Sharrows – What Are These?

Bowling Green has a tradition of being a bicycle friendly community. In 2013, BG was officially named a “Cyclist Friendly Community” by the Ohio Bicycle Federation, and in 2016, the City partnered with a bicycling advocacy group called “Yay Bikes!” to learn more about bicycle safety education and engineering.  Yay Bikes emphasizes the “6 E” principles to promote expanded, safe cycling – education, engineering, enforcement, equity, enthusiasm, and engagement.

With the completion of the Conneaut Avenue and Fairview Avenue paving project, residents might be wondering what the new graphics of a bicyclist are and why the City added them to the road.

The new graphic is called a sharrow. These symbols serve a purpose much like other commonly used traffic markings – visual reminders of the rules of the road.  Sharrows serve as a reminder that under the Ohio Revised Code, a bicyclist on the roadway has the same rights as a vehicle.  Recently enacted state legislation requires motorists to pass a bicyclist with at least 3 feet distance.

They also show where on the road the rider is safest, which is in the lane and not along the curb. Most items that are hazardous to bicyclists can be found along the curb.  As a result, if a bicyclist were to ride in that location on the road, they would be moving in and out of traffic.  One of the educational points of “Yay Bikes” is that a bicycle should act like a vehicle – meaning the bicyclist should be predictable to others using the road, much like a vehicle.

To learn more about bicycle information and review the newly established “rideability” map, visit the Bicycle Safety Commission’s webpage.