Download Accessible PDF

Plan Contents

Executive Summary


Chapter 1
Bikeway Network

Chapter 2
Bicycle-friendly Streets

Chapter 3
Bike Parking

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6
Marketing and
Health Promotion

Chapter 7
Law Enforcement
and Crash Analysis

Chapter 8
Bicycle Messengers





Download PDF


Chapter 1
Bikeway Network

“Bikeways” are streets and trails specifically designed for bicycle travel. Bikeways help bicyclists feel comfortable riding, whether on streets with heavy motor-vehicle traffic or on off-street trails. Surveys consistently indicate that providing bikeways is the most effective way to encourage bicycling. 1, 2

The vision of this plan is to establish a 500-mile bikeway network in Chicago that is the equal of the best in the world. This requires the network to be extensive, attractive, and conveniently located. Bicyclists will notice the quality of design, construction, and maintenance. They will feel safe and appreciate that Chicago honors and welcomes bicycling.

This plan does not distinguish between bikeways used primarily for transportation or recreation. Many routes which may appear to be primarily recreational are used for transportation, and vice versa. The proposed bikeway network will serve bicyclists of all levels and abilities

This chapter identifies six objectives intended to establish the proposed bikeway network. When complete, the network will reach within one-half mile of every Chicago resident and every neighborhood in the city. The proposed network expands on the 300-mile network of bikeways proposed in the Bike 2000 Plan (1992), the 125 miles of new bike lanes and 250 miles of signed routes recommended in the Streets for Cycling Plan (2000), and the trails identified in the Chicago Trails Plan (2005). The following table summarizes the characteristics of the existing and proposed bikeway network:

Facility Type
Miles in 2005
Miles in 2015
Bike Lane
Bus/Bike Lane
Raised Bike Lane
Rush Hour Bikeway
Shared Lane Markings
Signed Route
Bike Boulevard
Off-Street Trail

Bike lanes and signed bike routes (Objective 1) are established on the best streets for bicycling. Bike lanes are five or six-foot wide corridors for the exclusive use of bicyclists. They are particularly appropriate on collector and arterial streets given their high traffic volumes and because these are often the only streets crossing expressways, waterways, and railway lines. Forty-six miles of new bike lanes are recommended to be established by 2015. Eighty-five miles of signed routes are also proposed, many along streets too narrow for bike lanes.

Off-street trails (Objective 2) are 10 – 15 foot wide paths physically separated from the road, for use by bicyclists, pedestrians, runners and others. Research indicates that providing trails near where people live is one of the most effective ways to encourage bicycling.3 The Chicago Trails Plan (2005) identifies almost 200 miles of existing and proposed trails. Existing trails, including the 18-mile Lakefront Trail along Lake Michigan, should continue to be upgraded and, where possible, extended to meet demand.

Innovative bikeways (Objective 3) enhance the bikeway network by introducing new types of bikeways and intersection improvements. Innovative bikeways include colored bike lanes, special pavement markings along streets too narrow for bike lanes, “bike boulevards” on streets with low traffic volumes, and other innovative improvements.

Establishing bikeways to priority destinations (Objective 4), such as schools, universities, and transit stations, complements the Safe Routes to School efforts outlined in the Education chapter and the Bike to Transit efforts outlined in the Transit chapter. Another way to encourage bicycling is to help bicyclists choose safe, convenient routes (Objective 5). Proposed strategies include providing online interactive mapping so that people can develop personalized maps and installing bicycle information boards at appropriate locations.

Bikeway maintenance (Objective 6) is necessary to provide safe, comfortable riding conditions. Enhanced maintenance of bikeways is proposed, including: regular inspections, sweeping debris, replacing striping and signage, repaving streets, repairing potholes, and replacing dangerous grates.

<- Previous: Introduction
Bike LaneSignage

Establish a bikeway network that serves all Chicago residents and neighborhoods.

Performance Measure
Establish a 500-mile bikeway network by 2015.


  1. Add new bike lanes and signed bike routes.
  2. Establish new trails, improve existing trails, and improve access to trails.
  3. Use innovative designs to expand and enhance the bikeway network.
  4. Establish bikeways to priority destinations.
  5. Help current and potential bicyclists choose safe, convenient routes.
  6. Prioritize ongoing maintenance and repair of the bikeway network.
Brought to you by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Bicycle Program. This website is designed to be accessible to all users. We welcome suggestions and comments from Bike 2015 Plan site visitors.