Cycling Event Route Marking Instructions

“RouteArrows are the BEST bike route marking method!”

“S. A. F. E.”… is the Way to Go!

Safety First

All RouteArrows Left of the White Line

Five Per Turn

Every RouteArrow placed at 45°

Downloadable Instruction Pages

Page 1 Graphics:

Page 2 Written:

RouteArrows Marking Instructions

Safety First!

  • Work in teams of 2-3: 1 driver and 1-2 placing RouteArrows. Working solo is slower and less safe.
  • Wear High-Visibility clothing such as safety vests, safety hats, blinking lights; being very visible is better!
  • Work during lowest possible traffic and in daylight hours. If that isn’t possible, also wear reflective clothing!
  • Of course, if you have the time and ability, you can ride your bike(s) on the route marking project!
  • Park your car past the turn, place the last or “confirmation” RouteArrow first and face oncoming traffic.
  • Have the spotter/helper give RouteArrows to the placer and always keep an eye on any traffic!

All RouteArrows Placed Left of the White Line

  • LWL is commonly much smoother and cleaner which facilitates better adhesion with the pavement surface.
  • RouteArrows placed LWL are worn away much faster from traffic, thus eliminating the need for removal.
  • LWL is in the riders “Zone Of Awareness” where RouteArrows will grab their attention much better then elsewhere.
  • All three of these benefit are only achieved LWL. 1) Best Adhesion, 2) Shortest Life, 3) Most Noticeable.
  • Even if there is a very wide shoulder or bike lane, place RouteArrows LWL. (See points above!)
  • DO NOT put RouteArrows on top of any white painted lines or words (i.e. STOP). Stay 2-3 inches away from white lines.
  • A white background reduces RouteArrows’ contrast and therefor their visibility compared to dark-grey roads.
  • If there is no white edge line, then place RouteArrows in the smooth zone (usually found 1-3 ft. left of road edge).
  • If RAIN is forecast: only then should you place RouteArrows over to the right, well out of traffic, thus extending their life.


Events that use bike paths and/or sidewalks
  • Remove ALL RouteArrows that are placed on bike paths and sidewalks right after your event!
  • Only place RouteArrows on bike paths and sidewalks if you plan to remove them.
  • Place RouteArrows on the street, at the entrance to and exit from bike paths and sidewalks.
  • Consider using RouteSigns  when using RouteArrows on paths.
  • To reduce adhesion, place RouteArrows near the path’s pavement edge where they receive less foot/wheel traffic.
  • For RouteArrows that are difficult to remove, (old, well worn, torn) use some water and repeated foot scuffing.
  • A stiff wire brush on a long handle, along with using water to wet the paper is also very effective.
  • Without traffic wear, RouteArrows can and will last for months and are rightly perceived as litter!
  • To Aid Removal, fold under the RouteArrow tip approximately 1/4 inch when placing them.
  • This creates a small “Tab-to-Grab” to start lifting the RouteArrow with a fingernail or (better yet) a metal spatula.


  • For Maximum Visibility, place RouteArrows and RouteLines as close to the event date as possible, within 24 hours is the best.
  • RouteArrows need to be placed on clean/dry pavement; they will not stick to wet, dirty or cold road surfaces
  • Very rough “chip-seal” pavement requires a lot more foot stomping to maximize adhesion to the surface.
  • DO NOT place RouteArrows on:  private property, historical monuments, porta-potties, water fountains, beer trucks, animals, donuts, cops, fences, mailboxes, billboards, road signs, guardrails, light poles, mile markers or any other roadside furniture.
  • RouteArrows will not stick to dirt/gravel roads, hiking trails, grassy fields, tundra, dunes, snow, beaches, playa, hot lava or glaciers.

