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Bicycle & Pedestrian Maps
"I [BIKE] Oakland" 2014 Bikeways Map,, a full-size, full-color map, produced by the City of Oakland Public Works Department, is in its fifth edition. The 2014 map shows 235 miles of bikeways throughout Oakland and the adjoining cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda, Piedmont and San Leandro.
- The print map is made available to Oakland's bike shops for free distribution on May 1 of every year. (It is also included in the canvas goodie bags given to bicyclists at "energizer stations" throughout Oakland on Bike to Work Day.)
- View the map online in .pdf format: West side | East side
Walk Oakland! Map & Guide, 5th Edition, released in 2014, includes existing and recommended bikeways. For mail orders, call the Oakland Museum store (510) 318-8510. The map may be available at the following Oakland retailers (this list isn't maintained—please call first):
- A Great Good Place for Books 6120 La Salle Ave (510) 339-8210
- Bay Area Bikes 2424 Webster St (510) 763-2453
- Bibliomania 1816 Telegraph Ave (510) 835-5733
- Cycle Sports 3530 Grand Ave (510) 444-7900
- Diesel Bookstore 5433 College Ave (510) 653-9965
- Hank & Frank Bicycles 6030 College Ave (510) 654-2453
- Laurel Bookstore 4100 MacArthur Blvd (510) 531-2073
- Marcus Book Stores 3900 Martin Luther King Jr Way (510) 652-2344
- Montano Velo 4266 Piedmont Ave (510) 654-8356
- Oakland Association of Realtors 1528 Webster St (510) 836-3000
- Oakland Museum Store 1000 Oak St (510) 238-6306
- Pendragon 5560 College Ave (510) 652-6259
- Pioneer Bike Shop 11 Rio Vista Ave (510) 658-8981
- Spectator Bookstore 4163 Piedmont Ave (510) 653-7300
- Tip Top Bike Shop 4800 A Telegraph Ave (510) 444-4148
- Transports 6014 College Ave (510) 655-4809
- Walden Pond Books 3316 Grand Ave (510) 832-4438
- Wheels of Justice Cyclery 2424 Mountain Blvd (510) 339-6091
Bicycle Skills/Safety & Commuting
- Bike Safety Quiz (by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition)
- Bicycle Safety/Skills Courses: East Bay | Regional
- BikeSafeCalifornia, a website devoted to cycling skills (a project of the California Bicycle Coalition)
- The law: California Vehicle Code, Bicyclists
- Safe bicycling tips from the League of American Bicyclists
- Bicycling.511.org is a resource for bicycling information in the nine-county Bay Area and beyond, sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission
- AC Transit's two-minute video shows how easy it is to use buses' front-mounted bike racks and cargo bays (located on the big green AC Transit commuter buses)
- Find a Bike Buddy to get started on commuting by bicycle (through 511.org)
Bicycle Parking Do's & Don'ts
Generally speaking, bicycle thieves are opportunists, looking for the easiest bicycles to steal. Although there are no guarantees of safety when parking your bicycle, you can take steps that will make it less likely that a thief will select your bicycle, and which also help bicyclists "share the road" with pedestrians.
- Park in well lit open areas where many people pass by, where your bicycle can be seen easily and where you can get to your bike quickly.
- Lock to a bike rack (if available), and park so that your bike doesn't block the sidewalk or curb ramps.
- Use a strong lock. U-locks are popular and work well, but some U-locks are stronger than others; make sure you buy a strong steel-alloy lock, and one without a cylindrical barrel.
- If you use a U-lock ...
- And it has a keyway on the end of the crossbar, position the lock with its keyway towards the ground. This makes it harder for a thief to access the lock.
- Position the bicycle frame and wheels so that as much open space as possible within the U-portion of the lock is filled or taken up. This makes it more difficult for a thief to use tools to attack the lock.
- If you use a padlock or chain: links, cables, and lock clasps should be at least 3/8 of an inch thick and case-hardened.
- Use an additional lock or cable to secure wheels or other valuable parts such as seats.
- Consider locking skewers to secure wheels.
- Remove lights, pump, bags or other valuables from your bike.
- Don't park so your bicycle blocks a curb ramp.
- Don't park so your bicycle blocks the sidewalk. (In most cases, this means parking parallel to the curb.)
- Don't park to a tree. Not only is it insecure, it's also bad for the tree!
- Don't secure only the wheel (unless that's the part you want to keep!).
- Don't leave your bike locked in one spot for several days.
- Don't leave your bike unlocked "just for a minute" while you run into a shop. It takes less than a minute to steal it.
- If a rack is available, please use it instead of a parking meter. Bikes parked at meters can pose problems for those with disabilities (and others) trying to exit or enter parked vehicles. Bikes at meters also pose problems for City maintenance crews. If a meter is the only option at a location you frequent, please contact the Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator at (510) 238-3983 or firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Online Request Form to request a rack.
To report a stolen bicycle, please see Bicycle Registration.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Bikeway Projects
- Why was a particular route chosen for the bikeway?
- What’s the difference between a bike lane, bike route, bike path and sharrow route? How is the specific bikeway type determined for a particular street?
