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City of Toronto starts advertising Sharrows

The City of Toronto, as part of their cycling education efforts (aimed at both cyclists and drivers) have started an advertising campaign about sharrows (or “share arrows”, which show road users that a street should be shared).

The ads are running on The Star, The Sun, The Weather Network and MapQuest web sites for the next month or so. (I’ve only seen them on the Toronto Star website, thus far – Joe)

Learn more about Sharrows on the City of Toronto website

  • As much as I love having sharrows on our streets where they are appropriate, I don’t feel good about sharrows being placed under parked cars. I also found it funny how the City worded the question in their FAQ: “Why are some sharrow markings in traffic lanes that have part-time parking? Can I park my car on top of sharrows?”.

    Part-time parking? More like part-time sharrows. On a weekday, the sharrows are used for only 4 hours out of the 24 hours in a day. The remaining 20 hours the sharrows are covered up by parked cars. On weekends, the sharrows are covered by parked cars full-time. So in a typical week, the sharrows are uncovered for a mere 20 hours out of 168 hours. That’s less than 12% of the time. The remaining 88% of the time they are covered by parked cars. So I found it funny that the city calls it “Part-time parking”.

    Anyway, what do you all think about the College street sharrows? Do you think the benefit yielded by having rush-hour sharrows exceeds the negative fact that cars can park on top of the sharrows the rest of the time? Doesn’t this send a message to drivers that it’s okay to park on top of painted bicycles?

  • Phil

    I agree with James. Sharrows under parked cars sends the wrong message. Bitch bitch bitch… Maybe it’s better than nothing, but – no I’m not really not convinced. Road-user psychology is, in the end, the most important factor in cyclist safety and the amount of space we are allowed by other road users.

    If sharrows under parked cars sends a mixed message, then Rob Ford’s suggestion that bike don’t belong on the roads certainly tips the balance. I can honestly detect drivers now giving less space and using less caution since Ford’s comments were made – especially on the sharrows of College. There was a little period of courtesy at first, but now that has demonstrably passed. If our “leaders” make comments like Ford’s, there is no doubt in my mind it endangers cyclists more than any lack of road markings. I’d really like to see Rob Ford charge for criminal irresponsibility and uttering threats! The law of Ontario is clear. Cyclists belong on public roads.

    In any case… sharrows and street parking seem to be in direct conflict – unless there is a dedicated parking lane that is never used for through traffic – like Lansdowne Ave. There, the sharrows are never parked upon. However, on Lansdowne the sharrows are all but ignored, if not disdained, by TTC drivers who roar by without regard for sharrows, courtesy or safety.

    TTC drivers – as well as city staff, councillors and the general public – need to be informed in no uncertain terms that cyclists BELONG ON THE ROAD, cyclists have a right to be there, drivers do not have any more road rights than cyclists, cycling is part of the grid-lock solution, cyclists are part of the clean air solution, cyclists are part of the livable cities plan, cycling is good for the community, cycling is good for the environment, cycling is good for business, cycling does not preclude owning property and paying taxes, cycling is good for personal health and personal wealth.

    TWO points on this:

    1. THERE IS NO TRAFFIC PROBLEM if you are on a bike. Traffic snarls do not affect cyclists. If it takes 20 minutes to get somewhere by bike – it ALWAYS takes 20 minutes. In a car or surface transit you just never know how long it will be. In fact for many trips a bike will get you there faster than any other means. Bicycles are the “magic carpets” of our cities.

    2. Why is it not completely obvious to everyone that TRAFFIC CONGESTION IS CAUSED BY TOO MANY CARS – NOT cycling lanes, NOT streetcars – NOT narrow streets. Cars are the problem – NOT the solution. Cars are useful only if the number of cars on the road is controlled and limited. Then they are very useful! Any driver who supports notions to increase car use by reducing alternatives to the car – is just exacerbating the problem and adding to their own frustration level. Surely this point is clear and lucid and can be made publicly? Drivers should be overjoyed when other road users choose to cycle or use public transport instead of drive! Instead we are regarded as homeless, crazy people. Not that I have anything against homeless, crazy people – but it’s not like they don’t drive plenty of cars out there.

    Anyway… preaching to the choir and the converted and all that.
    See you out there on the streets!

  • Phil

    Oops – to much rant.

    But I here I am the next day, just rode home after a meeting – around 6pm. If I ride along College where the sharrows indicate I should ride, I receive honks followed by enraged, high-power passing. I think this endangers my health more than hugging the curb.

    The rest of the time – when parking is allowed – I just have to lookout for doors flying open from parked cars – but at least there is an uncoveted slice of the road for me between the parked cars and the full traffic lane.

    I’m sorry to say I am no fan of sharrows. Lay down a bike lane or, failing that, a row of parked cars. I’ll be much happier and safer.

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