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What is a bike box? How are bike boxes built?

What is a bike box? You’ve probably seen people transporting their bikes in large, cardboard boxes on the street or on the train, but you may not know what they are or how they work.

Bikes can be a little tricky to transport, especially if you don’t have a car. You can’t just toss them in the backseat!

A bike box is a large, cardboard box that is specifically designed to transport bicycles. They are often used by cyclists who commute to work and need to take their bike on public transportation. Read this blog post by Josh Quigley to know more about a bike box.

What is a bike box? How are bike boxes built?
What is a bike box? How are bike boxes built?

What is a bike box?

What is a bike box
What is a bike box

A bike box is a designated area at an intersection or crosswalk for cyclists to wait and maneuver ahead of vehicles when the light turns green. They are marked with green paint and include bicycle symbols. By giving cyclists their own space at intersections, bike boxes promote safety and help prevent collisions with turning vehicles. They also encourage cyclists to take the lane and assert their right to the road. Overall, bike boxes benefit both cyclists and drivers by improving traffic flow and reducing potential accidents.

Purposes of bike boxes

Purposes of bike boxes
Purposes of bike boxes

Bike boxes provide a safe left-turn option for cyclists riding in the bike lane. When approaching a green light, cyclists can move into the bike box and turn left before vehicles proceed through the intersection. This allows for smoother and more efficient traffic flow, as well as reducing potential conflicts between cyclists and turning vehicles.

Additionally, bike boxes serve to remind drivers that cyclists have a legal right to the road and should be treated as equals in traffic. By visibly separating cyclists from vehicle traffic at intersections, bike boxes promote respect for their presence on the road.

Although they are not a common sight in many cities, bike boxes are becoming increasingly popular as communities work towards creating safer and more accessible streets for all road users. So next time you see one on your commute, remember its purpose and yield to any waiting cyclists before turning or proceeding through the intersection.

Benefits of a Bike Box

  • Increases visibility of bicyclists.
  • Gives cyclists space to maneuver and turn safely.
  • Promotes bicyclist assertiveness and right to the road.
  • Improves traffic flow and reduces potential accidents.
  • Can be easily implemented at little cost.

Common applications of a bike box

Common applications of a bike box
Common applications of a bike box
  • Intersections with high bicycle traffic.
  • Intersections with a dedicated bike lane.
  • Busy, multi-lane intersections where cyclists may have difficulty maneuvering safely.

Bike boxes and the MUTCD

Bike boxes and the MUTCD
Bike boxes and the MUTCD

The use of bike boxes is addressed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the national standard for all traffic control devices. The MUTCD includes design and placement guidelines, as well as signage options for bike boxes. Check with your local agency to ensure compliance with any additional regulations or standards.

So, how are bike boxes built?

How are bike boxes built?

How are bike boxes built
How are bike boxes built

Bike box implementation can vary depending on the context and specific needs of an intersection. In some cases, they may be as simple as adding green paint and bicycle symbols to an existing space at the stop line for vehicles.

In other cases, physical separation from vehicle traffic may be necessary, such as raised pavement or a curb extension. This can provide added protection for cyclists and improve visibility for drivers.

When planning for bike boxes, it’s important to consider the volume and types of bicycle and vehicle traffic at the intersection, as well as any potential conflicts with turning vehicles. It may also be helpful to consult with local bicyclist groups to ensure that the planned design meets their needs and addresses any concerns they may have.

Implementing bike boxes can be a cost-effective way to improve safety and accessibility for bicyclists, and can ultimately benefit all road users.

Bike boxes design guidance

  • Marked with green paint and bicycle symbols.
  • Located ahead of the stop line for vehicles, allowing cyclists to enter the intersection first when the light turns green.
  • Larger bike boxes may include separate lanes for through bicyclists and left-turning bicyclists.

Bike boxes maintenance

  • Regularly check for faded paint and wear.
  • Ensure bicycle symbols are clearly visible.
  • Consider adding signage to educate road users on the purpose and proper use of bike boxes.

Bike box implementation should also include education and outreach efforts targeted towards both bicyclists and drivers, to ensure safe and effective use of the infrastructure.

Remember, we all share the road – let’s work together to make it a safer place for everyone.

F.A.Q What is a bike box?

What is the purpose of a bike box?

A bike box is an designated area at the front of a traffic intersection for bicyclists to wait and maneuver safely. It increases visibility and promotes respect for cyclists’ right to the road.

What size is a bike box?

The size of a bike box can vary, depending on the needs of the intersection and amount of bicycle traffic. Some may just be marked with green paint and symbols, while others may include physical separation from vehicle traffic.

What color is a bike box?

Bike boxes are typically marked with green paint and bicycle symbols.

How do you put a bike in a bike box?

Bicyclists enter the bike box before the traffic light turns green, allowing them to move ahead of vehicles at the intersection. Bicyclists may also use separate lanes within a larger bike box for through travel or left turns.


A bike box is a great way to store and transport your bicycle. Our boxes are made of heavy-duty cardboard and can be used for both short and long trips. Visit our website to learn more about these products and how we can help you take care of your bike. Thanks for reading!

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