Shared Lanes (“Sharrows”)
Shared lane markings or “sharrows” (derived from “Shared” and “Arrows”) are pavement markings used to mark a designated bike route. Placed in the travel lane, they encourage bicyclists to ride in a safe position outside of the door zone (where driver’s side doors of parked cars open).
Shared lane markings include a bicycle symbol and a double chevron indicating the direction of travel. They do not designate any part of the roadway as either exclusive to motorists or bicyclists. Rather, the symbols highlight the fact that the travel lane is shared.
Sometimes shared lane markings are enhanced with dotted white lines to provide extra awareness that bicyclists are sharing the lane. Enhanced shared lane markings are located along La Salle Ave S between W 15th St and W Franklin Ave. The dotted white lines around the sharrow symbol are intended to create an advisory path for bicyclists to ride along.
When you drive:
- Motor vehicles are permitted to drive in travel lanes where shared lane markings are present. Bicyclists may be traveling in the same lane. Travel behind them until it is safe to pass.
- You are allowed to drive on or over the markings and are not restricted to driving to the left of the symbols.
- As with any street, bicyclists are allowed to ride on the road. If you find yourself driving behind a bicyclist and need to pass, overtake the bicyclist at a safe speed and safe clearance. State law indicates that a motorist can only overtake a bicyclist if there is a safe passing distance of at least 3 feet. Often, you will need to change lanes to pass bicyclists.
When you bike:
- You may, but are not required to ride on or over the shared lane markings. While the markings are placed in a location to keep you out of the door zone, you should always ride where you feel most comfortable and safe.
- Always travel in the same direction as traffic as indicated by the direction of the shared lane markings.
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Last updated Feb. 1, 2012