Look out for the ‘shar­rows’


Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil plans to mark more city roads with shared lane ar­rows, or ‘‘shar­rows’’ af­ter a trial found they im­proved safety for ev­ery­one.

The shar­row be­came a le­gal road mark­ing in New Zealand in De­cem­ber 2016.

An amal­gam of ‘‘shared’’ and ‘‘ar­row’’, the shar­row sym­bol is a painted bi­cy­cle with dou­ble chevron.

Shar­rows are de­signed to re­mind driv­ers to look out for peo­ple on bikes, ex­pect to see cy­clists in the traf­fic lane, and to share the road.

The mark­ings re­in­force that the traf­fic lane is a valid place for cy­clists, and driv­ers should slow down and wait un­til rid­ers can pass safely.

Shar­rows are also used to en­cour­age peo­ple on bikes to take their place in the traf­fic and ride fur­ther to­wards the cen­tre of the lane where they are most vis­i­ble.

They also help cy­clists avoid haz­ards, such as stormwa­ter grates, built-out kerbs and peo­ple open­ing car doors.

Gen­er­ally used where sep­a­rate cy­cle lanes would be un­safe or im­prac­ti­cal to in­stall, the coun­cil plans to paint shar­rows on sin­gle­lane round­abouts and at traf­fic sig­nals where there is not enough space for sep­a­rate lanes.

Shar­rows will also mark the pri­or­ity cy­cling route on Col­lege St, and along shared low-speed en­vi­ron­ments such as Broad­way Ave from Princess St to The Square.

The 2014 trial car­ried out in part­ner­ship with the NZ Trans­port Agency, found a re­duc­tion in ve­hi­cle speed on roads where shar­rows were marked.

In the United States and Aus­tralia, shar­rows have re­duced the numbers of cy­clists rid­ing on the foot­path.

This is great news for Palmer­ston North, as re­duced traf­fic speeds, and more peo­ple cy­cling and walk­ing, will make the city more live­able.

Fewer cars mean cleaner, qui­eter, safer en­vi­ron­ments, while qual­ity of life sur­veys con­sis­tently rate bike-friendly cities at or near the top.


Cy­clists and shar­row sym­bols in cen­tral Welling­ton.

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