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.