New Bike Sharrows Go Up in Bloomingdale

Photo by PoPville reader feelsgoodlost

Thanks to Matt for sending word that Sharrows have gone up at at 1st and R St, NW. “This marking is placed in the center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane.”

I don’t know about you guys but when I’m riding a bike the sharrows don’t really comfort me. I love all the new bike lanes but when I’m riding on a street with sharrows I’m still holding my breath. Do other bike riders find sharrows to be useful?

13 Comment

  • i agree that sharrows, at present, need to be taken with a grain of salt. so always ride defensively. however, their role is also in part a long-term strategy to increase awareness and acceptance of bikes on streets. so the more there are, in more places around the city, the more motorists and others will come to understand that bikes belong. the ubiquity of the red CaBi bikes will, in my view, also serve a similar function over time (may have begun to reinforce the idea that bikes are a mode of transportation already)…

  • The Sharrows are a start. They are often too short. There are some anes downtown that are just supposed to be for bikes, busses and taxis, but, there are usually cars there, so it can be difficult. DC has made a lot of progress toward improving biking in the city and it is making a difference!

  • Yes, sharrows make me almost feel more uneasy given that cars see it as an opening to zip around slower moving vehicles. It’s nice that they are recognizing the need for cycle sharing but I’d almost rather take my chances on a street with designated lanes and no sharrows. Same thing is happening on the Sherman Avenue redo. Unfortunately a rep from WABA indicated that there is a certain width necessary to put a “lane” versus a “sharrow” and it is important to get a say in early in the process

  • Happy to learn a new word: Sharrow!

    • I was happy to learn it, too. It was only in there five times, though, so I hope I can remember it for later. 😐

  • They make me feel much better cause they are a clear sign to drivers that I have a right to be in that lane. I’m still nervous someone will ignore it, of course, but I think it’s less likely a motorist will view me with indignation if I’m riding in a lane designated for bikes. Conversely, no sharrow means to many drivers that the lane is solely for cars and everything else there is inappropriate.

  • While they are not a separate bike lane – they are important in communicating to cars the presence of bikes on the road but are helpful in communicating to new riders that biking in the city is doable. When the network of sharrows and bike lanes is installed in the city we’ll see how wonderful this investment really is. While we won’t be close to our Dutch friends – it’ll be a welcome move towards being so completely car-centric.

  • Sharrows were also added partway down the unit block R street NE. Anyone know if they are going to continue adding them until they reach the MBT?

    • They will stop one block short of the MBT entrance where R St is one way heading west. There was talk about adding a dedicated contra-flow bike lane on that block to complete the route, but the louder objections won out. I don’t even pretend to understand what those objections even were, but I know they made less sense than the reasonable alternative to create a continuous connection from a heavily used multi-use path to a major cross-town bike route. Now bikers will just continue to ride against traffic for that one short, low traffic block like they’ve always done, just not officially sanctioned.

      • It’s too bad they didn’t consider simply making that block two-way for all traffic again. This would work at least as well as one reverse lane for bikes only, as most of the westbound traffic on that block would be bikes from the MBT. As it is, since I won’t ride the wrong way in traffic, I have to use the sidewalks or jog a block over.

  • I ride down these blocks of R Street every morning on my way to work, and these markings make absolutely no difference to me. Maybe they’ll encourage other, less experienced bikers to use the street more, but otherwise I really don’t see any point. After all, it’s already totally legal for a biker to use this street (and any other in DC, except for freeways) and to take up the whole lane if conditions warrant, and the stop signs or stoplights at every intersection (and not the new markings) are what make automobile traffic more manageable along this stretch of R than on, say, Florida Avenue nearby.

  • Weird, the sharrows are all on the right hand side of the street, but if you watch enough bikes in this city you’ll realize they should be erratically spread across the lane, because then that would give drivers the proper notice that if you’re around a bike who knows what the hell they’re going to do.

    Its false advertising when they’re all lined up on the right side.

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