Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sharrows and such

Sharrow on Adams Ave
Ever driven down a San Diego street and noticed the bicycle under a double chevron logo on the road surface? That's a 'sharrow', and it doesn't designate a bike lane. A lot of local cyclists dislike the thing because they think that that's the city's way of copping out of making proper bike lanes for cyclists to ride on.
Park Blvd bike lane
Having a proper bike lane on major streets would be even nicer, of course - as long as it isn't Thursday where much of the bike lanes would be occupied by garbage dumpsters that people put out in the morning before going to work and wouldn't be back to wheel them back into their yard/alley until they get home late in the evening. In the meanwhile they just sit in the bike lane blocking two wheel traffic, forcing cyclists like me into the car lane.
A bike lane on trash day
When widening the street to add a bike lane isn't quite an option, tho, I like seeing sharrows on the street to remind the cars to keep an eye out for us skinny little two-wheelers, too.

BMUFL sign on 6th Ave
It's even better to have periodical Bike May Use Full Lane (BMUFL) signs along with the sharrows on the roads. I don't think cars notice the signs by themselves as much. Many drivers I've chatted with say they notice sharrows more than they do white street signs like the BMUFL ones. It would be nice if drivers in general look out for bicycles more. Then perhaps many cyclists won't be scared off and do things like riding on the sidewalk, where they become even harder for cars to spot than the ones riding on the road.
How not to ride a bicycle
Then, of course, there are some idiot cyclists who will just do what they want regardless of how unsafe it is for them and for others... like running traffic light or riding against traffic (on the wrong side of the road). No sharrow or sign or bike lane can save dodo's like that...


  1. THIS is very interesting! who knew the proper terms? (YOU DID) Driving a bus I'm very conscience about EVERYONE on the road. Esp. in the afternoon you have bikes coming home from a local military base...I usually run into (no pun intended) two along my main route. (no bike lanes :( our rule is three feet clearance (CO law) however, that puts a bus over the line (which can not do-must change lanes) Just thought I'd share...

  2. Hi PJ,
    Thanks! Sorry it took me a while to respond (had a bit of an accident a while back). I think the 3 ft clearance just became law here in CA, too. On some roads that makes it quite tough to pass a bike indeed. :o( Then on some roads that are (or ought to be wide enough), cyclists have trouble staying in the bike lane or on the shoulder because of bad pavement condition or puncture-causing debris... sometimes I wonder if the street sweeps are just sweeping all the broken glasses into the bike lane and leaving them there to somehow evaporate into thin air all on their own. :oP

    Anyhow, thanks very much for looking for us cyclists when you drive! I know we aren't easy to spot sometimes. Hope your October has started well! :oD


Thanks for stopping by. Be safe on the roads!