Safety and Education

What every Michigan driver should know about bicycle lanes

As more bike lanes are added to Detroit streets, we hear more questions from motorists about how to drive around them correctly. These same questions are happening across the state, so MDOT has created this brochure. We also have some printed copies available. Contact us if you would like some.

One key point for motorists: the law requires you to drive within a single lane [MCL 257.642]. In other words, you shouldn’t drive on a solid white line. You can cross over most solid white lines or turn through them, but you shouldn’t be driving down the road on top of one. So, when bike lanes have a solid white line, motorists shouldn’t drive in the bike lane or risk getting a ticket.

Sometimes the bike lanes are dashed, mainly at bus stops. Motorists can drive on dashed lines.

This same logic applies to turning. The graphic on the left is from the MDOT brochure and shows how to make a legal turn around a bike lane. If the bike lane lines become dashed at the intersection, you can make your turn from the curb.

Like most cities in Michigan, Detroit has adopted the Michigan Uniform Traffic Code which also prohibits driving or parking in bike lanes.

R 28.1322 Rule 322. Bicycle lanes; vehicles prohibited; parking permitted under certain conditions; violation as misdemeanor.
(1) A person shall not operate a vehicle on or across a bicycle lane, except to enter or leave adjacent property.
(2) A person shall not park a vehicle on a bicycle lane, except where parking is permitted by official signs.
(3) A person who violates this rule is guilty of a misdemeanor.

What are Sharrows?

Bike sharrow in Southwest DetroitThere are new markings on the road called sharrows, which is a word that combines “shared” and “arrows”. Sharrows remind motorists to share the road with bicyclists. For bicyclists, the arrow gives a suggested location to ride on the road.

Sharrows are used when there isn’t enough existing road width to add a bike lane and the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less.

Links to more educational materials

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