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.