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Old 10-21-12, 10:27 AM   #1
Metal Man
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Does anyone know PENNDOT's stance on sharrows?

I've suggested the use of sharrows in a neighboring town to designate a route from a rail trail to the downtown area. The route would be on State Route 45 in PA. I figured one issue may be that is a state road. Does anyone have any experience with this or know of sharrows used on a PA State Route?
This area is a mostly in town situation with most of it going thought the downtown business district. The speed limit is 35 MPH on a short section then drops to 25MPH in the business district.
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Old 10-21-12, 11:23 AM   #2
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I don't, but I'll tell you my stance. Since bikes may use just about any road, then all such roads should either have sharrows or none should have sharrows. Having sharrows on some roads implies a distinction that doesn't exist.
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Old 10-21-12, 12:43 PM   #3
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I don't, but I'll tell you my stance. Since bikes may use just about any road, then all such roads should either have sharrows or none should have sharrows. Having sharrows on some roads implies a distinction that doesn't exist.

I happen to like sharrows since they don't have a line for just about every motorists to confidently pass me with less than a foot of distance, and at the speed limit or higher. Plus, sharrows have less debris in them than other on road bike facilities.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:03 PM   #4
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Traffic lanes have worked extremely well for me for decades as my 'on road bike facilities'.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:07 PM   #5
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Loogi's point that putting Sharrows on some streets but not others, does imply to motorist that cyclist do not belong on streets without Sharrows. That is NOT a good thing even if Sharrows are better than bike lanes. Understanding cyclist right to the full lane is better than either Sharrows or bike lanes.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:10 PM   #6
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As I said they want to establish a route from the trail to the downtown. Currently there is a ban on bikes on the sidewalks. The proposal is to amend the ban on a section of walk and send bikes through a crosswalk to the sidewalk and then to an alley. I can only assume there would be no direction from there to the business district and you would still have to take the roads to patronize any businesses.

I am against directing bikes to the sidewalk and think that sharrows would accomplish everything the town is trying to do.



Here is an email I sent to the Borough Manager.

Hello XXXX,
My name is XXXXXX, I read with great interest the article in the 10/19/12 Daily Item concerning the amendment to the city ordinance banning bikes from the sidewalk. As an avid cyclist both for recreation and for transportation I’m not sure I would agree with this.

As I imagine you know PA law considers a bike a vehicle and they may be operated on any roadway (except interstates) just as any other vehicle. There are many motorist who do not know or respect this and feel that bikes should be on the sidewalk. I feel that making the sidewalk the designated route will further reinforce this in some motorist minds and this may be a step backwards for cycling safety.

This area is very far behind many other’s in regards to cycling infrastructure and I feel this may be a great opportunity for Lewisburg to step up and be at the forefront of something great.

I don’t have much personal experience with bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure but I think this may possibly be a case where Sharrows could do the job. They don’t have any real lawful meaning other than to remind motorist that this is a common bicycle route and to help guide the cyclist to a safe lane position.

If you are not familiar with Sharrows below are a few YouTube videos of Sharrow
installations.

If I may be of any help on this matter or any other cycling related issue
please feel free to contact me.


Thank you,
XXXXXX


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=u8e6ZReHLKM&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI4fzVFE164&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USKQUbFbYqg&feature=relmfu


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Old 10-21-12, 01:12 PM   #7
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Loogi's point that putting Sharrows on some streets but not others, does imply to motorist that cyclist do not belong on streets without Sharrows. That is NOT a good thing even if Sharrows are better than bike lanes. Understanding cyclist right to the full lane is better than either Sharrows or bike lanes.
I can fully agree with that, but if painting a few sharrows helps the public to understand the rights of cyclist I'm all for it. The press that would go along with their installation should educate many.

Last edited by Metal Man; 10-21-12 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:39 PM   #8
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As I said they want to establish a route from the trail to the downtown. Currently there is a ban on bikes on the sidewalks. The proposal is to amend the ban on a section of walk and send bikes through a crosswalk to the sidewalk and then to an alley. I can only assume there would be no direction from there to the business district and you would still have to take the roads to patronize any businesses.

I am against directing bikes to the sidewalk and think that sharrows would accomplish everything the town is trying to do.
Sounds like "Cyclist may use full lane" signs would be the best option to tell cyclist the route and to use the road.
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Old 10-21-12, 02:35 PM   #9
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I can't say that motorists behave any differently because of the presence or absence of sharrows markings. Some may recall seeing them, but I bet most don't know what they mean.

From my perspective, I don't behave differently because of the presence or absence of sharrows markings either. I understand the intent behind them, but I don't understand their function in reality.

