I hope this doesn't sound like a silly question. I'm genuinely puzzled by what my city would have me interpret of the two.
We certainly have a few bike lanes, which I take are actually sections of a public road which have been designated specifically for bike travel. Those are easy to spot.
However, I'm puzzled by various signs (and maps) we have around for "bike routes" Generally there is a road with general traffic with no shoulder, and usually a sidewalk to the side. Am I to assume that a bike route is just a sidewalk for me to ride on next to a road? They vary in size from a typcal sidewalk width, to maybe a driveway's width. Or does the bike route intend for me to make use of the actual road-way?