Sharrows

We’ve had the sharrows on Washington Ave, New Scotland Ave and Delaware Ave for a while now. There are still a lot of questions about what they are and the message they are supposed to give.

In short, sharrows are pavement markings that improve cycling safety on streets that are too narrow for traditional bike lanes. These markings indicate to drivers that the road is a preferred bicycle route, and that they should be prepared to share the road with cyclists.  The placement of the sharrow shows cyclists where they can ride to avoid traveling in the door zone of parked cars. The following video from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition provides a brief overview of sharrows.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXVppT9Djus

7 responses to “Sharrows”

  1. Kelly says:

    How does a thoroughfare get a designation as a “preferred route” for cyclists? Is there a street type for which they don’t work (I’m thinking Central Ave or Wolf Road)….

  2. Steve says:

    One unfortunate thing is that the NYS MUTCD supplement does not allow for the use supplementary signage to indicate that bicycles may use the full lane in areas where sharrows are installed.

    From the text:
    Section 9B.06 Bicycles May Use Full Lane Sign (R4-11)
    DELETE entire section; the R4-11 sign shall not be used in New York, as its message is not an accurate reflection of Section 1234 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, and could mislead inexperienced bicyclists into occupying inappropriate, and unsafe, positions within a roadway. On roadways where space is limited and interactions between motorists and bicyclists have proven problematic, it is preferable to either provide positive guidance to bicyclists in the form of Shared Lane Markings (see Section 9C.07) and/or warning to motorists in the form of the SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque (see Section 2B.19).

  3. Capital Coexist says:

    The Federal Highway Administration indicates that sharrows should not be used on roadways with speed limits over 35mph or when the travel lanes are wide enough to be shared.

    Central and Wolf are both signed over 35mph and have very wide travel lanes.

  4. Steve says:

    Note to self – read other discussions prior to posting. If i had I would have noticed the other discussion thread regarding the signage.

  5. I can think of one location on the Mohawk Towpath Byway where the “sharrow” would work: From the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway crossing of Manor Ave in Cohoes, east on N. Mohawk St onto Van Cortlandt, right onto Saratoga Ave (Route 32) to Fonda Street where cyclists get on the Old Champlain Canalway Trail. But here again the “sharrow” may embolden an “inexperienced bicyclist into occupying inappropriate, and unsafe, positions within a roadway” particularly at the left turn onto Route 32.

  6. Ivan Vamos says:

    thanks. Nice to feature this useful marking that’s finally coming to parts of NY State. Additionally, the sharrows offer strong reminder on the direction of travel required by the Vehicular Traffic Laws to those bicyclists who still guess that riding facing traffic is appropriate.

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