About Shared Lane Bicycle Markings

Page updated on Jul 27, 2010 at 4:37 PM
About Shared Lane Bicycle Marking (Sharrows)


What is it?

  • A Shared Lane Marking ("sharrow") is essentially a bicycle lane marking within a travel lane.

  • It is intended to improve positioning of bicyclists on roadways with significant bicycle usage and parked vehicles where curb lanes are too narrow for motorists and bicyclists to travel side by side within the lane.

  • It encourages bicycling in the correct direction, discourages bicycling on sidewalks, and studies show a decrease motor vehicle/bicycle conflicts by informing motorists where to expect cyclists, especially on urban and suburban roadways with narrow curb lanes.


  • In a study conducted for the San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic (SF DPT), the stencil markings improved both motorists' and cyclists' positions in the roadway. The markings also reduced sidewalk and wrong-way riding.

  • Some cities are piloting the use of shared lane markings. For instance, Arlington has just installed its first "sharrow" on North Harrison at Lee Highway.