How-To's & Tips
Cycling Event Route Marking Instructions
“S. A. F. E.” … is the Way to Go!
All RouteArrows Left of the White Line
Five RouteArrows Per Turn
Every Pre-Turn RouteArrow placed at 45°
“ RouteArrows are
Downloadable Instructions Below:Download PDF Instructions
• 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!
• Left of the WL 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.
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!
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.
• 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.
RouteArrows Removal Info & Instructions
RouteArrows are designed to be left behind after your event, but they can also be easily removed if needed. They are made with 3 simple ingredients; paper, water-based inks, and adhesive. That’s why we say they’re “eco-friendly”.
RouteArrows are worn away by daily traffic but they will not magically disappear from wherever they are placed! Arrows located near the STOP line will wear away the quickest, as will those that get wet. But Arrows placed to the right of the white line, out of traffic, will last much longer than Arrows placed just to the left, in the traffic.
Two labels placed on each roll of RouteArrows have this simple message:
“Please remove RouteArrows from trails, paths and pedestrian areas after your event. Thank You! ”
The only criticism we receive at RouteArrows.com are from people who feel their neighborhood or their path is littered with Arrows after an event. Please be mindful of this issue when placing your Arrows and when planning for any removal.
Arrow removal might appear to be a tedious job, but fortunately it’s not difficult and it can also be beneficial to your event’s future growth by creating local good will.
There are two basic “Used Arrow” categories:
Still whole and intact; exposed to a little if any traffic
To aid removal when placing Arrows: fold the tip under just a bit, about ¼”, which creates a small “tab to grab”. When you return to remove them, lift the Arrow slow and steady, at an angle and speed that avoids tearing, not fast like a Band-Aid! The best technique will soon become evident. If it tears, use the first piece, or another Arrow, or have some duct tape handy to help lift off the remaining Arrow piece(s).
Without a folded tip: use a tool such as a metal putty knife to start the lifting process. Avoid using your fingernails. Pick then lift the tip or a front edge, but not the tails, they will tear more easily. As before, lift the Arrow slow and steady at an angle that avoids tearing. Bring a small bag to transport the waded bits of paper to your local recycle bin. Remember to wear Hi-Viz clothing and to keep an eye on traffic!
Abraded and pressed into pavement by a lot of traffic
These are best removed with the “Water and Wire Brush” method. You simply wet the Arrows and then brush them into bits of mush. The more worn the Arrows are, the better this method works! This is also better when removing lots of Arrows in clusters.
1.) A supply of water: bring 5 or more (used) 1 gallon jugs, then refill as needed.
2.) A wire Block Brush with approx. 1.25” metal bristles, available at most hardware and paint stores. Important: it must have a threaded hole(s) for a handle! Don’t use plastic or fiber bristle brushes, they’re not stiff enough.
3.) A handle: they’re usually 60” long, available in wood, metal or fiberglass.
4.) Work gloves to avoid blisters from the handle.
5.) A good sun hat and sunglasses.
6.) Cold beverages!
Work in teams of two if possible; one person wets the Arrows while the other does the brushing. Pour just enough water to saturate the Arrows, wait a few seconds and then brush with short strokes across the Arrows width. Hold the handle near vertical so the bristles make full contact. Just a few brush strokes with moderate to firm pressure will turn them into bits of harmless mush. A last splash of water or two will disperse the residue. Again, wear Hi-Viz clothing and always keep an eye out for any traffic!
More Options & Info
Another removal method, as mentioned earlier, uses duct tape. It’s an easy method, especially if you only have a few Arrows to remove. It can work with Fresh or Worn Arrows when they’re dry, but not if they’re damp. Use a 10” piece of tape, stick most of it to the Arrow the long way, then lift off the whole Arrow, or any small torn bits.
Determining which method to use at any given Arrow location will only take a little time and experience, but it’s nice to have multiple options and the tools on hand. It’s safe to say that you will probably encounter both Fresh and Worn Arrows afterwards!
Scheduling the Arrow removal within 2 days of your event is optimum. I once had a person come up and thank me, appreciative that the cycling event cared enough to remove the Arrows the day after. Few if any will notice, or cares about your Arrows left on a lonely country road or on a busy urban thoroughfare and most cycling events are many miles of both. But any Arrows placed on pedestrian paths, on sidewalks, or any other places frequented by those on foot, should be removed after your event.
Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this information. Our goal here at RouteArrows is to make the route marking equation as simple and easy as possible, to help an event do a great job and make the total event experience rewarding for the participants, the organizers and the surrounding community alike.
Storing Rolls of RouteArrows:
Hello RouteArrows Family!
As the event season winds down, you might have partial rolls of RouteArrows that you will want to use in the future!
The adhesive may diminish slightly if left out in the open,
so it is a good idea to store them in an air-tight 1 gallon
Zip-Loc™ baggy – to maintain stickiness!
Calculating Partial Rolls of RouteArrows:
If you have a Gram Scale: (kitchen food scale)
A full / unused roll of RouteArrows weigh 845 grams.
The 3” cardboard core weighs 45 grams.
So, the 250 RouteArrows weigh 800 grams!
Therefore, each RouteArrow (plus its backing paper) weighs 3.2 grams!
Use this equation to find the number of RouteArrows remaining on your roll:
X (your partial roll of RouteArrows weight in grams) minus 45 (weight of core) equals Y (weight of your Arrows without core)
X – 45 = Y
Y ÷ 3.2 grams = Z (# of Arrows remaining)
If your partial roll weighs 253 grams, subtract 45 grams = 208 grams.
Divide 208 by 3.2 = 65 RouteArrows left for your next event!
If you have an Ounce Scale:
A full roll of RouteArrows weigh about 29.5 oz.
The 3” cardboard core weighs 1.5 oz, so 250 RouteArrows weigh 28 oz!
Therefore, each RouteArrow (plus its backing paper) weighs 0.112 oz.
Use this equation to find the number of RouteArrows remaining on your roll:
X (your partial roll of RouteArrows weight in ounces) minus 1.5 (weight of core) equals Y (weight of your Arrows without core)
X – 1.5 = Y
Y ÷ 0.112 = Z (the number of remaining RouteArrows!)
1) It’s always a good idea to be generous when marking your event routes, because as the saying goes “people don’t make wrong turns…. they miss the right ones!” If you need help calculating how many RouteArrows you need per route, see our FAQ’s page.
2) We always recommend ordering your rolls of RouteArrows about 1- 2 months ahead of time to eliminate any last minute issues and pre event stress!
3) We’re getting amazing feedback on the ease and efficiency of RouteCans, order yours now for next year’s event and your marking team will really appreciate it!