Five RouteArrows Per Turn

Three RouteArrows Before the Turn
  • These three (or more) are “Preparation” for the riders, that clearly announce their upcoming turn, either left or right.
  • The first of these RouteArrows should be placed far enough back so cyclists can safely slow down for their turn.
  • How far back the first RouteArrows are placed depends on the intersection type and at what speed the riders will be traveling – we suggest a 10-second warning to announce the oncoming turn, but more time can be better!
  • Fast (down hill) riders need more time to slow down, so place these RouteArrows at a greater distance back from the turn.
  • As a point of reference, riders doing 10 mph travel almost 15 ft. per second. Therefore, a 10 second warning requires placing the first RouteArrow about 150 ft. before the turn. That is not very far.
  • Riders commonly go 20 mph, which means the first RouteArrow are placed 300 ft. back.
  • For Left Turn lanes: use 3 or more RouteArrows, LWL, beginning well before the Left Turn lane to sweep the riders over. Continue with 3 or more RouteArrows, also LWL, right up to the stop. Then put one RouteArrow over in the Left Turn lane, right at the line.
  • Remember: most riders really need and appreciate having an ample warning. It’s safer too: no panicky riders attempting turns.
  • This is the route marking crew’s responsibility and challenge! Be generous, using more three RouteArrows pre-turn is just fine!

(Five RouteArrows Per Turn cont.)


One RouteArrow at the Turn
  • This tells riders… “This Is The Turn!”  “Turn Now”  “Go for it”  “Knock yourself out”  “For every season….”  “Hey!! Wake up!”
  • Place this RouteArrow RIGHT AT the point the riders will begin their turn. This can be just before or just past the white “STOP” line.
  • This applies to both left and right-hand turns, with or without a stop sign/light, line or no line.


One RouteArrow Past the Turn
  • This is “Confirmation” that the riders have made the correct turn and are safely on the route!
  • Place these RouteArrows immediately after completing the turn, well within 3 ft!
  • This has two purposes:  1) Confirms the correct turn.  2) It Might catch the attention of an errant rider who has missed the turn.
  • RouteArrows placed well past the turn will never catch an errant rider’s attention.
  • DO NOT use less than three individual RouteArrows or RouteArrow Clusters before the turn, even in “No-Brainer” situations.
  • “Riders don’t make wrong turns, they miss the right one.”


The goal: Give riders plenty of time and distance to safely navigate the turns!


RouteArrows at Non-turns
  • RouteArrows placed along the route as “Affirmation” can be very beneficial, the riders feel well cared for, especially newer ones.
  • They say: “Keep going, you’re still on the route!” on long sections without any turns or through areas with multiple cross streets.
  • They are really appreciated by less experienced riders and those who are unfamiliar with the routes or the area.

Every Turn RouteArrow Placed at a 45° Angle

  • This includes the three or more RouteArrows before the turn and the one RouteArrow right at the turn.
  • The 45° angle makes it much easy to discern the intended turn direction and from a greater distance.
  • DO NOT place RouteArrows at a 90° angle, it is hard to discern the turn direction, even when close to it.
  • Non-turn RouteArrows: “Affirmation” and “Confirmation” are always placed parallel to the direction of travel, not at 45°.


Use a Consistent Marking Pattern
  • On cycling events with more than one route (using multiple colors), place RouteArrows in a consistent pattern or “Cluster” throughout the entire route.
  • Example:   Green = 30 mile route, Yellow = 62mi., and Red = 100mi.,  place Green, Yellow, and Red RouteArrows from left to right, thus denoting the short, medium, and long routes.
  • Clusters of 2 or more RouteArrows, set horizontally LWL, are more visible and attention grabbing than those set vertically, stacked nose to tail, parallel to the white line, and much more distinct than RouteArrows placed many feet apart.
  • Use a consistent horizontal spacing between RouteArrows—we recommend 2-3 inches.


Proper Route Marking Kit
  • In addition to your HI-VIZ gear, bring…
  • Brooms: (push and whisk broom) to sweep possible debris (glass/gravel) from the road and any dust from placement points.
  • Water to remove any pre-existing RouteArrows, and to drink! 2-3 gallon jugs is usually enough.
  • RouteLines: use them for hazard markings (e.g. potholes, bad cracks, etc.) and Start/finish lines!
  • A Trash Bag to collect the wax backing paper after removing the RouteArrows from the roll.
  • Soft-soled shoes with a smoother tread.  This helps to apply even pressure to maximize the RouteArrows adhesion to the road
  • Your events route maps, any available (AAA) street maps, and a GPS to aid your navigation
  • Use the events route maps with a clearly defined and predetermined layout sequence to ensure that all RouteArrows clusters are placed correctly at every turn.

Thank you for choosing RouteArrows

“This is the Way to Go!”