Bicyclists and motorists beware, a new type of marking is appearing on Wausau area city streets. Termed the Sharrow, Shared Lane Markings, consisting of a bicyclist and two chevrons, are to indicate to cyclists and motorists that bicycles may use the full lane of travel.
The City of Wausau is excited to unveil 7 miles of new bicycle accommodations to city streets. Accommodations include new pavement markings such as sharrows, bike lane markings, and white striping to designate 3-4 foot on-street operation for area bicyclists.
From the Wikipedia (Shared Lane Markings):
According to the US Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, shared-lane markings are used to:
- Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle;
- Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane;
- Alert motorists of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way;
- Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists; and
- Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
Unlike bike lanes, which restrict motor vehicle operation within them, the sharrow allows for shared use. Bicycles can take the lane to avoid obstructions, and motor vehicles are cautioned that bikes may be utilizing the entire lane to avoid the ‘door zone’ and other hazards.
Studies indicate that streets marked with the Shared Lane Markings or Sharrow reduce risky behavior of bikes riding on the sidewalks or wrong way riding. Motorist also tend to give cyclists on a sharrow marked lane more room while passing them.
Expect to see more of the Shared Lane Markings and other bicycle accomodations on Wausau area streets.