At its just completed winter meeting held January 17-19 in Arlington, Virginia, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices voted 35-0-3 to endorse the shared lane marking ("sharrow") and forward it to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for potential inclusion in the next edition of the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). (Read more.)
I'm a big fan of "sharrows," which were introduced in San Francisco in 2004. The city's study demonstrated that "sharrows" improved roadway positioning of both bicyclists and motorists, getting cyclists well outside the dangerous "door zone," while drivers gave more clearance when passing. The "sharrow" also reduced wrong-way riding by bicyclists.
After San Francisco's experience, the "sharrow" was adopted as an official marking by Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation. Many cities, including New York City, Portland and Los Angeles, have begun painting "sharrows" on their streets. The pavement marking is now advancing through national road authorities for approved use on streets across the U.S.
True, a Class II (on-street striped bike lane) facility is preferred. But where government agencies are reluctant to remove parking to create a bike lane, a "sharrow" is a great improvement. It legitimizes bicycling on streets, providing a strong visual cue to both motorists and bicyclists, transcending language barriers to clearly illustrate proper lane placement.
Image: Paul Dorn. Sharrow on Steiner Street in San Francisco.
Visit: "Sharrows" aim to help cars and bikes share roads, Christian Science Monitor, 08.31.05
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
Monday, January 22, 2007
Posted by Paul Dorn at 8:00 AM