Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sharrows placed on Lawyers Road in Reston

Photo: Charlie Bobbish
Sharrows were recently placed on Lawyers Road between Twin Branches Rd and the beginning of bike lanes near Myrtle Lane. This is a stretch of narrow road with heavy traffic that many cyclists use to connect the Lawyers Rd bike lanes with Twin Branches Rd and Hunter Station Rd. Thanks to VDOT for responding to requests from cyclist, and thanks to area cyclists who took the time to contact VDOT and ask for the markings.

Sharrows, also known as Shared Lane Markings, are intended to let motorist know to expect cyclists in the road, and to guide cyclists as to where they should be riding. Here is info on use of sharrows from the national standard on traffic markings, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:
Image from the Arlington PAL campaign
The Shared Lane Marking shown in Figure 9C-9 may be used to:
  1. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist's impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
  2. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
  3. Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
  4. Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
  5. Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.

Sharrows being installed on Lawyers Rd
Photo: Jeff Anderson
02 The Shared Lane Marking should not be placed on roadways that have a speed limit above 35 mph.


03 Shared Lane Markings shall not be used on shoulders or in designated bicycle lanes.

04 If used in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking, Shared Lane Markings should be placed so that the centers of the markings are at least 11 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

05 If used on a street without on-street parking that has an outside travel lane that is less than 14 feet wide, the centers of the Shared Lane Markings should be at least 4 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

06 If used, the Shared Lane Marking should be placed immediately after an intersection and spaced at intervals not greater than 250 feet thereafter.


07 Section 9B.06 describes a Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign that may be used in addition to or instead of the Shared Lane Marking to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.

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This is now a dangerous little section of road for a cyclist (where I personally took a nasty spill last night). Does anybody know of an effort to "close the gap" - especially the little uphill part on a curve puts a slow cyclist right in the path of a speeding car...

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