In the summer of 2008, the City of Akron added “sharrow” markings to many of the streets in and around Downtown to make it safer for biker riders to share the roads with cars. In addition to the sharrows, you’ll also find bike racks located throughout Downtown.
What is the purpose of this marking?
This new “Shared Lane Marking” (a.k.a. “Sharrow”) is intended to inform cyclists and motorists that they both are to share the travel lane. It has been shown to be helpful in creating safer conditions for both cyclists and motorists.
- It reinforces that both cyclists and motorists follow the rules of the road.
- On narrow lanes, it keeps the cyclist from driving too close to the curb (where they are not as visible) and helps the motorist from passing too close.
- Where there is on-street parking, it keeps the cyclist out of the “door zone” of parked cars.
- It reduces wrong way riding by cyclists.
If I see this marking in a lane, is the lane only for bikes?
No. This marking is used for shared lanes; lanes that are used by bicyclists and motorists. Shared lanes are different than exclusive bike lanes which are set aside for bicyclists only and are marked by a solid white line with a bike and arrow symbol.
As a cyclist, what should I do in the presence of sharrows?
The sharrows are placed outside of parked car’s “door zone,” and on narrow lanes in the center of the lane. We expect cyclists to drive through the center of the sharrow, while still paying attention to potential door openings and surrounding traffic.
As a motorist, what should I do in the presence of sharrows?
Slow down and drive carefully. When the travel lane is too narrow or busy for safe side-by-side travel by motorists and cyclists the rules of the road require motorists to slow down and wait to pass safely, or until cyclist turns off the roadway. The amount of time saved by gunning past a cyclist is often very minimal and is never worth the possibility of injuring someone!
Almost all streets in Akron are shared by cyclists and motorists and don’t have sharrows. Why mark only some streets?
Most Akron streets carry low volumes of traffic with relatively slow speeds and special markings aren’t needed. We are placing sharrows only on streets where traffic is relatively heavy and speeds are a little higher. We are developing a complete bicycle route network over the next several years which will include shared lanes, exclusive bike lanes, and signage-only routes.