Take the lane! We mean it!

Well, it’s a lot of paint. But it pretty clearly tells all road users where the bicyclists belong. This road-treatment experiment is being conducted in Salt Lake City. You can read more about it here. And see more photos here.

As you know, I like sharrows. I like paint treatments which encourage good road position and inform motorists that cyclists belong in the lane (not the gutter). This might be overkill, and it’s a lot more expensive than just painting sharrows… but recognizing the difficulty of getting cyclists out of the gutter, maybe it isn’t. It will be interesting to see the results.

8 replies
  1. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    Hmmm, article said they had bike lanes for most of way except for a block or so where it was too narrow, so they are now going with the sharrow paint.

    This seems to be a pretty good use for sharrow markings — what would be the criteria for others?

  2. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    This might be a good place to register an observation I had recently. I’ve read of “standards” for bike lanes as being as narrow as three feet wide and occasionally as wide as four feet.

    I’ve experienced the imaginary wall that the paint stripe represents, or in reality, the non-wall. Motorists will not provide 3′ of passing that Florida law “requires”, especially when there’s a paint stripe providing “protection”. It’s one of the reasons I’m a vehicular cyclist now and it means I usually get the proper passing clearance.

    Shouldn’t a bike lane be a minimum of five feet in width? Two feet of space for the bike and three feet passing clearance? If there’s five feet for bike lane and ten feet for roadway travel lane, that’s certainly a WOL or WCL and no paint is needed.

    If there isn’t enough room for a five foot bike lane, it’s too narrow, isn’t it? That should make it a shared lane.

  3. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    The Florida bike lane standard minimum is five feet from the lane stripe to the curb face or edge of pavement if there are no curbs. In effect that means four feet of asphalt if the road has curbs and gutters.
    Some places will stripe three-foot lanes, but not designate them as bike lanes.

  4. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Existing and potential applications for sharrows:

    In Seattle they used them:
    In narrow lanes
    On downhill sides of roads (they used bike lanes on the uphill sides)
    Guiding cyclists safely across skewed railroad crossings
    I also saw a situation similar to the Salt Lake photo

    Originally they were intended for streets with on-street parking and insufficient width for bike lanes; to encourage cyclists to stay out of the door zone

    Another use could be for roundabouts, guiding cyclists into the center of the lane

    I really like what Salt Lake has done. I’ll be sharing that with local engineers.

  5. fred_dot_u
    fred_dot_u says:

    Mighk, would a narrow lane also be the same as a lane of sub-standard width? FL DOT specifies 14 feet as standard, and there aren’t many of those around my stomping ground.

    I’d much rather see sharrows than bike lanes, by a large margin.

  6. Keri
    Keri says:


    Yes. A narrow lane and a substandard lane are the same thing. Probably should call it a “normal” lane because most of the lanes around here are not wide enough to share.

  7. pmsummer
    pmsummer says:

    I’m not comfortable with that. I GUESS I appreciate what they are trying to do, but I just see this as another confusing traffic marking at best, and continued segregation at worst (“Stay in the Green Zone, you damned hippie!”). Simply using the sharrows would seem like a better/clearer idea to me. Must be my paint allergies. 😉

Comments are closed.