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See also: Sharrow



A sharrow on a road in the United States.
A sharrow (lower right) on Grand Street in New York City, New York, USA.

Blend of share (verb) +‎ arrow,[1] coined by Oliver Gajda of the City and County of San Francisco Bicycle Program;[2] see the 21 July 2004 quotation.



sharrow (plural sharrows)

  1. (US, Canada) A marking (often consisting of an image of a bicycle with two inverted V shapes either above or below it) on the surface of a paved road shared by both bicycles and other vehicles indicating a portion of the road that cyclists may use. [from c. 2004]
    Synonym: shared lane marking
    • 2004 March 27, Wayne Pein, “Re: LAB?”, in rec.bicycles.misc[2] (Usenet), retrieved 14 June 2018, message-ID <4065D06D.ABC65A8A@nc.rr.comnews>:
      If you are referring to the website, I don't believe we have a picture of what has been called the "Sharrow," the Shared-Use Arrow. ... Some of us on another list are in discussion about the Sharrow. Our conclusion seems to be that it is preferable to bike lanes, but should be laterally located in the center of the lane so as to NOT mis-communicate to either party expected bicyclist lateral location.
    • 2004 July 21, San Francisco Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), “Regular Meeting Minutes”, in City and County of San Francisco[3], archived from the original on 14 June 2018:
      As to the SHARROW Study (E1) Mr. Gajda reminded the BAC that colors have to be approved along with everything else and without CTCDC approval the City would be legally exposed. The BAC has the opportunity to advise the Board of Supervisors of our preferences and the Board can then inform the DPT. After being asked of how SHARROW placement decisions are made Mr. Gajda responded that the first work is done on bike routes that do not have a bike lane. Class three roadways. Volumes, speeds, width, collisions, especially dooring. Mr. Gajda warned that the date is based on citations in collision data base which leaves out all unreported accidents. After being asked about what items in the report DPT recommends action by the BAC Mr. Gajda responded that BAC take action on Policy, Grants, and Funding Legislation. Jerry Ervin (District 8) requested a specific list of where the BAC could expect requests for action from DPT. Mr. Gajda responded: SHARROW, Howard Street, Folsom Street, Octavia, Street Surface Conditions, Bicycle Parking, Baby Bullets, BART Bike Station, Funding.
    • 2012, Peter G. Furth, “Bicycling Infrastructure for Mass Cycling: A Transatlantic Comparison”, in John Pucher, Ralph Buehler, editors, City Cycling (Urban and Industrial Environments), Cambridge, Mass., London: The MIT Press, →ISBN, page 130:
      The principal American road-sharing treatment is sharrows ("shared lane arrows"), a bicycle silhouette topped by a double chevron, usually marked every 200 feet (65 m) in the middle or right third of a travel lane in order to encourage cyclists to ride at a safe distance from parked cars. Sharrows are used on both two-lane and multilane roads. [...] Although some cyclists feel that sharrows given them legitimacy when controlling the lane, there is a danger that sharrows will become a cop-out, a way for the city to claim that it's created bike routes without really doing anything to improve bicycling conditions.
    • 2012, Jeffrey Tumlin, “Measuring Success”, in Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy, and Resilient Communities (Wiley Series in Sustainable Design; 16), Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 276:
      If there is not enough room to stripe separate bicycle lanes, perhaps motor-vehicle speeds could be reduced through traffic calming, with sharrows installed in the middle of the traffic lanes. This is not a perfect solution for bicyclists, but perhaps it will meet the minimum service threshold.
    • 2014, Gene Bisbee, “Seattle”, in Best Bike Rides Seattle: Great Recreational Rides in the Metro Area (A Falcon Guide; Where to Ride Series), Guilford, Conn.: FalconGuides, Globe Pequot Press, →ISBN, page 1:
      As of this writing, the city has 78 miles of bike lanes, 47 miles of bike trails, and 92 miles of sharrows (streets marked to remind motorists that bicycles have a right to the road).
    • 2016 February 5, Eric Jaffe, “Some Bike Infrastructure Is Worse Than None at All”, in Bloomberg CityLab:
      (quoting Nicholas Ferenchak and Wesley Marshall) It is time that sharrows are exposed for what they really are, a cheap alternative that not only fails to solve a pressing safety issue, but actually makes the issue worse through a sense of false security.



  1. ^ sharrow, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2018; sharrow, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022. The term shared lane marking was used earlier (from c. 1993) to refer to the road marking.
  2. ^ John Angelico (2011 February 18) “Bay Bikers: The Bay Area’s Bicycle Blog: The Elegant Sharrow Tells You where to Go”, in San Francisco Chronicle[1] (blog), archived from the original on 6 November 2012:The word sharrow was coined by Oliver Gajda of the SFMTA as a shortcut for “shared roadway marking,” although it gets its groovy sound from a combination of “shared (lane)” and “arrow” – it makes perfect aural sense.

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