Roadway The portion of the highway, including shoulders, intended for vehicular use.

Recumbent Bicycle A bicycle with pedals at roughly the same level as the seat where the operator is seated in a reclined position with their back supported.

Roundabout A type of circular intersection that provides yield control to all entering vehicles and features channelized approaches and geometry to encourage reduced travel speeds through the circular roadway.

Rumble Strips A textured or grooved pavement treatment designed to create noise and vibration to alert motorists of a need to change their path or speed. Longitudinal rumble strips are sometimes used on or along shoulders or center lines of highways to alert motorists who stray from the appropriate traveled way. Transverse rumble strips are placed on the roadway surface in the travel lane, perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Shared Lane A lane of a traveled way that is open to both bicycle and motor vehicle travel.

Shared-Lane Marking A pavement marking symbol that indicates an appropriate bicycle positioning in a shared lane.

Shared Roadway A roadway that is open to both bicycle and motor vehicle travel.

Shared Use Path A bikeway physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier and either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way. Shared use paths may also be used by pedestrians, skaters, wheelchair users, joggers, and other non-motorized users. Most shared use paths are designed for two-way travel.

Shoulder The portion of the roadway contiguous with the traveled way that accommodates stopped vehicles, emergency use, and lateral support of subbase, base, and surface courses. Shoulders, where paved, are often used by bicyclists.

Sidewalk That portion of a street or highway right-of-way, beyond the curb or edge of roadway pavement, which is intended for use by pedestrians.

Sidepath A shared use path located immediately adjacent and parallel to a roadway.

Traveled Way The portion of the roadway intended for the movement of vehicles, exclusive of shoulders and any bike lane immediately inside of the shoulder.

Unpaved Path Path not surfaced with a hard, durable surface such as asphalt or Portland cement concrete.