A Sharrowing Conversation


He loves you so! Mind what he says.
A waste of paint.

We should paint little white cars on the streets to remind you that cars may use the road.
This may be a cry for help because he thinks that painted thingy looks exactly like an actual bicycle. He might consult an eye care professional before driving any more.

Market Optical has a special right now, exam and frames only $2,500 with coupon.
Well, at least they didn't paint in a point total for running over each image of a bicycle.
His logic blows. And bike-haters piss me off.
When he sees numbers and other letters painted in the road, as in "this is a 25 MPH zone" or "PED XING", what's his (non) thinking then?
I wish your boyfriend was accepting as broad-minded as you are in this matter, Dan.
Why did they choose major arterials for the bike sharrows? Federal to Nagel Place to 10th, through Seattle U would be safer wouldn't it?
Possible photo of Dan's boyfriend during his straight years.

Oh, for God's sake, don't run over bikes, people. It'll fuck up your car.
when cycling, my boyfriend views sharrows and bike lane markings as "power-ups"

when he rides over them he says "bing! bing!" and starts biking really fast.
You sleep with this guy?
@7 Arterials are arterials for a reason: they go places. In Seattle in particular, they are often the ONLY way to get to a place. And they have things like stoplights, which make it possible for vehicles including bikes to get across the cross street. And they tend to be free of people behaving blindly, backing slowly out of driveways without looking, leaving car doors open, chasing after balls, bending over and sticking their gargantuan backsides into the roadway whilst rooting around for spilled groceries, etc.
Yeah those confuse me too
Damn it, @10 beat me to it,
Market Optical has a special right now, exam and frames only $2,500 with coupon.

Huh. Only four times more than my exam and glasses. What a steal!
If you have an "accident" he'll never outlive the suspicion. Do you sleep with one eye open Dan?

Terry, you're too funny!
I agree with the boyfriend: Anything you drive over multiple times a day would be desensitizing. Imagine if they painted pictures of children and dogs all over the street, to "remind" you to watch out for them? All that does is condition you to ignore it because it becomes part of the scenery.
@17 The sharrow symbols might desensitize you to running over two-dimensional patches of white paint shaped roughly like a bicyclist. You may have noticed that real bicyclists look substantially different.
Remind me again why gays get to make jokes about killing bicyclists, but not the other way around? Maybe you and the bf should have a talk.
Sharrows are great! The point is that they encourage more people to ride bikes on a certain street, thus turning that street into a de facto bikeway. Drivers will then start seeing more and more people riding bikes on that street and will, the theory goes, be more careful in general. I like them better than bike lanes because they imply greater freedom for me when I'm on my bike; they let the drivers know that the whole lane is available to cyclists, not that little strip over on the side. They're even better when combined with street design that restricts traffic speed.

And drivers, you should love sharrows too, since they a)don't take away your precious parking b)don't take any of your precious traffic lanes. while c)encouraging more people to ride bikes, thus providing more available parking and less traffic.

Or, they're an excuse to make jokes about attempted murder.
Sharing road with bicycles makes me nervous, even more during winter when the cars or the bicycles can slide so easily. Separate path are more safe.
@19, could you refresh my memory about bicyclists who joke about killing gays?
@18 Not up here, shabadoo, in fact, bikes look *just* like that in Canada:
Sharrows also visually shrink the lane --without physically shrinking it--, causing cars to drive more carefully. And possibly a bit slower too. Both good things in my world.

Also, I agree with @21 -- separate paths are better, by a long shot. But it's a bit tricky to secure the funding to retrofit an entire city with separate bike paths that go all the places people need to go.
Those sharrows totally work by creating an invisible "safety shield" around bicyclists that can survive impact with a two thousand pound vehicle. It works via the magic of good intentions.
@17, are you also "desensitized" to lane markings, stop signs, lights, and all the other traffic control features? You see them every day, after all.
"Well, all they're doing is de-sensitizing me to running over things that look like bicycles," the boyfriend said, "so you better watch out."

What if a straight guy said "All these gays on capitol hill totally desensitize me to beating them up. I mean there are so many out there who cares if a few go missing right? RIGHT?"

I see two seperate argueing points against sharrows here that are being repeated over and over. Let me break them both down here.

