The City of Davis has many Bike Lanes for bicyclists to use. The Bicycle History Presentation covers the historic development of these lanes. In addition to the bike lanes there are Bike Paths, Greenbelts, Bike Overpasses, Bike Tunnels and many other resources for bicycles in town.

Davis was the first city in America to have modern bike lanes.

Streets with Bike Lanes

Most major roads have bike lanes, with the exception of Fifth Street and Russell Boulevard. Residential streets often don't have bike lanes, but have so little traffic to begin with that they're not really necessary. Additionally, most country roads that leave town also have bike lanes, a few people commute by bike from nearby towns like Dixon, Woodland or Winters. Certain roads leading to Dixon and Woodland have been widened (completed in 2003 and 2009, respectively) with bike lanes. But the road conditions vary along these routes, especially closer to Woodland.

Streets Without Bike Lanes

Some of the more notable streets without bike lanes...

  • Fifth Street and Russell Blvd. east of Pole Line Road. In Downtown (A to L Streets), use any other street like 4th, 3rd, or 8th to get across this busy section. Between Pole Line and L, and west of A Street, there is a bike path parallel to the street on the south side. Use caution at driveways and intersections, where turning or crossing cars may not be expecting or looking out for approaching bikes. Along most of the sections with the bike path, it's not as narrow as it is through downtown, and thus it's just as safe as most urban thoroughfares to ride a bike along the street. Not to mention that it's legal to do this on any street (and even on some rural freeways). Bikes are prohibited only on most freeways.

    The 5th Street redesign promises to add bike lanes to Fifth between A and L Streets. In all likelihood, bike lanes also will be striped east to Pole Line when this occurs.

  • Orchard Road between LaRue and Orchard Park Drive had bike lanes painted on it temporarily circa 2008. Then the lanes were deleted after it was pointed out that the edge of the road had some dangerous bumps due to tree roots, and bicyclists were safer taking the lane and riding closer to the middle of the street.

Cycling Etiquette

Ideally, cycle in bike lanes much as you would drive in a car:

  • Ride single-file, and in a straight, predictable line.
  • Faster cyclists should pass on the left (closer to the car lane) when it is safe to do so.
  • Thus, slower cyclists should stay as close to the curb as is safe to let faster cyclists pass and avoid getting hit by a car.
  • Be sure to avoid the door zone when passing parallel-parked cars. There are many places downtown where bike lane is adjacent to parked cars, and riders should stay far enough left to avoid being hit by doors flung open by unwatchful car occupants.

Driving Etiquette

For folks from areas without a significant cycling population, you may have to review some laws that you last heard about years ago in drivers ed.

  • You are not allowed to drive in a bike lane, unless you are making a right-hand turn, at which point you must merge before your turn. When you do this, you really do need to check your side-view mirrors and blind spot.
  • On streets with no bike lanes (like Fifth Street), cyclists are allowed to use the full lane.
    • If a cyclist is keeping up with the flow of traffic on a street with a bike lane, the cyclist may ride in the standard lane.
  • Even though many streets have bike lanes, sometimes they are not wide enough to accommodate cyclists and cars parked curbside. Additionally, there may be other obstructions in the bike lane, like yard waste or recycling bins. Thus, drivers should keep an eye on the bike lane so that cyclists that veer onto the main road don't get hit.

Bike Lane Construction Projects


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2008-10-22 21:15:33   Be Happy you guys have such an incredibly friendly bike town! I live over in Sonoma County and am really just getting into biking in my fifties. A lot of the roads over here are just brutal to ride on. You're really lucky to have a bike lane and when you do, it's only about 3 feet wide. I was amazed to see bike lanes on 8th, etc that seemed like 6 or more feet wide! —DouglasHall