-G
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Old 10-21-12, 03:10 PM   #10
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I see them as something a bureaucrat can point to and say "Look what I did". The ones we have locally are painted in the door zone and do not indicate a proper lane position. If they are only to increase driver awareness, a large symbol of a bicycle in the middle of the lane would be more useful.
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Old 10-21-12, 04:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Traffic lanes have worked extremely well for me for decades as my 'on road bike facilities'.
I will only use the road.

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Originally Posted by adamhenry View Post
I see them as something a bureaucrat can point to and say "Look what I did". The ones we have locally are painted in the door zone and do not indicate a proper lane position. If they are only to increase driver awareness, a large symbol of a bicycle in the middle of the lane would be more useful.
This is the very reason I don't trust sharrows, much like bike trails. The implementation of said bike travel 'enhancements', looks good politically. But when it gets down to it, government doesn't care.

In a way, like the common government warning about a bridge freezing before the road, asphalt bike trails will buckle under the heat long before anyone in government chooses to repair them.

Last edited by Chris516; 10-21-12 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 10-21-12, 04:46 PM   #12
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OK so we can plainly see that not everyone agrees with them.
Now that we go that cleared up the question remains, does any one have any info if PENNDOT allows them on a state highway? Does anyone know of a PA state highway with sharrows?

Last edited by Metal Man; 10-21-12 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 10-21-12, 05:07 PM   #13
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Help some of us here, what is a sharrow? Spell check goes off over the word. Why are we debating something called a sharrow when we really need lights in the church?
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Old 10-21-12, 05:18 PM   #14
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See the Youtube links in my post above.
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Old 10-21-12, 07:21 PM   #15
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here's a link from the FHWA to most 50 states' highway design manuals. don't know if they are 100% current, but the penndot one should provide additional searching information for you.

Federal Highway Administration list of all 50 states highway design guides
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Old 10-22-12, 12:03 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Loogi's point that putting Sharrows on some streets but not others, does imply to motorist that cyclist do not belong on streets without Sharrows. That is NOT a good thing even if Sharrows are better than bike lanes. Understanding cyclist right to the full lane is better than either Sharrows or bike lanes.
Agreed, which is also the dam er problem with bike lanes. If none are present there are those who will think that that means we're "not allowed" on the roads. It would be better to either paint sharrows on EVERY road, or none at all.
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Old 10-22-12, 01:16 AM   #17
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OK,thank you for your answer to the question do you like sharrows, again, that's not the
information I was looking for.
I agree that in a perfect world there would be no use for a sharrow or a painted bike lane. I know what the law say's about where I can ride my bike. But maybe, just maybe if some paint on the road will help to educate even just a few motorist I am willing to look at a picture of a bike on the road once in a while.
If it also helps a few cyclist to join our ranks then that is better for all of us. Did you even bother to read the details on this in my original posts? They want to amend the city ordinance to send bikes down a sidewalk!
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Old 10-22-12, 03:36 AM   #18
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OK,thank you for your answer to the question do you like sharrows, again, that's not the
information I was looking for.
I agree that in a perfect world there would be no use for a sharrow or a painted bike lane. I know what the law say's about where I can ride my bike. But maybe, just maybe if some paint on the road will help to educate even just a few motorist I am willing to look at a picture of a bike on the road once in a while.
If it also helps a few cyclist to join our ranks then that is better for all of us. Did you even bother to read the details on this in my original posts? They want to amend the city ordinance to send bikes down a sidewalk!
Everyone got the sidewalk point even without the oversized font and oppose that idea. Why are you so closed minded to the other information being provided here?
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Old 10-22-12, 04:26 AM   #19
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And if you know anything about how sharrowed lane placements are implemented, you can

disregard most of the above posturing and "All or nothing" posts as fringe and uninformed.

Sharrows are placed on identified bicycle routes in a bikeway network, in lanes where additional traffic guidance is suggested for bicycle traffic and, primarily, when a lane is considered too narrow to share within the lane on, and only on, slower speed portions of identified bicycle routes.

Sharrows provide a host of safety enhancements and potential benefits for bicyclists.

anyone looking for additional information on shared lane markings is encouraged to do a little self-education on them at

the NACTO urban bikeway guide sharrow design page

I think the OP is right on the money. I think you will need to be quite proactive on this. the sidewalk ban is in place for a reason. i think you need to look for any traffic engineer or city councilman that is even vaguely bicyclist friendly, and nip this troubling sidewalk riding plan in the bud.
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Old 10-22-12, 10:18 AM   #20
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And if you know anything about how sharrowed lane placements are implemented, you can

disregard most of the above posturing and "All or nothing" posts as fringe and uninformed.

