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Thursday, November 5, 2009


Where have I been for the last couple of years?  Have I been living under a rock?  Why didn't I know what Sharrows were until just yesterday?  I've seen the chevron looking markings on the road in one section of my commute but until yesterday I had no idea what they meant.  I'm a dunce!  In my defense, the markings I have seen in Oceanside haven't been there for two years but at least 6 months!

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

1 comment:

  1. I figured that that would be the typical reaction. It's mostly due to a lack of awareness, a sense of entitlement (car > bike), and overall assholeness of some drivers. There needs to a coordinated campaign beginning at the teenage driver level, and thorughout, that bikes are a part of the road, here to stay and not obstacles or nuisances to be admonished. Drivers need to be informed and taught to ride with cyclists. There needs to be mandatory bike riding classes to teach proper riding "rules" of the road just like a car. Maybe even operator licensure. Bikes should not be treated as toys.