Typology of bicycle travelways

Where do I cycle? This is one of the questions often asked by new users of this type of vehicle.

The evolution of bike lanes and cycle paths in cities is helping to expand the cycling alternatives.

A cycle travelway is understood to be any lane specifically equipped for cycle traffic, with the corresponding horizontal and vertical signage, and whose width allows the safe passage of bicycles.

Within cycle travelways, different cycle routes can be established. Here we distinguish the main ones based on the differences established by the DGT.

Bike Lane

Although they do not require much introduction, a bike lane is considered to be a specific lane that runs alongside the carriageway, either one-way or two-way. The bike lane may be protected by side elements separating it from both the road and the pavement, although this is not a sine qua non condition.

Cycle Path

Cycle paths are cycle travelways that are signposted on the pavement. They are the least recommended type of cycle lanes due the conflict that can arise between pedestrians and cyclists, with the most vulnerable element being the pedestrian.

Cycle Track

Cycle Tracks are cycle travelways that are segregated from motorized traffic and have a completely independent route from the roads. Unlike the cycle path, the layout of this type of cycle travelway does not coexist with the pedestrian.

Side paths

Side paths are cycle travelways specially designed for pedestrians and bicycles that are segregated from motorized traffic. These are the ones we usually find when we cycle in open spaces, parks, gardens or forests, and to improve pedestrian safety we can find signposted separations for cyclists.


Sharrows are roads integrated into the carriageway where vehicles are not allowed to exceed the posted speed. These are travelways with coexistence between bikes and vehicles, and can be single or multi-lane streets.

Likewise, it is important to point out that, with the exception of motorways, some dual carriageways and pavements, it is possible to cycle on all public roads. New DGT regulations aimed at calming urban traffic in cities by reducing the maximum speed on many streets to 30 km/h, aims among other things to promote cycling and the use of personal mobility vehicles on public roads, without having to make use of cycle lanes or make major changes to urban infrastructure.


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