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Sharrows helpful for experienced bikers?

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Sharrows helpful for experienced bikers?

Old 10-10-19, 11:12 AM
  #26  
79pmooney
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I've been riding a sharrowed road for years. They just scrubbed the sharrows off. I'll report back if I see change in driver behavior.

(Portland - where they use tax payer money to make changes to "improve" cycling, then dip into that money source again to remove or change the previous "improvement". A half mile from my house is a fork in the road where the arterial that I always ride branches left in a slightly off-camber, often dirty or graveled turn. When I moved here 20 years ago the bike lane was marked by the standard (slippery when wet) white 8" stripe. This got replaced with blue paint for the entire bike lane; at least as slippery when wet. Years later, they ground off the blue paint and went the new "proper for cycling" green but left the off camber surface very rough. It's been 8-10 years and still that lousy surface. So Portland has spent money twice to make a surface inferior to what was there 20 years ago and after the first expenditure, it was flat out dangerous.)

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Old 10-10-19, 11:21 AM
  #27  
CliffordK
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I've been riding a sharrowed road for years. They just scrubbed the sharrows off. I'll report back if I see change in driver behavior.

(Portland - where they use tax payer money to make changes to "improve" cycling, then dip into that money source again to remove or change the previous "improvement". A half mile from my house is a fork in the road where the arterial that I always ride branches left in a slightly off-camber, often dirty or graveled turn. When I moved here 20 years ago the bike lane was marked by the standard (slippery when wet) white 8" stripe. This got replaced with blue paint for the entire bike lane; at least as slippery when wet. Years later, they ground off the blue paint and went the new "proper for cycling" green but left the off camber surface very rough. It's been 8-10 years and still that lousy surface. So Portland has spent money twice to make a surface inferior to what was there 20 years ago and after the first expenditure, it was flat out dangerous.)

Ben
Portland has also been grinding off the words "BIKE LANE" and diamond symbols from their bike lanes... so they can put in non-standard depictions of bicycles instead.



Has anybody realized how annoying those rough patches of ground asphalt are that replaced the previous "Bike Lane" words and the diamonds?
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Old 10-10-19, 11:46 AM
  #28  
79pmooney
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
...

Has anybody realized how annoying those rough patches of ground asphalt are that replaced the previous "Bike Lane" words and the diamonds?
All of us riders have! Actually, the removed sharrows I rode over yesterday were done with a much finer grit machine and were not bad to ride over. 120 grit vs the 24 grit they used to use (in wood refinishing terms).
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Old 10-15-19, 12:16 PM
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I think there are a number of problems with the implementation and effectiveness of sharrows:

1 - Conflicting purposes
Some explanations for sharrows talk about giving (beginning - intermediate) bicyclists guidance about where to ride, i.e. not to close to parked cars if they are placed correctly. This fits with guidance limiting them to roads with speed limits of 35mph absolute max in Federal guidance, often lowere depending on the city or state.

The other purpose sometimes given is to inform otherwise surprised motorists that bicyclists have the right to use the center of the lane, and aren't required to use the gutter. I theory, these sharrows don't add much to streets with 15mph speed limits, but would help experienced bicyclists on roads with multiple lanes and higher speed limits (where motorists need to be informed, but sharrows aren't placed.

These two purposes would to different definitions of sharrows "working", and selections of different roads that are appropriate. My impression is that the federal approval of sharrows was a limited compromise between highway designers that don't approve of bicyclists on roads even if they know it's legal (and don't want to increase awareness), and bicycle planners that approve of bicyclists' right to use the road.

2- Varying Implementation
I haven't found the few sharrows I've seen very helpful as an experienced bicyclist.

Wilmington DE has a few on Market St - center of lane, congested traffic with frequent stop signs. Done fine, but no real impact.
Other parts of DE - DE has additional restrictions on sharrows (only allowed on streets with parking that allow door zone lanes) - never painted

Baltimore - installed at edge of parking lane, so sharrows are partially covered by parked cars. Ignored by both drivers and bicyclists.

One study from Johns Hopkins years ago that said they found no impact from sharrows (see placement above), unlike a SF study that showed riders rode 3-4" further from parked cars when sharrows were installed (evidently not under parked cars).

Until a clear purposed is determined (guide uncertain new riders vs. add BMUFL signs and permit on arterials when no alternative exist), I think confused implementation will continue. (The MD SHA representative said the contractor in Baltimore couldn't imagine letting bicycles ride so close to traffic and couldn't make sense of the legal standards.)
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Old 10-15-19, 01:45 PM
  #30  
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Just in case you might be wondering about why there might not be a lot of replies, there aren't any sharrows in my area (so, that's why I can't really help answer your questions), so that might also be the case for other cyclists.
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Old 10-15-19, 02:37 PM
  #31  
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Sharrows aren't a silver bullet. Neither are BMUFL signs. But over time, both do help reinforce the notions that
1) Bikes are allowed on the road, and
2) Bikes are allowed in the lane.