The first argument is that sharrows are not effective. Somehow everyone that has not studied how they work at all seems to be able to make blanket claims that they don't work. This is simply not true. Go look up any of the many studies that show they are effective at changing the mindset of drivers and therefor making cyclists safer. This in turn takes more cars off the road as safety is the biggest reason why people don't ride bikes. This leads to LESS CONGESTION for motorists.

The second argument is that even if sharrows are effective cyclists don't deserve them. This comes from general anti-bike sentiment that is counter productive to motorists because it leads to more single person cars on the road.
As a biker, I tend to agree with your bf. I don't feel safer with paint in the road, because people still drive like they want to kill you.

I prefer having multiple lanes, and driving in the middle of the farthest right one. It can be for cars and bikes, but at least it doesn't mean I'm in the door zone next to a sharrow.
I never understand why some people just oppose all cyclists... It's cheaper, better for the environment, makes the roads last longer and leads to less congestion. What's not to like?
@31, find the answer to that question and we'll be a lot closer to an understanding of why there are any Republican types in our world.
don't know what the law is in Seattle, but here, on my bike, I have all the rights and responsibilities of a car. If I want/need to take up a lane, I WILL take up a lane. Cars can threaten me all they want. Yes they're bigger than me, and yes they will hurt me more, but I'm not going to be scared into driving my car 20k miles a year because a few other drivers are poo-heads.

Bike lanes, sharrows, whatever are a double edged sword. Cars often don't bother to give a cyclist room when passing if there's a bike lane. Feeling the heat off a car that's passing, or getting sucked towards a large truck isn't a fun feeling when all you're trying to do is get to work, save money, and get a little exercise all at the same time.

There's a good long discussion of bike lanes at the CTC forums:
or here if anyone cares:
Cyclists are supposed to obey the same laws that car drivers do. But they don't. They run red lights, turn left in front of traffic, and generally abuse the fact that most people would prefer not to kill them. Once this changes, they will get more respect on the street. And they will die less too.
What type of sharrow can we paint to remind bicyclist that it is not ok to run down pedestrians?
when i first read this post i figured this was just a light-hearted exchange between two husbands, but after reading these comments it is evident he was being completely serious and hates all cyclists and kills them whenever the opportunity presents itself. his bloodlust knows no bounds. he's like a murderous homophobe or worse, a republican!
@35 Drivers never do that. and that's why no one threatens them with death.
The ones on Stone Way N seem to do more harm than good. There's a nasty intersection where the sharrows shift from the right to forcing bikes to the far left to continue straight down hill to Fremont - at the exact same moment cars are being shifted to the right to head to Aurora. I've seen so many near misses, it's just a matter of time before I'm waiting around to be a witness for the police.
@37: It's a miracle that I've managed to survive 16 years with him unscathed. It's not that he hasn't attempted to run me over, it's just that he hasn't managed to succeed.
@3 re: Market Optical, LOL
@ 40 Are you sure you want marriage equality? He will maybe try harder.
@40 Stick and move, baby. Stick and move.
@39, that's Bridge Way N. A disaster. It's further complicated by the way that right before there, at 40th, where there are two (mistimed) lights in rapid succession, drivers continuing south have to shift drastically left to keep their lane, or end up driving in the turn lane. And, as you point out, the bike lane for that section is BETWEEN two car lanes. And everyone drives 45 on Stone Way. It's a clusterfuck all around. Especially at night.

I also love the intersection at the northern end, which is actually Green Lake Way, where it splits into E and W, and where there are a total of SEVENTEEN new road signs, defying the comprehension of even the most dedicated rule-follower.
Would you be offended if I agreed with your better half here?

(For the record - I walk everywhere. So I have equal disdain for drivers and cyclists.)
Yea yea...keep riding your bikes....and I will keep honking from behind and running yall off the road. I am getting really good at it too.
@27 We don't have traffic lights or lane markings, here, Fnarf. We just signal by waving a dead beaver out the side of the car, so all that painted stuff on the road would just confuse me.

PS Who shit in your cornflakes today, Fnarf, you seem a little tense...
When they sharrowed us here in Cincinnati last year, we were told that, in addition to desensitizing drivers to bikes, the point of the sharrow was also useful to indicate to bikers where to ride so as not to get "car-doored".
@47, no, Canuck, I'm good. I was pissy on Friday, for sure, but today I'm all sunshine and light. Will is trying to shit on them, as usual, but as usual he's just shitting all over himself. Very unsightly.

