It’s National Bike-to-Work Day, touted as the safest day of the year to ride a bicycle. That’s a relief for many an unfortunate urban cyclist who’s known the trauma of getting “doored,” or riding in the street along a line of parallel-parked cars when suddenly a driver’s door swings open and, wham!

But cyclists who ride in the middle of the street to avoid injury also know the honks and glares shot by impatient drivers.

A new marking popping up on San Diego streets is intended to make a cyclist’s commute a little less stressful. It’s of a bicycle with two arrows pointing in the direction of traffic, painted right in the middle of traffic lanes.

It’s called a shared roadway marker, or “sharrow” for short, and in the last month it’s been popping up in neighborhoods across the city. The one pictured above is in City Heights.

The marking’s been tested in several cities nationwide in recent years, prompting the California Department of Transportation to approve it for use statewide. The City of San Diego is just installing the symbols now.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

“The idea is to designate a path of travel for cyclists so they’re not in danger of being hit by a door,” said Stephan Vance, a planner for the San Diego Association of Governments. They’re meant to remind both drivers and bicyclists that cyclists can use the center of a traffic lane.

The markings are showing up on streets with on-street parking where there may be high bicycle traffic but not enough room for a bicycle lane, Vance said. They’re also helpful to guide cyclists away from particularly dangerous routes, he said.

The city’s transportation department has been identifying routes for the sharrows and submitting requests to the street division to install them.

Please contact Adrian Florido directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianflorido.

 

    This article relates to: Community, Government, News

    Written by Adrian Florido

    31 comments
    Bill Davidson
    Bill Davidson subscriber

    What is so difficult about moving over to pass a bicyclist safely? What delusion makes you believe that you should not have to?

    billdsd
    billdsd

    What is so difficult about moving over to pass a bicyclist safely? What delusion makes you believe that you should not have to?

    William Muse
    William Muse subscriber

    I make my commute every day from little italy to National city. I drive down Harbor drive with taxies in the morning. At 230 it is a different story, 4 to 6 regular bike commuters. Some in spandex some in street cloths. They all with out fail run red lights make lane changes without signaling.............. the list goes on. It suprises me that they commute on such a busy street and do not know the rules of the road. That bicycles need to follow the same rules as cars do. I hope the new bike signs on the roads reminds them. Or maybe bike riders ned to get licences.

    Will
    Will

    I make my commute every day from little italy to National city. I drive down Harbor drive with taxies in the morning. At 230 it is a different story, 4 to 6 regular bike commuters. Some in spandex some in street cloths. They all with out fail run red lights make lane changes without signaling.............. the list goes on. It suprises me that they commute on such a busy street and do not know the rules of the road. That bicycles need to follow the same rules as cars do. I hope the new bike signs on the roads reminds them. Or maybe bike riders ned to get licences.

    Michael Freedman
    Michael Freedman subscriber

    Personally, i think this is a stupid idea. This is not a European city, and U.S. drivers are not like European drivers. Nevertheless, I will support the new marking system, at least until another 3 or 4 bicyclists wind up in the morgue.

    Ysidro1
    Ysidro1

    Personally, i think this is a stupid idea. This is not a European city, and U.S. drivers are not like European drivers. Nevertheless, I will support the new marking system, at least until another 3 or 4 bicyclists wind up in the morgue.

    Brad Jacobsen
    Brad Jacobsen subscriber

    Impatience is the problem, regardless of the mode of transportation.

    Jared B
    Jared B

    Impatience is the problem, regardless of the mode of transportation.

    Greta Castaneda
    Greta Castaneda subscriber

    tellmewhy, Thank you for being honest and telling it like it is! I don't know how many times I've seen cyclists purposely running red lights and weaving all over the road, ignoring lanes, not using hand signals. If we accidentally hit one of these airheads with our cars even if they are at fault --- whose going to jail here? Most cyclists are responsible but in Hillcrest and all the North Park/University Heights/Normal Heights they seem to be the worst! Being forced to drive 10 miles an hour on the road behind a cyclist who could just as easily be on the sidewalk is ridiculous!

    gigisandiego
    gigisandiego

    tellmewhy, Thank you for being honest and telling it like it is! I don't know how many times I've seen cyclists purposely running red lights and weaving all over the road, ignoring lanes, not using hand signals. If we accidentally hit one of these airheads with our cars even if they are at fault --- whose going to jail here? Most cyclists are responsible but in Hillcrest and all the North Park/University Heights/Normal Heights they seem to be the worst! Being forced to drive 10 miles an hour on the road behind a cyclist who could just as easily be on the sidewalk is ridiculous!

    David Cohen
    David Cohen subscriber

    I am very willing not to hit a bike rider when opening my car door--in fact, I am committed to it. However . . . I walk on city sidewalks more often than I drive on the streets (driving is mostly for distances not conducive to walking, and thus mostly on freeways), and I would appreciate it if the MULTITUDE of bike riders who choose to use the sidewalk rather than the street would warn me they are coming from behind: A loud "On your left" and slowing down to pass me/us would help a lot. My wife and I have both been brushed (and nearly hit) several times while walking, but I have never opened my car door into the path of a bicyclist.

    fryefan
    fryefan

    I am very willing not to hit a bike rider when opening my car door--in fact, I am committed to it. However . . . I walk on city sidewalks more often than I drive on the streets (driving is mostly for distances not conducive to walking, and thus mostly on freeways), and I would appreciate it if the MULTITUDE of bike riders who choose to use the sidewalk rather than the street would warn me they are coming from behind: A loud "On your left" and slowing down to pass me/us would help a lot. My wife and I have both been brushed (and nearly hit) several times while walking, but I have never opened my car door into the path of a bicyclist.

