Sharrows. Painted bicycle symbols that do nothing to make roads safer. Cities install them (and count them as bicycle infrastructure) when they want to look like they’re doing something. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle on a road with sharrows know that they, in fact, do absolutely nothing. A new study confirms this.
Sharrows: clip art-style bicycles with arrows painted onto the roads to indicate where bicyclists should ride on a street that remains, ultimately, dedicated to automobile traffic. Sharrows are what cities install when they want to appear as though they care about bicycling, but can’t or don’t want to muster the political will to actually change anything significant in its favor.
It has long been assumed by bike advocates and everyday riders that sharrows do very little, if anything, to increase road safety for people on bikes. As it turns out, those assumptions were correct.