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Residents may have noticed new "sharrows" painted along College Street from Lansdowne to Dufferin. This is the city bike committee's brilliant idea to convince drivers to "share" the road with cyclists. Problem is the symbols are painted in the parking lane so they are obscured most of the day by parked cars. Are they intended for only rush hour use? Who knows?
And frankly, would you allow your 11 year old child to bike on busy College St in a "sharrow"? I wouldn't.
Physically separated bike lanes are the only safe alternative for bike riders from 6-60. When is this city going to catch up with Portland, Montreal, New York, Amsterdam, etc.
Indeed those are "Rush Hour Sharrows" as the city is calling them and they are, at this point, a pilot program. So definitely, love them or hate them *please* give your feedback to the city.
Dave Meslin offers a few thoughts on the subject here: http://meslin.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/sharrows/
I agree! After being hit three times in the past year and a half, I tell pedestrians who complain about bikes on the sidewalk to help make the streets safe for cyclists with physically separated lanes. Let's do this thing!
What I don't like about the sharrows as they're installed is that they're quite far to the right implying, IMO incorrectly, that cyclists should be riding in the gutter leaving room for drivers to share the lane (as opposed to the road). Unfortunately in this stretch the lane really isn't wide enough to be shared safely and riding in the gutter only encourages some to try to share anyway. Taking the entire lane is the safest alternative (far safer, IMO, than riding the sidewalk which statistics show can be one of the most dangerous places to ride) but sharrows in the gutter now give the appearance that this is disallowed (which couldn't be further from the truth) which may inflame some already irritated drivers.
But yes, I think most of us who travel on two wheels would prefer to see bike lanes, better still protected ones that don't act as free parking/loading zones during the summer and snow storage in the winter.
The best I can offer to that end is to get involved as much as you can. Joining the bike union (http://www.bikeunion.to) is a great start as is supporting other grassroots organizations such as our neighbourhood's own Bike Pirates. And get out there and ride. There's safety in numbers.
I sent the message re sharrows to Chris Gallop in Adam Giambrone's office. This is his reply.
They are indeed intended to be a positioning guide to cyclists and motorists during rush hour primarily. They are not intended to replace bike lanes, but rather are for use on streets that aren't wide enough for dedicated bike lanes. In the case of College, the only way to put in dedicated bike lanes would be to remove virtually all parking. I've attached an article with some more information.
Acting Executive Assistant
Office of Adam Giambrone
One thing that Vancouver has done with great success is to develop a shadow road network that is the 'designated' bikeway through a neighbourhood. [For those of you familiar, I remember Adanac and W 8th as prime examples.]
Stop signs were reduced to encourage commuters to use them and bike height buttons and bike road sensors were installed at major street intersections. Cars are still welcome on these roads, but discouraged with speed bumps (with narrower openings for bike tires to cruise on through), but as the streets became the defacto bike highway, drivers soon learned that they didn't want to be on those roads during the daily commute anyways.
I do remember looking at a bike route map of Toronto in the past and thinking that suggested routes were too meandering, and not marked, making it hard to remember where to turn, and making a trip far too complicated. To encourage commuting, the network has to consist of some pretty good long straight roads. I think there are enough north-south streets that make great candidates (Brock, Gladstone, Dovercourt, Grace/GoreVale, Palmerston). However, some compromises will have to be made for east-west streets (maybe Wallace, Bloor, Harbord, Dundas, King?).
Perhaps, rather than trying to get cars and bikes to co-exist with half-measures of 'sharrows' and on-off-on-off bike lanes, a better solution might be to develop a simple 'shadow' network of designated commuter roads and market/publicize it enough with bike maps/signs/road markings to encourage people to use it? In doing so, perhaps we can also convince people to stop riding on sidewalks and other similarly poor cycling practices.
With a clear increase in usage, it would be easier to make a case to the city for better official markings and signage - and even better, drivers who choose to stay on those roads will become bike aware.
Indeed it IS dangerous to ride a bike on the sidewalk. Dangerous for pedestrians! Please keep your bikes off the sidewalks. It is dangerous AND illegal
If the city's idea of creating awareness that sharing the lane is not only a decent and respectful thing to do, but in fact the law; is by putting glorified stickers on the road - then I'd prefer to see stickers similar to those used at the collision reporting stations that say "damage reported to police" only "cyclist hit here" on the road. My fear would be that the budget for the sharrow stickers wouldn't remotely cover it.
I really want to see change, sadly this doesn't even come close, frankly the comic style warnings of potholes are more encouraging
You're right. But the city is already moving forward on this :)
The College St. sharrow experiment is part of a whole plan for "West end bikeways". More info here: http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/public-consultations/west-end-toronto.htm
No, not illegal - under 26" wheels are allowed, the intention is to allow children to ride from a young age; not to say this isn't abused. However to state it is illegal is wrong.
Yes... except for CHILDREN on bikes. It is legal for them to ride on the sidewalk, and safer for them (talking about kids on small bikes here, not teenagers on adult-sized bikes).
Just to let people know, this back-and-forth thread is about to be posted here http://celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=Bicycles.FrontPage, along with the two older neighbourhood e-list discussions already on there. The link Vic sent (below) is very interesting. This paragraph in the report certainly helps to clarify the reason for these sharrows:
"In addition to the seven corridors, Toronto Transportation is proposing to pilot “rush-hour” sharrows along College Street, from Manning to Lansdowne. Sharrows are bicycle pavement markings used in shared lanes to indicate the ideal cyclist position in the lane and to remind drivers to share the road. The “rush-hour” sharrows will be installed in the middle of the curb lane and only be visible and usable during peak hours and in the peak direction. The goal of installing these pavement markings is to connect the existing College bike lane (which discontinues between Manning and Lansdowne) for at least the peak travel hours of the day..."
Cyclists who travel on College Street: is this helping?
I just want to say that I know it is illegal and dangerous to ride on the sidewalk however sometimes I am left with no choice as I cant stay on the street for fear of being hit or injured. I am a waitress who needs both her hands and legs to work. My friend was hit the other day and the driver took off. Never stopping to see if she was ok. I get that it can be an inconvenience for a pedestrian but sometimes a cyclist has no choice. I drive, walk and ride so I have an overstanding of how all three perspectives work.