What’s a Sharrow?

They are in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan. Portland and San Francisco have them already.



9 Comments

We have those here in Minneapolis. I figured it was just a typical mpls half-hearted attempt at a bike lane and calling itself progressive. The one on Bryant Ave is one traffic lane in each direction with no room for bikes on the side anyway. It’s pretty much useless.

Sharrows were pioneered in Denver in the 90s. Fort Collins, CO has sharrows, and I’ve also seen them in Boulder, CO & San Jose, CA. I like ‘em.

these just started popping up all over seattle.  what a joke!  wait… bikes could use that space before, right?  is anything different now that there is a ‘sharrow’ painted on the road?  are bikes suddenly safer because there is a little more jack*ss distraction painted on the road?  these are the most useless, half-hearted, ridiculous things i’ve ever seen.  i can already hear the various politicians in seattle bragging about our increased miles of “bike lanes.”  hardy har har—these are more like sucker punches to lure more bicycles out for a pounding.  i am not even a bicyclist, nor rabid community builder, but this is such a ludicrous pretense of a pro-bicycle policy that it chafes my hide.

Jack,

I hear ya, but from a cyclists perspective, lines do help. Yes, you can ride in that same space with or without the sharrow. The sharrow is visually indicating that cyclists are going to be in that space. I don’t think it’s a fix to bike lanes, but it’s going to help at least somewhat. See my other post on [Sharrows here](http://bikehugger.com/2007/07/hello_sharrow.htm).

Sharrows, on roads with the right conditions, are far superior to any bike-lane. Virtually impossible to get hit by an opening car door, right-hooked at an intersection, or any of the other myriad problems specific to bike-lanes (which continue to kill cyclists even in that “utopia” of cycling, Portland) when you ride on these streets like you’re supposed to; in the middle of the lane. If you want to stick yourself in the gutter, expose yourself to debris that can flatten your tire, and encourage cars and trucks to pass you within inches of your life by riding in a manner which tells them you don’t belong on the road, you’ll be treated as such.

I wouldn’t call them a waste.  It lets motorists know that bikes also have the right to share the road.  It helps accomodate bicyclists when there isn’t enough right of way space to accomodate the acceptable design of bike lanes, which could cause liability to DOTs.  Idiot.

Sharrows are like yield & merge signs, or like roundabouts: Plenty of ingnorant drivers don’t know what they are or what purpose they serve.

I think in the inner city, where concentrated traffic is a problem, divided bike lanes serve better than do sharrows:

<a href=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONS2ptAR4mo” rel=“nofollow”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONS2ptAR4mo</a>

Lanes and sharrows here in Minneapolis, as demonstrated in the video in NYC or other cities, are many times treated as purely discretionary and serve only as a temporary solution.

Joey Brooks ( http://joey-bike.blogspot.com/ ) has come up with his own style of street commuting that looks
out of control but is actually practical and works for the hostile, un-bike-friendly city that he has to ride: New Orleans. Also: <a href=“http://www.vimeo.com/2626739” rel=“nofollow”>http://www.vimeo.com/2626739</a>

I will copy and paste this everywhere. Love

Sharrows are worse than useless. True, they make car drivers understand that any marked sharrow is there to share with bikes, but the flipside of that is that it tends to confirm the widely held belief that bikes are NOT allowed anywhere else.

Current law follows the philosophy that EVERY non-freeway road whose speed limit is under 50 is open to bicycles and should be shared with them, whether it’s marked or not. Marking some of these roads with cute bicycle images only serves to make it seem like these roads are the only roads we belong on.

Cyclists have a right to ride on every <50mph road. If automobile drivers don’t understand that, then they need to get off our streets.

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