Understanding the new facilities on Olympic Drive


Olympic Drive is one of the busiest roads on Bainbridge Island — it's how most people travel to and from the ferry. The City of Bainbridge Island designed a project along Olympic Drive to improve safety for all users — people who walk, bike and drive. Wider sidewalks, new bike lanes and other non-motorized improvements will ensure continued safety and accessibility to and from the ferry. The project is expected to be complete in November. The following information and graphics will help all users understand many of the new improvements.

What do people walking need to know?

  • People walking will use the same route to and from the ferry that you used prior to construction. Along Olympic Drive, from Harborview Drive to Winslow Way, you’ll notice wider sidewalks to better accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, etc. and to keep people out of the street. 
  • There are now signals with visual and audible cues to indicate when to cross the street safely. As an additional measure, tactile warning strips were also added to indicate the boundaries of the sidewalks.

What do people biking need to know?

  • There are bicycle lanes to improve safety - please use them. 
  • Pay attention to new pavement markings.
  • As you exit the ferry, there are two bicycle lanes heading north (continue reading for more details).

What do drivers need to know?

  • There are separated bicycle, pedestrian and driving lanes to improve safety for all modes of transportation.
  • To help you navigate through the new, safer Olympic Drive corridor drivers will notice: 
    • New stop bars (solid white lines) where drivers are required to stop in advance of bike boxes
    • Green pavement markings
    • Bicycle pavement symbols to increase the visibility of people biking
    • New signs
    • New striping on all bike lanes and motorized lanes (the lanes are narrower for cars – please stay in your lanes)

What is a sharrow?

Sharrows are used to indicate a shared lane for bicycles and vehicles. Drivers should keep an eye out for people biking.

Bike Lanes - NACTO
Credit: NACTO.org

Bike Lanes

A bicycle lane is a portion of a street dedicated for bicycles. Bicycle lanes are marked with solid white lines and bike symbols and may be filled with green paint.

There will be two dedicated bike lanes exiting the ferry terminal north on Olympic Drive, beginning near Harborview Drive: take the northbound right-side bike lane or center bike lane. Continue reading for more details on which lane to choose.

Bicyclists traveling south to the ferry will have a separated bike lane on the west side, beginning near Waypoint Park.
Green Pavement Markings - NACTO
Credit: NACTO.org

What does the green pavement mean?

Along Olympic Drive you will see patches of green pavement to increase the visibility of bike lanes and remind people driving to pay extra attention and yield to people biking. The City did not paint the entire stretch of bike lanes green along Olympic Drive due to costs (too expensive to put down and maintain).

Transition Lane - NACTO
Credit: NACTO.org

What are the dashed white lines?

These are bicycle transition lanes. Bicycle transition lanes are white dashes on the road that guide bicyclists from one bicycle facility to another.

What is a bike box?

A bike box is a dedicated area of pavement that improves safety for people biking by making them more visible to approaching drivers. The bike box is green with a white bicycle symbol inside. Bike boxes are being installed to raise visibility and awareness of people biking. There will be a bike box at Olympic Drive and Harborview Drive and at the intersection of Olympic Drive and Winslow Way.

People biking: 
When the traffic signal is red, bikes ride into the bike box, ahead of people driving, and wait for a green signal.  When the light turns green, bikes will proceed.

People driving: 
When the traffic signal is red, people driving must stop and wait behind the white stop bar. When the traffic signal turns green, people driving must yield to bikes before proceeding or making a turn.

Safety Buffer - NACTO
Credit: NACTO.org

What is a safety buffer?

A safety buffer creates a separation between people biking and driving. The safety buffer is marked with two solid white lines and interior diagonal cross hatching and has plastic delineators in the middle. You will see safety buffers along the center of Olympic Drive and Winslow Way.

I'm exiting the ferry, which bicycle lane do I choose? 

Bikes exiting the ferry have two dedicated bike lanes to choose from: the northbound right-side bike lane or the center bike lane.  See graphic below.