- What is the relationship between the City’s street resurfacing and bikeway programs? Can repaving priority be given to bikeway streets?
- How can potholes be repaired?
- How are bikeway projects funded?
- Do the same rules apply to bicyclists & motorists?
- What does it mean to “share the road?”
- Where and when are speed humps installed? Can speed humps be removed or designed to have less impact on bicyclists?
- Can bikeways on residential streets include traffic calming elements, like planted traffic circles, diverters or chicanes?
- Can speed limits be reduced on bikeway streets?
- When a new bikeway is installed, will there be an education component?
- How are bikeway projects that remove a travel lane evaluated for feasibility?
Why was a particular route chosen for the bikeway?
Oakland's Bicycle Master Plan (BMP, 2007) designates specific streets for improvements geared towards bicyclists. Improvements include pavement markings (bike lanes, sharrows, lane reconfiguration) and bicycle wayfinding signs, and may include or build upon traffic calming elements. The analysis for Oakland’s Proposed Bikeway Network focused on maximizing bicyclist safety and access throughout the City (for example, by providing direct, intuitive connections) while minimizing potential adverse effects on other roadway users (in particular, on AC Transit buses).
Oakland's street grid is irregular; in many places there is no grid at all and arterials provide the only through-route for all road users. (Contrast this with neighboring Berkeley, for example, where Milvia St. runs parallel to Shattuck Ave. from Russell St. all the way to Hopkins St., over a distance of over two miles.) In many areas of Oakland, there are no parallel streets where cyclists could be better separated from motor vehicle or bus traffic. In these cases, bikeways are particularly important to create a viable network.
What's the difference between a bike lane, bike route, bike path and sharrow route? How is the specific bikeway type determined for a particular street?
Oakland's Proposed Bikeway Network includes several bikeway types with treatments (e.g. striping, signage) that respond to varying conditions and needs. The treatments follow the guidance in the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). State guidelines require that bicycle facilities be designed in compliance with the MUTCD and the State Highway Design Manual. The primary bikeway types are:
- Bike paths (a paved right-of-way that is completely separated from the street)
- Bike lanes (striped lanes on streets, designated with specific signage and stencils, for the use of bicyclists)
- Bike routes (preferred streets for bicycle travel using lanes shared with motor vehicles)
What is the relationship between the City’s resurfacing and bikeway programs? Can repaving priority be given to bikeway streets?
Oakland's Pavement Management Program sets priorities for which streets will be resurfaced based on five-year paving plans that are adopted by City Council. The list includes many proposed bikeways, and the City strives to include bikeways whenever a street is being repaved. Bikeway projects can be complex and require a year (or much longer) to develop, including design, environmental clearance and public outreach. Therefore in some cases, complex bikeway projects—particularly those that are not BMP priorities—may not be installed when a street is resurfaced. In some cases, new bikeways may be installed on streets with older pavement if the bikeway is a priority project and the street will not be resurfaced in the foreseeable future.
Oakland’s streets are in distress. A July 2010 informational report to the City Council explained that the backlog of repairs at that time was estimated to cost $418 million. It would require an investment of $26 million per year to begin reversing this decline. In recent years, the City has had approximately $7 million per year for paving. If the funding allocated to resurfacing remains at current levels, the cost of deferred maintenance will be $760 million dollars by 2014. No money from Oakland’s General Fund pays for resurfacing (or bikeways). The City is advocating at the county, regional, state and federal levels to increase the amount of funding available for repaving.
For more information, contact the Pavement Management Program.
How can potholes be repaired?
Please report potholes to the Public Works Call Center at (510) 615-5566 or online. For best results, be as specific as possible about the location(s). Include a street address wherever possible. Prior to installing new bikeways on roads that are not scheduled for resurfacing, bike program staff report potholes for repair.
How are bikeway projects funded?
All Oakland transportation projects, including street resurfacing, are funded by local, state and federal grants dedicated to transportation purposes. These funding sources can only be used for their intended purpose. For example, Oakland receives about one million dollars per year for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects from Alameda County Measure B (half-cent transportation sales tax). These funds cannot be used to pay for police services or schools.
Whenever possible, on-street bikeways are installed as part of resurfacing projects to make best use of limited funding. The incremental cost of adding bike-specific striping and markings is a tiny portion of a street resurfacing project's total cost. For example, West St. from W MacArthur Blvd. to 52nd St. was repaved and striped with bike lanes in December 2007. Striping the entire roadway cost $32,000 whereas paving cost $441,000.
Do the same rules apply to bicyclists and motorists?
With limited exceptions, rules of the road apply equally to bicyclists, motorists and motorcyclists. According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21200(a), “Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division.” Bicyclists may ride on any road in California unless it is specifically prohibited. These restrictions are limited to particular freeways, tunnels and bridges.
Bicyclists can ride in or move into the travel lane to stay clear of the door zone (where they are at risk of being hit by opening car doors—aka "doored") and to avoid other hazardous conditions like potholes, glass and debris. Bicyclists generally make left turns like motorists. (Read specific provisions of the CVC.)
