21 Comment

  • It is a shared bike lane… they have these all over San Fransisco. They actually work pretty good too.

    It means the driver actually needs to pay attention, something that is not too common in our area.

  • Oddly enough, it looks like it’s the same on the other side as well. Clearly DDOT has some communication issues between the office and the road crews.

  • How is it different from any other normal street, as in any other street on which bikes don’t have their own lane? Vehicles and bikes always share the street. Maybe these are needed now since there are more dedicated bike lanes on certain streets?

    • It’s not, the pavement markings are probably just there as a reminder to drivers to share the road, because there was no space for a designated bike lane. I imagine that road is part of a bike trail through DC, and since there is no room for a designated bike lane, this is the next best thing.

  • I think a dashed white line would sorta indicate there maybe others sharing the road with you.

  • They are sharrows. It means its a road traveled by a lot of cyclist but they deamed too narrow to have its own bike lane. The sharrows are to alert drivers of the presence of bikers. Whats odd is from the pics it looks like there IS enough room for a dedicated bike lane.

  • The placement of sharrows usually also indicates to the cyclists the safe clearance to avoid swinging doors from parked cars.

    They do help create awareness.

  • Maybe I’m an optimist, but from the positioning of the cars in those two pictures maybe the symbols are working! As said above it is likely part of an “official” bike route that doesn’t have room for a dedicated dashed bike lane.

  • This looked like a prank to me at first, like some bike-lovers got together and declared the whole street bikes-only 🙂

  • The other day I watched a driver use a bike lane as a car lane (4th St NE). it was pretty breathtaking. the car was clearly trying to get around the backed up traffic. I’m glad no one else followed his terrible example. Also glad no bikes were using the lane at the time.

  • Sharrows! It means its a shared lane. In many places, cyclists are given the use of the whole lane, rather than just the “as far right as practicable” in sharrow lanes.

  • They have the same road markings in Chinatown (7th and 9th) for the shared bike/bus lanes. Doesn’t keep cars from driving in them anyway, though.

  • They have them on 15th street as well (going north, with car traffic, not the southbound contraflow lane), along with signs saying “Bikes may use whole lane” or something like that. Though that’s the law on all streets, like here, it’s just meant to create that awareness, and in many ways it’s better than a bike lane because it tells people that bikes may be in the center of a lane (safely away from car doors). It’s especially nice when there is another lane going in the same direction (as on 15th street) so that cars can easily get around bikes. Here it looks harder for that to happen, but I think sharrows are great and create recognition that multiple types of wheeled-machines are going to be on the road, whereas bike lanes can push bikes too close to parked car doors and can make turns more difficult if not even very dangerous.

  • More information about sharrows and their recent addition to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD): http://www.vabike.org/new-mutcd-released-now-with-sharrows

  • They also help tell bicyclists not to “salmon” up the wrong way on the street. Studies have shown that sharrows improve both bikers’ and car drivers’ behaviors.

  • Coming back from Haines Point yesterday morning, there was some frazzled-looking idiot of a woman riding in the right lane behind a clot of bikes honking her horn. Of course, seconds after she passed us, we passed her back at the light. Sigh.

    Sharrows also serve the purpose of giving a kind of formal legitimacy to bikes in the street. Sometimes ignorant drivers need these kind of cues to remind them that the roads aren’t their personal space.

  • As mentioned those are Sharrows and not an official bike lane per-say. It gives full rights to the full road for cyclists to use. Typically they are used to connect marked bike lanes, or multi-use trails. Speeds should be 30mph or less on these roads, and 20mph ideally.

    here is the NACTO (cities for cycling) page on Sharrows

    However looking at the width of this road in the section pictured, there is more than ample space for a full bike lane, and really a cycle track could be put in next to the curb with space left over. One must look at the full network though and without a map link for visual identification it is kinda hard to see why they did these.

    Other than they are cheap…

  • The sharrow has a dual purpose:

    1) Show cyclists the best place to ride, away from the parked cars (and opening doors).

    2) Show drivers that the bike in the middle of the lane is doing the right thing.

    Most people, drivers and cyclists think bikes should always stay on the far right. That is unsafe, hence the need for these sharrows.

    Yes, it looks wide enough for a real bike lane, but the bike lane would be 95% inside the door zone, so not so good.

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