Trivia ? What is a sharrow?

July 15, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

“A bicycle sharrow, two chevrons painted above a bicycle symbol on the road, indicates the lane is shared. This is not to be confused with a bike lane.” Ontario Drivers Handbook.

Bicycling is becoming increasingly popular in the city of Toronto and in an effort to understand the rules of the road more thoroughly, especially for someone who has not cracked open the driver’s handbook in decades, I went looking for clarification and have decided that the City of Toronto needs an advertising campaign with information sheets written in plain speak! I hardly ev-er drive downtown but when I do,  I  am not sure about using the bike lanes (not sharrows) when turning right.

First,  everything is governed by the Ontario Highway Act – and like who wants to read that? However the information in the Driver’s Handbook is pretty clear. Here is the page on sharing the road with cyclists, and some excerpts below.

Intersections – To avoid collisions with bicyclists at intersections, remember the following:

  • When turning right, signal and check your mirrors and the blind spot to your right to make sure you do not cut off a cyclist.
  • When turning left, you must stop and wait for oncoming bicycles to pass before turning.
  • When driving through an intersection, be careful to scan for cyclists waiting to turn left.

Bike lanes are reserved for cyclists. They are typically marked by a solid white line. Sometimes you will need to enter or cross a bike lane to turn right at a corner or driveway.  Take extra care when you do this. Enter the bike lane only after ensuring that you can do so safely, and then make the turn.

Bike boxes help prevent collisions between motorists and bicycles at intersections. It is typically a painted box on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside. Bicycle lanes approaching and leaving the box may also be painted. As a driver, you must stop for a traffic signal behind the bike box. Do not stop in the box. {Me: I don’t think that I have seen one of these.}

Here is the City’s page on cycling and the section on cycling and the law. Did you know that you cannot park your car in the bike lane and the fine for parking a motor vehicle in a bicycle lane has increased from $60 to $150. So, as I witnessed one day in the distillery district, a car pulled over and stopped  in the bike lane waiting to pickup someone deserved to get harassed by the cyclist who had to move into the car lane to pass. This page  provides examples of typical car/bike collisions and this page is Municipal Code on bike lanes.

Check it out! Be in the know! It  is everyone’s responsibility to drive and ride safely.



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