Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How About A Little Sharrow Around Here

How much success do you think we would get if we ask the DOT, the cities and the counties to mark their busy roads used by bicyclists with "sharrows?"


sharrow n. A chevron-and-bike logo painted on a road lane to indicate that the lane is to be shared by both cars and bicycles.
Example Citations:

An ongoing safety measure being implemented in Thousand Oaks is the painting of "sharrows" on Thousand Oaks Boulevard between Moorpark Road and Duesenburg Drive.

The road marking, two forward arrows along with the familiar white bicycle logo, is used to show motorists and cyclists a safe, shared path on roads that cannot accommodate a continuous bike lane.
—Charles Ellis, "Cyclists learn how to pedal in traffic," Ventura County Star, October 19, 2008

Sharrows ... are perhaps the best tool for multi-modal transit safety that Santa Fe has seen in recent years — and at a very low cost. Sharrows currently mark select Santa Fe streets to remind both cyclists and motorists that the safest place for bikes on any narrow street is right in the middle of the lane, not on sidewalks, and not in the gutter.

Sharrows are supposed to be intuitive educational devices, but perhaps a little introduction is necessary. The idea is that on narrow urban streets, particularly roadways less than 13 feet wide or with heavy streetside parking, the safest place for bicycles is in the traffic lane with the flow of other vehicles.

This is the safest position for maximum visibility and predictability. By taking the lane, cyclists avoid dangerous hazards such as storm drains and open car doors. Additionally, sharrows serve as a reminder to motorists that by state law cyclists are entitled to use the full lane whenever and wherever they judge it to be "practicable."
—Dan Baker, "Share the road; it's bike weather," The Santa Fe New Mexican, May 18, 2008

Earliest Citation:

Mayer expressed his concerns about using a sharrow on streets with parking. He believes that they should be used in locations with narrow outside lanes without parking. He also believes that staff should construct a bike lane and allow parking in the bike lane during non-commute hours.
—"Meeting Minutes," Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, July 17, 2003

Notes:


Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
The word sharrow is a shortening of the phrase shared-lane arrow (or sometimes shared use arrow). They're also called shared-lane markings.

1 comment:

Donny said...

Sounds great, except for two things. First, they will just complain about the ridiculously high cost of paint (which spending tens or hundreds of times more on expanding the road so more cars can fit) and second, they will just claim that it's not safe enough for bicyclists and we belong on the sidewalk. >.<

I, however, think sharrows are a great idea.