Sharing the road with transit
Riding safely with transit
On the road
- Obey all traffic rules and regulations and note that King County has an all-ages helmet law .
- Pass a bus only on the left. Bus drivers are trained to share the road with bicyclists and other traffic, but they’re paying attention to many things at once. Please be aware of buses pulling over to their stops, even across bike lanes.
- Be aware at intersections. Sometimes it may look as though a bus is going straight when it’s setting up for a right turn. Never position yourself to the right of a bus at an intersection.
- Look for the mirrors! If you can’t see the bus mirrors, then the bus driver can’t see you.
- Avoid Leapfrogging. Bus drivers try to avoid leapfrogging around people on bikes. Cyclists should try to stay in a consistent position visible to drivers. If you’re not riding fast enough to stay ahead of a bus, stay behind while the driver picks up passengers, and allow the bus to get ahead of you. Minimize the number of times you pass any moving vehicles.
- Be predictable. Don't weave in and out of traffic, or jump from the street to the sidewalk and back again. Signal your intentions to turn and stop.
- Be attentive to construction detours and other changes to travel patterns.
- Cross tracks at a 90 degree angle after checking that you’re not entering the path of moving traffic.
Bicyclists are responsible for any personal injuries or loss as a result of their negligence on any Metro vehicles or while on Metro property.
At transit stops and stations
- Always let the driver know when you are loading or unloading your bike from the bus bicycle rack.
- Approach the bus from the curb (not the street) to load and unload your bike. Do not stand in the lane of moving traffic. Bicyclists are responsible for securing and removing their bicycles from the racks.
- Sit near the front of the bus to watch your bike and to be ready to tell the driver when you’re unloading your bike. Metro is not responsible for stolen bikes or accessories, or for forgotten bikes.
- Bicycles are not allowed on escalators at transit stations. Please use the elevators or stairs to transport your bicycle to and from the platform level.
- Walk your bike in stations and on passenger platforms.
Special instructions for the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel
- Step down carefully with your bike due to the higher platforms in the stations. All tunnel stations (except Convention Place) have a 14-inch-high curb between the platform and the roadway, and some have sloping areas.
- Watch for bus mirrors. It's possible to bump your head when boarding or leaving the bus after stepping onto or from the roadway due to the higher platforms.
- When unloading, step out of the roadway quickly and carefully, then move behind the yellow line, alerting the driver that you are clear.
Frequently asked questions
The slot farthest from the bus gives the driver the best view of the rack in use. The driver knows to leave extra space between the bus and a vehicle ahead of it. The outside space is also the easiest access for the bike rider.
The easiest order of loading is outside slot (farthest from bus), inside slot (closest to bus), middle slot. If the outside slot is already in use, follow these instructions for the other 2 positions:
Alert the driver that you're going to load. Stand on the curb. Face your front wheel toward the curb. Lift your bike and roll the back wheel into the track. Release the support arm and extend it over the front wheel, setting it at the top of the wheel next to the frame.
If the hook on the middle slot faces the curb:
Follow the instructions above for loading in the inside slot.
If the hook on the middle slot faces the street:
Alert the driver that you’re going to load. Stand in the street at the centerline of the bus. Do not stand in the line of moving traffic. Lift your bike at a 90 degree angle to the front of the bus with the back wheel toward the bus. Swing the back wheel past the first bike and set the back wheel in the slot without the hook. Set the front wheel near the hook. Pull out the hook and extend the support arm over the front wheel.
There are several models of racks, but all work in a similar way. Look for the label on an available slot showing which direction to face your front wheel—toward the curb or toward the street. Then set your bike in the slot. Pull the support arm straight out and up over the top of the wheel with the hook resting on your wheel or fender as close to the frame as possible.
The hook needs to be able to sit over the top of the wheel, close to the frame. If your basket or rack would prevent that secure position, you may not be able to use the rack. You don’t want your bike to fall off!
Thank you for your concern but don’t worry! Remember that while you’re loading your bike, other passengers are getting on the bus. Most of the time you’ll just be getting on right after them. To test the racks before your first ride, check out ways to practice.
The racks are first come, first served, and sometimes they’re all in use. If you can’t wait for the next bus, here are some ideas:
- On the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (SR520), you can use a bus that’s on its way back to a base and not in passenger service. NOTE: This service will end in March 2019 due to construction that will close the Montlake flyer stop. See more about traveling SR-520.