Sharrows are placed on identified bicycle routes in a bikeway network, in lanes where additional traffic guidance is suggested for bicycle traffic and, primarily, when a lane is considered too narrow to share within the lane on, and only on, slower speed portions of identified bicycle routes.

Sharrows provide a host of safety enhancements and potential benefits for bicyclists.

anyone looking for additional information on shared lane markings is encouraged to do a little self-education on them at

the NACTO urban bikeway guide sharrow design page

I think the OP is right on the money. I think you will need to be quite proactive on this. the sidewalk ban is in place for a reason. i think you need to look for any traffic engineer or city councilman that is even vaguely bicyclist friendly, and nip this troubling sidewalk riding plan in the bud.
Bek,

One of the problem though with both sharrows is that if the motoring public DOESN'T know what they are then really what good are they? Likewise as has been pointed out, there are TOO many people/motorists who will think that if a road had neither that bikes aren't allowed on those roads.

Also here in St. Pete I can tell you from both personal first hand experience as well as talking with other cyclists that we get MORE not less harassment on a road that has been designated as a bike route. To include both intermittent bike lanes as well as sharrows.

Along this route I have received MORE harassment i.e. close passes, horn honking, both overt threats with their cars i.e. acting like they're gonna hit me, to threats of violence i.e. "your the reason cyclists get hit," to out right challenges to fight, to insults geared to challenge ones sexuality.

I have another route that I ride, no sharrows, only one road with a bike lanes. As with the bike route it has substandard width lanes. On these routes I take the lane. On the second route other then the occasional close pass I haven't been harassed, how do you explain that?
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Old 10-22-12, 10:32 AM   #21
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In a discussion of sharrows vs. sidewalk infrastructure in Pennsylvania, let's hope everyone can recognize what the discussion involves.

as to your "issues" with sharrows? whatever, digital cowboy.

you think every road, or no roads, could benefit from sharrows. It's gotta be 'all or nothing'.

that opinion is fringe, absolutist, and paints a post as lacking awareness of how sharrows will get placed, why they are on the pavement in the first place, and the vast operational and safety benefits of sharrows.

your subjective accounts of sharrows neither align with my personal accounts nor do they match a variety of studies on the efficacy of sharrows.

I'd say your position is on the losing end of the discussion.

Last edited by Bekologist; 10-22-12 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 10-22-12, 11:19 AM   #22
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People on these forums do like to spout their opinions; however, for the OP's actual question I suggest contacting the relevent PennDOT bicycle coordinator and talk with them. One I havce had dealings with is: April Hannon, 55 Keystone Industrial Park, Dunmore, PA 18512. 570-963-4076 ahannon@pa.gov. She represents PennDOT district 4, but can likely point you to the appropriate coordinator for your district if it is different.
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Old 10-22-12, 11:46 AM   #23
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I'd rather see a protected bike lane, even if the "protection" is just a couple feet of dashed markings between the travel lane and the bike lane.

I would think that "Share the Lane" signs would do more for motorist education than sharrows.
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Old 10-22-12, 12:32 PM   #24
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In a discussion of sharrows vs. sidewalk infrastructure in Pennsylvania, let's hope everyone can recognize what the discussion involves.

as to your "issues" with sharrows? whatever, digital cowboy.

you think every road, or no roads, could benefit from sharrows. It's gotta be 'all or nothing'.

that opinion is fringe, absolutist, and paints a post as lacking awareness of how sharrows will get placed, why they are on the pavement in the first place, and the vast operational and safety benefits of sharrows.

your subjective accounts of sharrows neither align with my personal accounts nor do they match a variety of studies on the efficacy of sharrows.

I'd say your position is on the losing end of the discussion.
Bek,

Overall, I do not have a problem or issue with sharrows. As a matter of fact I think that they are a better investment then bike lanes. But the problems with them are pretty much the same as with bike lanes, i.e. what use is a sharrow or bike lane that is in the door zone? Or without education to inform people what they are? I mean we've seen cyclists here who don't know what they are.

What good are they if the motoring/general population (you know those who really need to know what they are/mean) aren't educated as to what they mean?

Also these aren't just my issues, as I've said I've talked with other St. Pete cyclists and the majority of us have had similar encounters on this particular road. How do you explain that?
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Old 10-22-12, 12:35 PM   #25
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I'd rather see a protected bike lane, even if the "protection" is just a couple feet of dashed markings between the travel lane and the bike lane.

I would think that "Share the Lane" signs would do more for motorist education than sharrows.
Actually "Bikes May Use Full Lane" signs along with education is the better way to go.
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