Sharrow — is that a word?

sharrow in Loveland

Sharrow was a word included in the local newspaper I was reading this morning.  It seems Loveland, CO is going to put sharrow markings on some streets.

Unless your are a bicyclist, you may not know what a sharrow is.

A sharrow or shared-lane marking is painted on streets. It is positioned near he center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane.

The name sharrow was coined by Oliver Gajda, of the City and County of San Francisco Bicycle Program, and is a portmanteau of share and arrow. (See my June, 2010 blog post with examples of portmanteaus)

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.
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