So what are Sharrows? Below is an image of one. What are they used for? Here are some examples.
The stated purposes of the shared-lane markings used in California were to:
- Assist bicyclists with lateral 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 lateral 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 of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way;
- Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists; and
- Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
So this morning "On my Commute" I decided to pay more attention to them as to where exactly they were located, and record a little video. Interesting commute-- It appears I'm not alone at not knowing what the chevron markings mean. Cars honked and made nasty gestures as they passed me. All the while I was just below the posted speed limit of 25mph going about 23mph. Two miles/hr would be imperceptible to a motorist driving behind me at above the speed limit.
Look at this short video where I am traveling 25 mph in a 25 mph zone and the car behind me is going 34 mph (notice the flashing speed limit sign). He then passes me and makes angry gestures pointing to the yeild to him and to get over to the right of the lane. Oh by the way, I was loving my Fixed Gear bike this morning until this butthead.
(cue Mission Impossible theme) Your mission, shall you choose to accept it is to tell just one motorist (coworker, friend, relative) what Sharrow markings mean. Do it as an "Oh by the way, did you know...?" Don't bother doing it on the road -- you'll never get through to them! I have completed my Mission -- you do the same.
The video below features Tony Cruz, professional bike racer, talking about Sharrows in Long Beach!
More on Long Beach Sharrows