- Bike to a location that has more routes going near where you’re going. That will give you more possible racks. You may have to bike farther at the other end of your bus ride. Check TripPlanner for possible routes.
- Try to catch your bus earlier in its trip before the rack is full.
- If you don’t need your bike at the end of your transit trip, consider parking it at your transit stop instead of traveling with it. Check bike parking options.
In this region, bicycles are welcome anytime on buses, light rail, commuter trains, street cars, passenger ferries, and vanpools at no extra charge.
Buses – King County Metro and Sound Transit buses carry three bikes on front racks. Load or unload your bike at any regular bus stop. Other agencies in the region also carry 2 or 3 bikes per bus.
Boats – King County Water Taxis and Kitsap Fast Ferries have racks for 12-26 bikes depending on the vessel. Washington State Ferries has designated space on the car deck to tie up bikes (requires a small fee). Bicycle racks are also available at most terminals.
Vanpools – Racks can be installed at no charge on Metro vanpools upon request.
Other Metro services - For bike capacity on services that use small vehicles or vans, please refer to the specific services, including DART, Trailhead Direct, community shuttles, and Ride2. Metro’s regular rack loading instructions and rules apply for size, weight, type of bike and accessories.
Check the list of locker locations to see whether Metro or Sound Transit operates that location. Then follow the instructions to find out about availability and arrange for a locker.
So far we have plenty of lockers available at the places they’re installed. At present there is no reservation system.
We have had leased (keyed) lockers since the mid-1990s. They are popular, but that system means that only 1 person has access to each locker. If that person doesn’t bike on a particular day, the locker sits empty.
As we add new lockers we’re moving to the on-demand style to make parking available to more people at more times. Customers also have flexibility to use any on-demand bike locker in the BikeLink system at anytime.
Send an email to Metro and make your suggestion. We’ll consider factors such as demand, cost and space at the location.
Many cities publish detailed bike maps of their bike routes, and there are regional and state maps as well. Various apps also can help you plan bike travel. You may want to use some time when traffic is light to try several different ways to bike to your usual destination. If you work for a large employer, you may have a commute program that includes bike resources and a buddy who’ll ride with you.
Metro is actively planning improvements in how bikes and transit work together. Metro’s long-range plan, METRO CONNECTS, envisions significant growth in biking and walking as ways that people will reach transit as described in the plan's Access to Transit chapter. Metro coordinates its bike and pedestrian planning with local cities and Sound Transit, and serves on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Metro has been awarded grants to help several of King County’s cities build safe bike and walk connections to transit, and in the coming years, Metro will add more bike parking at transit locations.
It depends on the weight and power source. Battery-powered e-assist bikes are accepted as long as the bike and its attachments do not exceed the weight limit of 55 lbs per rack slot. If your battery is removable you can carry it onto the bus to reduce the bike’s weight. Bike share e-bikes are too heavy for the racks. Bike share e-bikes are too heavy for the racks.
Practice racks are installed in several places in King County to try them out. Or, when you see a bus at a community event, ask the driver if you can test the rack.
Permanent practice racks are installed at these locations:
- Bellevue College at 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, Bellevue, WA 98007
Practice rack location: Inside the bus shelter atrium in front of the parking garage at the main campus next to the vending machines. Instructions are posted next to the rack. To make an appointment for personal assistance, contact the Office of Sustainability by sending an email or calling 425-564-2720.
- North Seattle College at 9600 College Way N, Seattle, WA 98103.
Practice rack location: On the sidewalk along College Way by the flag plaza. Instructions are posted at the rack. To make an appointment for personal assistance, contact Mohamed Hamza, Transportation Coordinator, by sending an email or calling 206-934-0060.
- University of Washington Seattle Campus at 1320 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98105.
The UW practice rack is located at the corner of University Way (“The Ave”) and Campus Parkway. It is in the Transportation Services office courtyard, next to the bike racks, and is available for practice use 24/7. For more information or assistance, contact UW Transportation Services by sending an email or calling 206-616-7493
- Alki Bike & Board at 2606 California Ave SW, Seattle WA 98116.
Customers should check shop hours before visiting to test the rack. 206-938-3322
- Highline College at 2400 S 240 St, Des Moines, WA 98198.
Practice rack location: Next to the bus shelter located on the south side of campus (view PDF map). To make an appointment for personal assistance, contact the Director of Facilities by calling 206-878-3710 ext. 3793.