Corvallis’ Transportation Program Specialist Weighs In: What the Heck Are Sharrows?

Shared lane markings convey the message that motorists and bicyclists must share the road—a concept particularly apropos to life in bike-friendly Corvallis. The city of Corvallis has placed “shared lane pavement markings,” aka sharrows, on some sections of street where there is insufficient room for a bike lane, yet a large number of cyclists are expected to be utilizing the roadway.

Unlike bicycle lanes, sharrows do not designate a particular part of the street for the exclusive use of bicyclists—they are simply carefully placed markings to guide cyclists to the best place to ride (and avoid hitting open car doors), and they alert motorists to expect to share the lane. They’re used on low-speed roadways, like Monroe Avenue downtown, where the traffic lanes are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same lane.

The Corvallis roadways with sharrows currently include 14th Street from Monroe to Harrison, 2nd Street from Van Buren Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, Monroe Avenue from 5th Street to 2nd Street, and Harrison Boulevard between 30th and 35th streets.

All roadway users need to “Share with care.”

What do sharrows mean for motorists and bicyclists?

Motorists:
-Expect to see bicyclists on the street
-Remember to give bicyclists three feet of space when passing
-Follow the rules of the road as if there were no sharrows

-Bicyclists
-Use the sharrows markings to guide where you ride within the lane
-Remember not to ride too close to parked cars
-Follow the rules of the road as if there were no sharrows

Contact the city’s Transportation Program Specialist at gregory.wilson@corvallioregon.gov or 541-754-1730 for any further information on sharrows, cycling, or pedestrian issues.

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