What are "sharrows?"
Shared Lane Markings (sometimes called sharrows) are street markings that are installed in some locations on streets as an awareness tool to serve two main purposes:
- Provide guidance to bicyclists as to where they should ride on a shared roadway as in away from the open door area of parked cars; not weaving in and out of traffic; riding with traffic, not against it; not riding on sidewalks, etc.
- Alert motorists to the possible presence of bicyclists, set expectations as to where the bicyclists will be riding, and as a reminder to share the road.
Shared Lane Markings are a relatively new pavement marking. They were approved for use nationally by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in December 2009 after several years of research and testing in various cities around the U.S.
Traffic Engineering will be installing the markings at some locations around the community this year. The initial set were installed on Tejon Avenue between Cache Le Poudre and Willamette. Additional markings will be going in around the community this summer, including marking a pathway from Memorial Park to America the Beautiful Park.
Studies of shared lane markings from other communities have shown several benefits:
- Bicyclists position themselves further from parked cars to stay out of the door zone
- Passing motorists give more room to bicyclists
- Fewer bicyclists ride on the sidewalk
- Fewer bicyclists ride the wrong way
Shared lane markings are not a replacement for bicycle lanes, but are used only in certain circumstances such as a disconnect in the existing bike lane network, a lack of parallel routes, slow vehicle speeds, significant bicycle traffic, and an inability to remove parking to add a bike lane. Shared lane markings can also be used in circumstances where a bicycle lane might be desired but has proven unfeasible at this time.