Sharrow-Stencil-Wausau-3rd-AveBicyclists 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.

On streets that can support a full bike lane, the traditional bike lane marking is to be used.

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.


Shared Lane Markings (Sharrows) are placed 11 feet from the curb if there is on-street parking, to guide cyclists away from the “door zone.” Without on-street parking, they are placed 4 feet from the curb. Riding away from the curb keeps bicyclists away from debris and discourages unsafe passing by motor vehicles.

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.


Cyclists traveling south on 3rd Ave transition from a bike lane to a sharrow lane at the Stewart Ave intersection. Cyclists going south through the intersection should take the straight through lane (reserving the turn lane for motorists). Motorists need to give bicycles space at this intersection much like they would approaching another car.

Expect to see more of the Shared Lane Markings and other bicycle accomodations on Wausau area streets.

Infographic courtesy of

Infographic courtesy of