Choose Your Bike Lane

If you take the center bike lane, you can:

  • Continue north on Olympic Drive to eventually make a left on Winslow Way.
    • When you approach the Olympic Drive-Winslow Way intersection and the light turns green, bikes will turn left by traveling from the green bike box to the green center bike lane on Winslow Way. Cars wait for the bikes to clear, then cars proceed straight or left to Winslow Way.
  • Turn left on Harborview Drive to access the Waterfront Trail.

If you take the right-side bike lane, you can:

  • Continue north to access the Sound to Olympics Trail.
  • Continue north and turn right on Winslow Way. 
  • Continue north and use a new two-stage turn box to make a left on Winslow Way (if you're not comfortable using the center bike lane). Continue reading to learn about the two-stage turn box.

What is a two-stage turn box? 


 A two-stage turn box gives bicyclists a safe way to make turns at multi-lane signalized intersections. The two-stage turn box is green with a bicycle symbol inside and an arrow. If you travel in the northbound right-side bike lane on Olympic Drive and would like to turn left on Winslow Way, you will use the two-stage turn box.

How does a bicyclist use a two-stage turn box?

When the traffic signal is green, people biking ride into the bike box in the intersection of Winslow Way & SR 305 (Olympic Drive). The bicyclist then repositions the bike and stops to wait for another green signal. When the light turns green, proceed west on Winslow Way to the green center bike lane. Stay in the center bike lane.

What are the new signs?

Turning Vehicles Yield to Bicycles

Turning vehicles yield to bikes
Location:  Intersection of Winslow Way & SR 305

W6-3 Mod 2-Way Traffic L-turn Bike Lane

Two-way traffic
Drivers should be aware of oncoming bicycles
Location:  Winslow Way; SR 305

Turning Veh STOP Ped Bike

Turning vehicles stop for pedestrians & bicycles
Location:  Olympic Drive & Harborview Drive

Traffic Signal Display for Bikes

Signal display for bicyclists

Location:  Olympic Drive & Harborview Drive

Push button for bike green light

Bicycle push button 

Location: Olympic Drive & Harborview Drive


Push the button on the traffic pole at Olympic Drive to activate the bike signal at Olympic Drive & Harborview Drive. There will be an approaching sign for the push button.


No Left Turn Sign

What happens after bikes make a left on Winslow Way heading west?

  • People biking travel west on Winslow Way in the center, then will merge with cars into a shared lane near the ravine (across from the former That's A Some Pizza shop). A shared lane marking (sharrow) will indicate this transition to a shared lane.

  • It's important for drivers in this area to remember that there is a "no left turn" sign at Bjune Drive and Winslow Way 6-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. Monday to Friday.

    Please follow the traffic rules for the safety of everyone on the road!

What are the changes on Winslow Way near Cave Avenue?

  • As people biking travel west on Winslow Way, they will transition into a shared lane with cars near Cave Avenue. As bikes approach the intersection, there is a bike box for bikes to wait before proceeding west to Winslow Way or south to the ferry. Bikes and cars turning north (right) at the intersection will share the lane.

If I’m riding a bike west on Winslow Way (near Cave Avenue) and approaching a red light at the intersection, do I ride ahead of the cars already at the stop light to get inside the bike box?

  • No, if cars are stopped at the red light (behind the bike box) then the approaching bicyclist must wait in the shared lane. Do not ride ahead of cars into the bike box.  It is unsafe to pull into a bike box in front of waiting cars if the light has been red for a while and is about to turn green.
  • Entering a bike box just before or as the signal turns green puts cyclists directly in front of cars at a time when the cyclists are likely preparing to come to a stop, rather than to immediately start moving. Drivers may only be looking at the signal, and not aware of cyclists entering the bike box just before or as the signal turns green.

Why are there bike lanes in the center of the road?

