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.