Sharing the road with Sharrows

Sharrows on Westholme Dr. in Los Angeles

A pair of sharrows on Westholme Dr. in Los Angeles

We’re excited to announce that LADOT crews will be installing approximately 20 miles of new shared-lane markings — or “sharrows” — in neighborhoods across the city.  Sharrows are intended to supplement the bicycle lane network in Los Angeles by:

    • Providing gap closures in the Class II (Bike Lane) network
    • Enhancing Class III (Bike Route) Bikeways- This includes future BFS facilities
    • Improving bicycling conditions on two-lane roadways with dashed centerlines

[googleapps domain=”docs” dir=”spreadsheet/pub” query=”key=0Ajc6_TCtpElwdDBySml1VlRVUlJCNE1DNThsUnVmUHc&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” width=”500″ height=”700″ /]
Click here to access or download the original spreadsheet

Sharrows are a standardized road marking established in the California Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. This book defines many familiar roadway features such as stop signs and traffic lights and outlines how they may be used. A sharrow has five main goals:

          • Assist bicyclists in positioning themselves outside the “door zone” of parked cars.

          • Assist bicyclists in positioning themselves within narrow lanes so that they may ride safely next to passing automobiles.

          • Assist drivers with a safe passing distance for bicycles.

          • Indicate the shared-use nature of the road so that motorists are aware of the presence of cyclists and drive accordingly.

          • Encourage bicyclists to ride with traffic, as opposed to against it.

As you can see, sharrows are a safety asset for both cars and bikes; drivers will know where to expect cyclists and can judge a safe passing distance, while cyclists can judge their distance outside of the “door zone” and also know to ride in the direction of traffic. Finally, sharrows do not affect the operation of the roadway, remove travel lanes, or displace parking. So motorists may continue to use the road as they always have, except with a more cautious eye towards cyclists. For more information on sharrows, check out our Sharrows 101 post.

Sharrows on Westholme Dr. in Los Angeles

A sharrow on top of a preliminary spray paint marking. LADOT has since updated the marking to be an X with an arrow indicating the direction the sharrow points.

Over the course of the next year, LADOT will install about 20 miles of new sharrows throughout Los Angeles. Check the list above of upcoming sharrows to see if any are coming to your area! If so, you may see some preliminary markings on the road in spray paint to indicate to our crews where to install the actual sharrow.

0 replies
  1. Kent Stork
    Kent Stork says:

    L.A. installing sharrows is just plain embarrassing. All the other big cities are doing everything they can to get rid of the sharrows they installed years ago. L.A. is being left in the dust. We should be spending all of our effort figuring out out to implement protected bike lanes, before we become the laughing stock of the nation.

    • Daniel Shockley
      Daniel Shockley says:

      Thanks for the comment! It would seem that the original sharrows on that street were paved over as a part of another construction project. We’re looking replace them with this next round of painting.

  2. james
    james says:

    “So motorists may continue to use the road as they always have..” Yes the will continue to use these roads like their own personal speedway. They will continue to use their cars as weapons to threaten cyclists who take the full lane on a residential street that they regard as their special traffic avoidance route. They will continue to run stop signs whenever a bicycle or pedestrian has the right of way because we are not valid road users. Is the Ladot going to install a single example of traffic calming on any sharrowed street anytime soon? The motorist in southern california has never really had to learn or respect the law and as a result needs to be forced to behave by using the same sort of heavy traffic calming that is being employed in Santa Monica. The architecture of the street needs to, in a sense, scream the message as the motorist. A bit of paint is not enough.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] week, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation announced it will be painting 21 miles of sharrow lanes across the city over the course of the next year. […]

  2. […] an article published yesterday in the LADOT Bike Blog, the department announced that it would be adding “approximately 20 miles” of […]

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