    Bill Davidson
    Bill Davidson subscriber

    @tellmewhy, bicycles and cars have been mixing in the road since cars were invented (bicycles were in the road first). This is nothing new. These new sharrow markers are only supposed to be in places where bicyclists already have the right to ride in the middle of the lane; usually because the lane is too narrow for safe lane sharing. Specifically, CVC 21202(a)(3) exempts bicyclists from the requirement to keep far right when the lane is too narrow for safe lane sharing. The markers are just there to remind people that bicyclists have the right to ride in the middle of the lane.

    billdsd
    billdsd

    @tellmewhy, bicycles and cars have been mixing in the road since cars were invented (bicycles were in the road first). This is nothing new. These new sharrow markers are only supposed to be in places where bicyclists already have the right to ride in the middle of the lane; usually because the lane is too narrow for safe lane sharing. Specifically, CVC 21202(a)(3) exempts bicyclists from the requirement to keep far right when the lane is too narrow for safe lane sharing. The markers are just there to remind people that bicyclists have the right to ride in the middle of the lane.

    Richard Ross
    Richard Ross subscribermember

    devine to go into the beyond before they scrap this idea?

    Activist
    Activist

    devine to go into the beyond before they scrap this idea?

    Bill Davidson
    Bill Davidson subscriber

    Wearing a helmet does not in any way prevent collisions. Bicycle helmets are only a bit of styrofoam and they offer only limited protection. Yes they help. They don't give guarantees of safety and they only protect the top of your head. They don't protect your face or any of the lower part of your head or anything else on your body. They do not have magic super powers.

    billdsd
    billdsd

    Wearing a helmet does not in any way prevent collisions. Bicycle helmets are only a bit of styrofoam and they offer only limited protection. Yes they help. They don't give guarantees of safety and they only protect the top of your head. They don't protect your face or any of the lower part of your head or anything else on your body. They do not have magic super powers.

    Michael Holland
    Michael Holland subscriber

    Thanks for the explanation of the bicycle symbols. It wasn't really clear what they meant. although it's still puzzling what they're good for. Recently several of these things showed up around my block. They provide camouflage for some minor potholes in the networks of cracks that make up the roads in this neighborhood. The symbols should have been painted on the sidewalks instead because the street pavement is so bad that it's almost impossible to ride a bike there.

    Meniskos
    Meniskos

    Thanks for the explanation of the bicycle symbols. It wasn't really clear what they meant. although it's still puzzling what they're good for. Recently several of these things showed up around my block. They provide camouflage for some minor potholes in the networks of cracks that make up the roads in this neighborhood. The symbols should have been painted on the sidewalks instead because the street pavement is so bad that it's almost impossible to ride a bike there.

    Charles Rickman
    Charles Rickman subscribermember

    Mixing bikes and cars in America is asking for trouble. Especially when the majority of bikers fail to obey the rules of the road. example. Your sitting at a stop light and a bikers speeds on through the red light, nearly gets hit, and then gets angry at the car that almost hit him. Also when you have the critical mass bike rides that torment society, its hard for me to respect bikers wanting to take up the whole lane.

    tellmewhy
    tellmewhy

    Mixing bikes and cars in America is asking for trouble. Especially when the majority of bikers fail to obey the rules of the road. example. Your sitting at a stop light and a bikers speeds on through the red light, nearly gets hit, and then gets angry at the car that almost hit him. Also when you have the critical mass bike rides that torment society, its hard for me to respect bikers wanting to take up the whole lane.

    Mary W.
    Mary W. subscriber

    Far more children (and adults) die or are seriously injured each year because they are not wearing helmets then those hurt by car doors opening. There is a law for children under 18 but it is not enforced EVER! I believe law enforcement has a duty to enforce this law.

    Merilee
    Merilee

    Far more children (and adults) die or are seriously injured each year because they are not wearing helmets then those hurt by car doors opening. There is a law for children under 18 but it is not enforced EVER! I believe law enforcement has a duty to enforce this law.

    Lee Hazer
    Lee Hazer subscriber

    They usually can't make a left turn correctly, either.

    Leecal
    Leecal

    They usually can't make a left turn correctly, either.

    bob gomez
    bob gomez subscriber

    Don, Europeans have lived with bicycles in traffic for 100 years without problems. This problem is purely impatience.

    cordedpoodle
    cordedpoodle

    Don, Europeans have lived with bicycles in traffic for 100 years without problems. This problem is purely impatience.

    bob gomez
    bob gomez subscriber

    Toulon I suggest you take your grand kid and put him on the side of the street and ask yourself: "How close do I want a 3000 lb car to pass him. I guarantee you 3 feet will be too close." Then remember, every cyclist you see has a family. We pay taxes too. By the way I'm 57, this problem with impatient drivers goes back to when I was a kid myself.

    cordedpoodle
    cordedpoodle

    Toulon I suggest you take your grand kid and put him on the side of the street and ask yourself: "How close do I want a 3000 lb car to pass him. I guarantee you 3 feet will be too close." Then remember, every cyclist you see has a family. We pay taxes too. By the way I'm 57, this problem with impatient drivers goes back to when I was a kid myself.