Marking shared lanes

I have mixed feelings about “sharrows”.

While they do remind people who drive that there are also people who ride bikes …

and they do suggest where it might be best for people to ride their bike …

I simply cannot have enough faith to actually use them everywhere. Taking the centre of the travelling lane with 50 kmh vehicles just doesn’t coincide with my sense of personal safety:


And the traffic engineer folks put them down at a spacing suitable for motorists going the maximum speed limit, usually 50 kmh. Is there any thought to how often they are really visible to drivers in mixed traffic or light congestion?

All too often I find myself being another gutter bunny, riding close to the side of the road.

Bunnies, of course, are the abundant food source for other animals, and in the urban environment, fodder for dooring.

So this more aggressive super sharrow is sorta better:


When traffic is busy enough to be slow enough, I will find myself using the lane. It helps that bus drivers and city truck drivers seem to be trained to stay back a less-pressuring distance. The Dooring message may educated some drivers as to why the cyclist is put out in  centre front of her wheels.

If one connects all those super sharrows together, you can get a bike lane superimposed on a general traffic lane. Here’s one I saw last week in Cambridge (Boston) MA:


The continuous dotted route makes it look more like a real, continuous lane. The right curb side sign advises cyclists to take the full lane and motorists to change lanes to pass.


This is getting, by slow degrees, towards the Netherlands practice of painting a coloured bike lane down the centre of a traffic lane on very low speed local residential streets, which indicates to motorists that they are guests.

2 thoughts on “Marking shared lanes

  1. Well be that as it may, you are still swimming with vehculer sharks. I take to the sidewalk when I sense dangerous sections. I have been told by police that it is not legal, but when I justify it by my age and strong sense of survival, I get a polite (“sir”) warning and I cintinue.

  2. I totally agree with taking the sidewalk at certain junctures. It is not worth your life on some of the roads. I slow down and walk my bike on the sidewalk and have yet to encounter any opposition.

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