@49, you live in Cincy? I had no idea. As for your dooring idea, that may work where you are, but here they appear to have gone to some trouble to put the sharrows right at the point of maximum door damage.
Judge for yourself, Fnarf. Here's what they sold us on: http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/sharrows/

Couldn't find any photos, but I did notice last month that Seattle's seemed painted closer to the parking lane than ours.
Sharrows kind of annoy me, mostly because they're like "Do Not Litter" signs. Are you allowed to litter elsewhere? No. Am I allowed to ride everywhere? Yes (with some exceptions).
Wouldn't it be ironic if someone was startled by a sharrow, swerved to avoid it and collected a cyclist instead?
Transportation wouldn't be as much of a problem for Dan if he didn't have to rely on his bike and his boyfriend, but that's what happens when you get a string of DUIs.

And remember, in America, if you're a grown-up and you can't drive, that's the only reason why. DUIs. Plain and simple.

"I don't know how to drive." Please.

Stay on the wagon, Doorknob Danny.
As a driver who is still getting accustomed to the number of bicyclists in Seattle, I love the sharrows. They remind me to be careful, especially when I'm moving to turn right. I also tend to avoid that lane in general, which is good for cyclists. I like sharing the road with cyclists, I just get nervous about accidentally running them over, so anything to remind me of their presence is welcome.
@54, Are you serious? If so, how asinine.
@53, yes, the irony of a blind man receiving a driver's license. I'm sure we'll be reading about it in the newspapers any day now.
Terry's witty! I can see why you fell for him the morning after, so to speak.
@9 I do that, too! I thought I was the only one getting power-ups. Though I try not to make any "bing bing" noises when I'm riding alone. I can't say that I"m totally successful.
I think I love your boyfriend. And I strongly encourage such desensitization.
Today, in Seattle, my friend hit a car door a driver opened right in front of her bike. She broke her arm and her ankle. Sensitized drivers? Not today!
@57: Sadly, drivers do get freaked by the stupidest shit, do stupid shit and drive stupidly. And then blame their stupid shittery on stupid shit.
Beside which, if a person needs these warnings (if they actually serve a useful purpose), they probably shouldn't be driving. But it's easier to add stupid shit to the streetscape than to remove shitty drivers.
There, I think I got that out of my system, :D
Seems like a very expensive way to "cheat" our way into the ranks of "BEST CITIES TO BIKE IN". However, I'm waiting on a study as to the effectiveness of sharrows. As I've learned by reading http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27765… , There's more than meets the eye when it comes to the psychology of drivers.

I'd like to point out that when bicycles were first introduced to city streets (yes, "cars" came first in the form of horse-drawn carriages) there was fierce hatred and opposition to the new technology. Bicycles and horses didn't mix well. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_tZ-yszpRiPI/R7…

Today, the hatred of cyclists persists. Because of the perception that they don't normally contribute financially to the maintenance of the roads they use, and that they often act in blatantly unlawful ways in traffic, while simultaneously upholding their entitlement to be treated as another vehicle, many motor-vehicle operators dislike cyclists. Only now, the safety of the cyclist is the one in danger, where previously the equestrian was the one being thrown by a spooked horse.

Oh, man... how did I miss this part? Besides scaring the horses, the bicycle sort of threatened the way of life of the horse industry. They ushered in the automobile. But in a particular way: "...they were ridden by "dandies", the precursor of today's metrosexual male, who demanded smoother manmade roads that would make the automobile a more viable option."

The sharrows are there to alert cyclists as to the proper lane position. Some cyclists will ride in the door zone on streets that don't have bike lanes, so the sharrow tells them where they actually should be riding. I guess the point is also to alert drivers that there may be bikes, although they should always be prepared for bikes on streets where cycling is allowed.
sharrows remind drivers that cyclists are allowed to take the lane (and thus that their automotive status is compromised - hence the hatred).

in portland the sharrows are smaller and subtler and used mostly in the center of the lane at cross-street intersections, and electronically notify the red light as to the presence of a cyclist - no more leaning way over to punch the pedestrian button. perhaps seattle's funding ran out, and this first round of sharrows helps keep the revenue pipeline open a crack while simultaneously getting drivers sensitized to our presence.

of course it's not at all out of the question that they were deliberately botched as a pretext for CUTTING a bike-friendly revenue stream, no?
@64- Half the time the sharrows are in the "door lane." And cyclists are supposed to ride on the far right of the driving lane.