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.
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.
Bicyclists are responsible for any personal injuries or loss as a result of their negligence on any Metro vehicles or while on Metro property.
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!
As of June 22, 2019, the service to carry extra bikes on SR 520 out-of-service buses had to end because the Montlake freeway stops on SR 520 (eastbound and westbound) closed permanently for long-term WSDOT construction.
When construction finishes in several years, new transit stops will be located on a future Montlake lid over the freeway. If you travel SR 520 on Metro or Sound Transit buses—with or without a bike—please check Trip Planner in this area.
Learn more about SR 520 Montlake construction.
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:
- 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 Trip Planner 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. Most e-bikes are too heavy for bus bike racks. Cargo bikes are too long. See limits for size, weight, types of bikes and accessories under Types of Bikes.
Boats – King County Water Taxis and Kitsap Fast Ferries have racks for 10-26 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 Ride and West Seattle Water Taxi connecting shuttles 773 and 775. Metro’s regular rack loading instructions and rules apply for size, weight, type of bike and accessories.
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 bus bike racks fit standard adult bikes. Read the size and weight limits for bikes on the front rack under Types of bikes.
Most e-bikes are too heavy for the front-mounted bus bike rack. 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.
Some bikes may be too long or have tires that are too wide.
There are alternatives if your e-bike is too heavy or big for the bus rack:
- Park it in a bike locker or bike cage at a transit facility if you don’t need to ride it at the other end of your transit trip. Find bike locker and cage locations here.
- Roll your bike onto Link Light Rail, Sounder Commuter Rail or the Seattle Streetcar, then bike the rest of the way. Even if it’s a slightly longer distance than on a bus, the ride might be easier using your e-bike.
- Your e-bike probably makes it easier to ride hills and longer distances. You may find that you don’t need to take your bike on transit as much as you would with a pedal-only bike.
- Consider picking up a shared bike or scooter at the start of end of your transit trip, where available, so that you don’t need to take a bike on transit at all.
The policy for scooters inside the bus is the same as the policy for bikes: only those that can be folded are permitted. Folding bicycles and folding scooters are allowed on the bus, provided they can be safely stowed out of the aisle. The customer must ensure that wheels and other frame extrusions such as pedals are stored in one compact form and do not pose a danger to customers.
In any case, the bus driver’s judgment prevails if the bus is crowded or if the item is causing an issue of safety or discomfort to passengers.
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. Availability changes often, so we don’t publish wait lists.
A reservation feature is not currently available, but you can look at the BikeLink map to see continually refreshed openings (click on a location which opens a window about the site’s status). So far we have plenty of lockers available at the places they’re installed.
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.
When using bike share or scooter share to connect to transit, your most important consideration should be safety and courtesy toward others. Do not park on a rail station platform or inside or in the way of a shelter, bench, sign, information kiosk or ORCA reader. Ride slowly in the presence of other people when approaching the stop. Do not park where the bike will block any pathway leading to the stop. Keep in mind the needs of people who get to the stop and onto the bus in a wheelchair or other mobility device, and those who have vision limitations and could trip over a bike that’s in the pathway. All local cities with authorized bike share or scooter share have specific rules about parking that can be viewed on their web pages. The cities also provide contacts to report mis-parked devices.
Bike lockers are provided only for transit customers to store their bike (or scooter) and gear when connecting to transit. It is a violation of your agreement to store non-bike/scooter related items in the locker or to use the locker in place of home or work storage. For bike parking at home or work, ask your residential or commercial property manager or find out if your employer has an employee transportation coordinator who can direct you.
Several factors contribute to our location decisions, including: lack of current secure bike parking; over-crowded car parking (bike lockers give an option to driving and parking a car); bike access to the location; high-demand for bikes on buses; leased locker wait list (on-demand lockers allow for turnover of users in a similar amount of space and reduce multi-day vacancies); transit ridership; geographic distribution across our system; property ownership and available space; funding. These factors involve trade-offs, so we do the best we can!
Equity is a critical to all our decisions. We support biking as an affordable mode of travel, which combines with transit to expand where and when someone can get where they need to go. On-demand bike lockers are more affordable and accessible for a wider range of users than leased lockers. They’re low cost, they don’t require a long-term commitment, and a user can park at any location. Together, Metro and Sound Transit are distributing these lockers widely so that they are convenient to many more people than in the past.
Metro does want to encourage biking and walking to our service. Open bike racks are available at every park-and-ride/transit center at no charge. Bike lockers have value as separate secure spaces for each bike, and the on-demand lockers are set at a very inexpensive pay-as-you go price of 5 cents per hour with no need to commit to any level of use. This system gives users flexibility and encourages turn-over so the lockers are available to many people.
Metro has considered cages but decided they’re not well-suited to our locations. Sound Transit has several bike cages now, and more are designed into some of the future Link stations opening in the next few years.
Not at present. Our vendor is working on an app as well as a way to use ORCA cards. For now, you will need to get a BikeLink card loaded with $20 to start, activate it by tying it to a credit or debit card for any rental costs beyond the initial $20.
Nearly all of the on-demand and leased bike lockers fit a standard adult bike and some gear like a helmet, bike clothing and shoes, tools. The space is not big enough for an oversized bike. The interior is wedge-shaped, about 75" long by 26" wide at the door end, narrowing to about 5" inches at the back (load with handlebars at the door end). Lockers have no floors, so your other items will rest on the ground unless you hang them from your bike. One exception: At UW Link station (Husky Stadium) the lower level of the two-level lockers are full rectangles with interior dimensions of 84" by 34."
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.
Follow the directions on our Lost and Found page. If the bike is found it will be tagged and you’ll get a case number with instructions on where and how to pick it up. Bikes will be held for 10 days. Once you have a case number, you may authorize someone else to make the pickup for you. Remember that Metro is not responsible for your property.
First, try our Lost and Found page to see if it’s been found. Also, register your bike on BikeIndex.org, file a police report in the city where you think the theft occurred, check re-sale shops and sites like Goodwill, Craigslist or OfferUp, and post on Twitter, neighborhood blogs and other sites where neighbors and police may be able to keep an eye open for your bike. Remember that Metro is not responsible for your property.
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.
Bicycling maps and resources
Mapas y recursos sobre ciclismo
- Bike Works
- BikeIndex (registra tu bicicleta y búscala si te la roban)
- Cascade Bicycle Club
- Ciudad de Bellevue
- Ciudad de Redmond
- Mapas de rutas para ciclismo en la ciudad de Seattle
- Programa de bicicletas de la ciudad de Seattle
- Ciudad de Tukwila
- Commute Seattle
- Senderos regionales de los parques del Condado de King
- The Bikery
Bicicletas en otros servicios de transporte
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.
- Kirkland Transit Center/Peter Kirk Park at 202 3rd St, Kirkland, WA 98033
Practice rack location: At the far side of the transit center located on 3rd Street, south of the Kirkland Athletic Field and north of the Kirkland Library. The practice rack is right next to the pedestrian path leading into Peter Kirk Park (view PDF map). Instructions are posted next to the rack.
- 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.