Slower going for Westside sharrow lanes
‘Shared lane’ not big enough for the both of them (bike and car)

       City officials are calling them “shared lanes,” but the reality is that if sharrows are used as recommended it will not be possible for both a bike and a car to share the same lane.
LEFT: A City Engineering graphic, as presented to City Council, gives the impression a car and bike can both fit in a sharrow lane.
RIGHT: Even a small car has to use at least part of the next lane to pass, based on the measurements shown.
Graphic courtesy of City Engineering; edits right by Travers and Therese Jordan, Westside Pioneer

       The typical city lane width is 12 feet, but motorists would need to be at least a foot out of that lane to pass legally.
       Here are the distances:
  • 4 feet - This is the required distance from parking spaces (or the side of the road, in no-parking areas such as 30th Street) to the arrow point of the sharrow that cyclists will be recommended to line up with, according to the presentation to City Council by Nick Kittle, head of the city's public works team, at a meeting this week.
  • 1 foot - the average width of the left half of a bicycle that's following the sharrow's arrow.
  • 3 feet - the state-required distance between a car and a bicycle.
  • 5-6 feet - the average width of motor vehicles.
           Adding up these numbers results in a total of 13 or 14 feet.
           Bottom line? For a car to pass a bicycle that is legally using a sharrow marking, the motorist will need an opening in the next lane over.

    Westside Pioneer article