  • This is a unique situation due to the number of bicyclists who exit the ferry at one time. Approximately 8 in 10 bicyclists headed northbound from the ferry on Olympic Drive turn left onto Winslow Way. Ideally, the City would have provided a dedicated left turn lane to accommodate both cars and bikes on Olympic Drive. However, there is not adequate space for that. The State needs to maintain two lanes northbound for cars to unload the ferry. So, the best alternative to accommodate bikes and motor vehicles is to maintain the straight-left turn lane and add a bike only left turn lane.
  • The center bike lane on Winslow Way was needed to accommodate bikes turning left from the center lane of Olympic Drive. This center lane will also work well for bicyclists traveling west from the two-stage turn box or east leg of the Winslow Way intersection.
  • Also, the bike lane addresses a major safety concern as northbound cyclists were previously riding up the southbound lane into oncoming traffic to turn left. The bike lanes and bike boxes provide better separation of modes of transportation which makes the roadway safer and more efficient for all users.

Why did the placement of the “stop bar” in the southbound lane of SR 305 at Winslow Way change?

  • The white stop bar in the southbound lane of SR 305 at Winslow Way shifted 50 feet north of the previous stop bar. This was done for several reasons:
    • To help with the transition of the lane shift on southbound Olympic Drive. Shifting of the lanes requires a “taper” distance that allows the vehicles to smoothly shift lanes.
    • Provide space for southbound vehicles and bicycles making a right turn to Winslow Way.

Stop Line for Ferry WaitingA sign ("Stop Line for Ferry Waiting") was placed near the new stop bar to let ferry passengers know where to stop when there’s a red light.

  • Bicycles traveling to the ferry must wait at the stop bar with vehicles. Bikes can wait in the fog line at the beginning of the stop bar and advance when the light is green. 

  • Cars and bikes should not wait in the space between the stop bar and intersection. It is a violation to ignore posted signs and people can face monetary fines.

Will the City be monitoring the changes?

  • Yes, the City will be doing post-construction monitoring to track the experimental facility markings and report back to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as to how the facilities are performing and whether or not adjustments are in order.

Share the Road

Everyone should do their part to keep the roads safe. The safety of bicyclists on the road is a responsibility shared by both drivers and bicyclists. All bicyclists have the same rights, duties, and responsibilities of a motor vehicle driver. Motorists and riders who do not obey traffic laws can be ticketed. (Source: Washington Driver’s Manual – 2019)

Driver Reminders

  • If you are on a street with a bicycle lane, check behind you for oncoming bicyclists and yield to them before making your turn. They may be moving toward you faster than you realize.
  • Drivers crossing a sidewalk at driveways must yield to bicyclists on the sidewalk. Bicyclists riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
  • Drivers must yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane. Do not drive in a bicycle lane except when you need to cross the bicycle lane to park near the curb. Never park in a bicycle lane.
  • Pass to the left of a pedestrian or bicyclist that is on the right-hand shoulder or bicycle lane at a distance that will clearly avoid coming into contact with them.
  • If parked at a curb, look before you open any door in the path of a car, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

Bicyclist Reminders

  • Currently, there is no state law requiring helmet use. However, the City of Bainbridge Island does have a law requiring helmets for all ages.
  • Bicyclists must use hand signals before turning. 
  • Bicyclists have the choice to ride on the roadway, on the shoulder of a road, in a bicycle lane, or on a sidewalk where it is legal to do so. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks or in crosswalks. Use an audible signal to warn pedestrians before passing.
  • Bicyclists may ride in groups on designated bicycle paths and lanes. On public roads, they may ride either single file or in pairs.
  • When riding at night, the bicycle must have a steady white headlight visible for 500 feet and a red reflector visible for 600 feet to the rear. A flashing taillight or a steady red taillight may be used in addition to the red reflector.
  • Never ride against traffic – Motorists do not look for, or expect, bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the roadway.

TITLE VI:  The City of Bainbridge Island fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statues in all programs and activities. Those requiring disability accommodations, please contact the City Clerk at 206-842-2545, or email.