The fact that they don't achieve 100% of the desired results doesn't mean they aren't important and helpful.
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Old 10-15-19, 05:53 PM
  #32  
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We don't have a lot of sharrows, but they seem to help a bit on the roads where they exist. The roads where I encounter them are single lane roads where the intent in part is to slow down auto traffic. `
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Old 10-16-19, 09:10 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
We don't have a lot of sharrows, but they seem to help a bit on the roads where they exist. The roads where I encounter them are single lane roads where the intent in part is to slow down auto traffic. `
I also think they quiet the horns.
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Old 10-17-19, 09:36 AM
  #34  
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I think sharrows are one of those things you don't realize their benefit until they are gone.
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Old 10-18-19, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
And IF Marrett Road finally gets posted at the correct speed, it will become a lower traffic road since Waze won't send people down the "short cut" to avoid Route 2/I-95 intersection.
I would like to know what the basis for this is. My street got Wazed a couple years ago as a short cut and is now basically a freeway in the afternoon. We have been working with the city and any other means to stop this flood of traffic. Nothing has worked so far. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 10-18-19, 10:43 PM
  #36  
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I've only recently moved somewhere that has sharrows (at least anywhere near where I ride). It seems to me, they are mostly informational for the cars. Most of us commuters already know where the better bike routes are, and that we're allowed to take the full lane.
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Old 10-19-19, 05:06 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I think sharrows are one of those things you don't realize their benefit until they are gone.
Knowing you post from Toronto,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have posted about separate bike lanes from Boston …Two years ago (in 2013)
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
When riding on Yonge St. I realized how valuable were those simply painted bike lanes we have in Boston; Toronto had none.

Later on that visit, I met a cyclist and we exchanged tales of riding in our mutual cities. He told me about [former, now-deceased mayor] Rob Ford’s vehement anti-cycling stance
Originally Posted by Boston Globe
...But Ford reserves special venom for the menace called the bicycle. He is perhaps the most antibike politician in the world.

In 2007,he told the Toronto City Council that roads were designed for only buses, cars,and trucks. If cyclists got killed on roads, “it’s their own fault at the end of the day,” he said.

He compared biking on a city street to swimming with sharks—“sooner or later you’regoing to get bitten.” He once summarized his views in City Hall succinctly: “Cyclists are a pain in the ass to the motorists
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
… While in Toronto, I met a cycling advocate, and he asked me how Boston compared, and I had to admit urban riding in TO was a lot scarier than in Boston...[but]
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I think if you were to distill the best features of New York and Boston, you would produce Toronto, at least for cycling. There’s the exciting and interesting environment of cavernous downtown streets, but easy access to pleasant neighborhood cycling. …

One downside perhaps of Toronto compared to Boston is that it appears at the outskirts to massively sprawl, and I suspect it takes quite a while to get out from the city into pristine country riding, like our Metrowest.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-19-19 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 10-19-19, 08:04 PM
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@Jim from Boston

Regarding Rob Ford's 'swimming with the sharks' comment, it's the mindset of many motorists but since that time, attitudes have changed. Still I find it was odd that a bunch of licenced drivers trained in a civilized society would find it acceptable to be described as a bunch of wild animals.

Regarding sprawl, there is a huge political divide in Toronto between the downtown core and those in the suburbs. And then for Ontario there's a divide between the large cities and the townships and rural communities. I guess the same goes for any place around North America.

In Toronto, most of the recent bicycle infrastructure has been built near the downtown core. In the outskirts where I live, the community was designed in the 1960s to promote the new affluent lifestyle of the car culture. There are few short sections of bike lanes but they seem like an afterthought and placed where the planners and politicians think they can get cyclists out of the way so as not to get motorists too upset. Diamond lanes allow for cyclists to be there and they are tolerated by a lot but not all drivers. I was honked at recently by a driver in a tractor-trailor who later swore at me.

One of the biggest votes to come up is the plan to Re-Imagine Yonge Street in North York. The Mayor was opposed to it prior to the last municipal election and wanted bicycle lanes to be moved to the next street over. The councillor of the neighbourhood wanted the revision to make this street residential-friendly. Other councillors who represented suburban Toronto Wards were against it stating the redesign would hamper through traffic from outside Toronto going to work in Toronto.

I'm crossing my fingers that the Mayor will uphold his Vision Zero 2.0 commitment and that the redesign of Yonge Street will happen.
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Old 10-19-19, 08:47 PM
  #39  
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One thing to keep in mind is that each road is different, with different needs.

I was on a road yesterday (no sharrows), but it is interrupted by a 1 block segment with a bike path and no through driving roads.

In general, it allows parking on both sides, but it would be a tight squeeze to have 2 parked cars, and 2 passing cars.

So, as an "experienced" cyclist, I do a weave. Ride to the right in the parking lane. When I approach a parked car, look back to make sure it is clear. Look forward that there isn't any conflict with oncoming traffic, then signal (if there is someone to see the signal) and move around the car. Then back to the right until the next car.

I may also do a similar weave if driving, especially with oncoming traffic.

Yes, safety courses point out the dangers of disappearing between parked cars, but in practice, the parking lane can be safe to ride in as long one takes care when pulling back into the traffic lane.

At times I'll pull to the right and wave for cars to pass me.
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Old 10-20-19, 08:40 AM
  #40  
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As a year round bike commuter, I have to confess that I observed sharrows markings for years before I heard the term. Even then and for months after, I did not really understand what they meant. I think that pretty much says that they fail as a communication device.
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Old 10-20-19, 09:38 AM
  #41  
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My two cents... experienced cyclists don't need road markings or signs at all, and drivers ignore road marks and signs anyway.
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