Sidewalk riding is regulated by individual cities. In Oakland, it is illegal to ride a bicycle which has wheels of 20 inches or greater in diameter or a frame of 14 inches or greater in length on any sidewalk within the City (Oakland Municipal Code Section 10.16.150). Furthermore, sidewalk riding is unsafe. Motorists are not expecting bicyclists traveling at speeds higher than pedestrians to enter intersections (where a disproportionate number of collisions occur). Driveways with limited visibility are particularly dangerous for bicyclists riding on sidewalks. Though sometimes perceived as safer than road riding, sidewalk riding accounts for a high number of collisions with motorists.
What does it mean to "share the road?"
Most bicycling is done in shared lane situations (since bike lanes are only possible on a subset of Oakland's roadways). Bicyclists and motorists can safely share the road (or the travel lane) by responding to the particular roadway configuration. The CVC states that bicyclists must, generally, ride to the right, but there are a number of exceptions that have relevance to Oakland, an older and constrained urban environment. The most important exception is CVC 21202 (a) (3) which states that bicyclists do not need to ride to the right “when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
There are few roads in Oakland where it is safe to share a single lane side by side. Thus, in many locations bicyclists can legally ride in the middle of the travel lane. Motorists must exercise caution when passing. If there is one lane in a direction, motorists must wait until it is safe to pass, and bicyclists traveling below the prevailing speed should allow motorists to pass at the first safe opportunity. When there are two lanes in a direction, a motorist can safely pass by entering the adjacent travel lane. In both situations, motorists must leave sufficient space when passing—three feet is a good minimum—but more may be required when driving faster than 25 mph.
Where and when are speed humps installed? Can speed humps be removed or designed to have less impact on bicyclists?
Speed humps are installed on local (residential) streets that meet certain criteria (width, number of travel lanes, slope, speed limit, etc.). As of August 2010, no additional speed humps are being installed in Oakland due to lack of funding. Prior to that time, speed hump requests were considered by the Transportation Services Division, and required that a neighborhood petition be signed by a minimum of two-thirds of the addresses on a particular block. There is no history of removing speed humps in Oakland. The Bicycle Master Plan (2007, page 86) recommends evaluating an alternative design with a “sinusoidal” profile, to provide a gentler impact on bicyclists, while maintaining the speed-calming effect on motor vehicles.
Can bikeways on residential streets include traffic calming elements, like planted traffic circles, diverters or chicanes?
Traffic circles are installed based on documented collision history and are funded by grants. The City’s Bicycle Master Plan acknowledges traffic calming as a solution for discouraging drivers from using bicycle boulevards as through routes. However, there are currently no projects to add these elements to residential bikeways. Instead, the City’s priority is establishing a network of bikeways on low-volume residential streets using the shared lane pavement marking (“sharrow”), bicycle wayfinding signage and traffic calming features that already exist.
Can speed limits be reduced on bikeway streets?
Under current State law, it is difficult to reduce speed limits on many streets. Cities are obliged to perform speed surveys (every five years) and adjust speed limits to reflect the “85th percentile speed” or the speed that 85% of drivers are traveling. This requirement is based on the assumption that most drivers travel at the “design speed” of a particular road, and to prevent cities from setting “speed traps” and issuing citations by setting speed limits that are lower than necessary. The internet abounds with stories of motorists who fought speeding tickets and won, based on the 85th percentile speed, so traffic enforcement personnel are very careful about citing speeders.
In 2009, the State of California made it more difficult for cities to lower speed limits. City traffic engineers can authorize a reduction in the speed limit on a particular street if there is a study that documents how the reduction was required to address factors that are not "readily apparent" to drivers. For example, if the 85th percentile speed is measured to be 37 mph, the speed limit can only be reduced to 35 mph unless a study shows specific “objective factors” indicating a need to reduce it to 30 mph. “Objective factors” typically means a history of collisions, although pedestrian and bicyclist safety are explicitly noted as considerations.
As elsewhere in California, if a speed limit is not marked, the default speed limit is 25 mph. This is the case on most residential streets in Oakland. (For a list of speed limits on particular streets, see the Oakland Municipal Code.) The vast majority of Oakland’s streets have speed limits of 35mph or less.
When a new bikeway is installed, will there be an education component?
For larger projects, extensive community outreach is performed. For smaller projects, the City mails an educational brochure to all addresses within one block of the project area. The City does not perform other educational activities when implementing bikeway projects. “Street Skills” courses focusing on urban bicycling skills are offered by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and the City strongly encourages all bicyclists to take this course.
How are bikeway projects that remove a travel lane evaluated for feasibility?
Any project that proposes to remove a motor vehicle lane must be analyzed to assess its potential impacts on traffic flow and congestion. Impacts are studied by analyzing motor vehicle "Level of Service" (LOS) under current- and future-year (20 years hence) conditions, with a focus on the average delay experienced per motor vehicle at intersections. If there are no signalized intersections, the average daily and peak-hour traffic volumes along a corridor are analyzed to determine feasibility. Projects are designed to maximize bicyclist and pedestrian safety while minimizing impacts on motor vehicle traffic flow, as defined by LOS. Thus in some cases, bike lanes may be dropped approaching key intersections. Learn more about bikeway project development (pdf. flyer).