Posted by: mixed terrain. | September 3, 2007

being-in-the-sharrow

Wet paint. Whenever we ride over a sharrow (or ‘shared lane marking’), we like to think that we’re hitting one of those video-game-like power booster sites—our speedometer jumps from a lazy 11.5 mph to 21 mph and we shift into a lower gear. Which raises the interesting question—do others also experience anything like this existential state of ‘being-in-the-sharrow’?

More acceptable to the Effective Cycling crowd than ‘separated-from-the-flow-of-traffic’ bike lanes, the sharrow’s origin as a signifier of a previously practiced, yet un-inscribed lane position for cyclists, is relatively recent. Sharrows indicate to cyclists where they should ride in the street (a prescribed distance away from the door-span of parked vehicles) and help inform motorists of a cyclist’s right to be in the lane, and not pressed up against side-mirrors when the former ‘need’ to roar past only to find themselves stopped at the next, inevitable red light.

Pittsburgh, PA, that old steel town at the confluence of the Allegheny and the Mon so dear to our hearts just got its first stretch of sharrows along Liberty Avenue between Bloomfield and the Strip District, a major success for the burgeoning Pittsburgh Bike Coalition, BikePgh! We know that sharrows improve car and bike road-sharing from both empirical observation and anecdotal testimony—but what do they mean to you? In SF, in Pittsburgh, in Flagstaff, in Portland? Tell us what you think in the comments, and we’ll incorporate your thoughts into a more substantial reflection on these icons of our right-to-be, soon.

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Responses

  1. i live in more of a rural setting at the moment and do the vast majority of my rides on highways. i like the idea of sharrows and if i lived in an area with them i would be glad to have them. its too bad there isnt info on how much space a bike needs in DMV booklets (its been a while since ive seen one so i might be wrong). i have thought about getting a jersey made that says 3 feet its the law and having an arrow pointing off to the left, but i wonder if that would make those few who give me little to no room pass even closer and at hire speeds.

  2. this is a joke right? there is NOTHING magical or existential about road markings, they do not increase your speed suddenly – its all in your head. Your speed nor your bike computer does not suddenly go up…..again its all in your head. My god, is this what happens when kids play video games all their waking hours? do they suddenly think they are in a video game? ……

    seriously….Any increase in your bike speed is from pedaling faster…..NOTHING else

  3. Bushman, you’ve apparently just had your first encounter with a concept we call humor. In time you may grow to love it.

  4. Bushman… are you retarded?


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