SHARED LANE MARKINGS - FAQ
Shared lane pavement markings provide visual cues for motorists and cyclists, allowing them to safely align themselves within a shared travel lane.
1. What is a shared lane?Shared lanes are regular traffic lanes with painted bike symbols and directional arrows designed to remind cyclists where they should ride when sharing a travel lane with other traffic.
2. Why do we need shared lanes?
Shared lanes improve safety by directing cyclists to move further away from parked cars outside of the car door zone. Shared lanes act as a reminder for motorists to be aware of cyclists and to give them a visual cue as to how much space to provide when passing a cyclist.
3. How do I use a shared lane?Cyclists: Ride over the center of the symbols, since the markings are placed in a safer travel area of the roadway. Travel in the same direction as traffic, following the same rules of the road as other vehicles. Cyclists are generally expected to travel as close to the curb as practicable, but with parking, cyclists are expected to ride in the center of the lane markings to prevent accidental ‘dooring’ from a parked vehicle.
Motorists: Drive carefully, knowing that you are sharing the road with cyclists. If cyclists are present, simply slow down and pass with care at a safe distance of no less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle. If cyclists are not present, drive in the travel lane as you normally would. If cyclists are present, simply slow down and pass with care. When passing, please be careful not to endanger yourself, the cyclist, or oncoming traffic. If traffic is heavy, please be patient and wait for a suitable and safe time to pass the cyclist.
4. As a motorist, how do I make a right turn through a shared lane?
The same rules apply if you were changing lanes or turning right at an intersection: Signal your intention. Check for cyclists in your right-hand mirrors and do a right-shoulder check. If there is a cyclist in the shared lane, use your best judgment whether you turning onto a side street will affect said cyclist. If it will, be courteous and wait for the cyclist to pass. If there is no danger to the cyclist, proceed cautiously through the shared lane. Do not make your right turn until you’ve checked for cyclists.
5. Why shared lanes instead of bike lanes?
Shared lanes are used on streets where bike lanes are not possible due to insufficient width of the roadway or significant parking concerns.
6. Why do shared lane markings sometimes appear in the middle of the lane?
On lanes of traffic where on-street parking is allowed, the Shared Lane markings are placed in the middle of the lane to show the cyclist where they should ride when automobiles are parked on the road. The suggested travel path is the safest place for a cyclist to ride when there are parked automobiles. Without parked cars, the cyclist is expected to ride as far right as practicable.
7. Do cyclists have to ride over the shared lane markings?
No. The marking simply show where cyclists would be expected to ride under ordinary conditions. If turning left, passing other cyclists, or avoiding potholes, cyclists may position themselves away from the street markings.