Just what the heck is a Sharrow?

Sharrows have now been in use for years in Southern California. You can see them throughout the City of LA, Hermosa Beach, Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and there are even Sharrows on Sepulveda in Culver City.

What are Sharrows?

Sharrows are simply asphalt markings that remind cars and bikers alike to comply with existing law. They do not change the rules of the road one. However they have been proven to increase drivers and cyclists compliance with the rules of the road.  What most people forget is that people already can legally ride their bikes on America’s roads – Sharrows simply makes riding safer.

                                          
Sharrows are also intended to alert drivers of the presence of bicyclists in the roadway and encourage caution. The benefits of the use of Sharrows are to:

  • Assist bicyclists with positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle.
  • Assist bicyclists with positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane.
  • Alert road users that bicyclists are likely to occupy the same lane.
  • Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists
  • Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
Q.  How do drivers react when they encounter sharrows?
A.  Numerous studies show that drivers pay more attention to the road, look out for bikes, and pass bikes with a greater cushion.

Q.  Why not just stripe bicycle lanes?

A.  Often the answer is because there is not enough room for bicycle lanes. This is usually a result of a combination of a high demand for on-street parking and the inability to either eliminate a travel lane or narrow the existing travel lanes. It is also physically too difficult and prohibitively expense to widen the roadway

As part of South Bay Bike Master Plan process in 2011, the city held numerous public workshops, commission meetings, and council meetings that resulted in passage of our historic 10 year bicycle master plan. http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_19351901

We are 15% into our 10 year timeline for the master bike plan. We are asking City Council to demonstrate its leadership in the field of health, community, and environmental stewardship by making the city more bike friendly and safer.

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