What Happened to the “Bike Lane” on Spadina?

Sharrow

What exactly is going on with the blacked out “bike lane” on Spadina Avenue?

Well, what may or may not actually have been intended to be a bike lane is now gone, sanded away leaving a thick black stripe in its place. According to the Toronto Cyclists Union the stripe is to soon be replaced by sharrows:

What’s Up with Spadina – where’d that lane go?

Many of you will have noticed that the ‘gutter lane’, the white stripe that ran along the edge of the curb lane all the way along Spadina Ave., was scrubbed off the roadway about two weeks ago.  Please note that this was done in order to prepare the roadway for the application of Sharrows on most of Spadina, and full bike lanes where the road widens enough to fit them in at Spadina circle.

The City has not been able to provide us with a specific application date, but we have been assured that they will be implemented before the end of the season.

What are sharrows you ask? Here’s what the City of Toronto has to say:

1. What is a shared lane pavement marking, or “sharrow”?
Sharrow is short-form for “shared lane pavement marking”. This pavement marking includes a bicycle symbol and two white chevrons.

2. What do these sharrow markings mean for cyclists?
Sharrows are used to indicate where cyclists should ride in a travel lane.

  • For safety reasons, cyclists should ride one metre from the curb to avoid debris and sewer grates.
  • In lanes that are too narrow for cyclists and motorists to travel side-by-side, cyclists should ride in the centre of the lane to discourage motorists from passing too closely.
  • Where there is on-street parking, cyclists should ride one metre from parked cars to avoid the “door zone”.

Although it is the motorist’s and/or passenger’s responsibility to look first before opening their door, riding too close to parked cars can lead to serious injuries that can be avoided.

Sharrows are also used through intersections and some merge zones to support straight-line cycling and to increase the visibility of cyclists.

3. What do these sharrow markings mean for motorists?
Sharrow markings are used to remind drivers to share the road with cyclists. Sharing the road means you should:

  • only pass a cyclist where there is enough room to to do safely (at least one metre between motorist and cyclist),
  • reduce your speed when passing a cyclist, and
  • watch for cyclists when making lane changes and turns.

Be aware that cyclists are vulnerable to different hazards than drivers (e.g. minor pot holes and debris), so give them space to manouvre. Even where there are no sharrows or bike lanes, motorists should always share the road.

4. Where can I expect to see these sharrow markings?
Sharrows are used in curb lanes, either adjacent to the curb or parked cars. You will also see sharrows painted in the middle of narrow lanes where there is not enough room for a cyclist and motorist to travel side-by-side. Sharrow markings are also used through intersections and areas where traffic merges, such as at highway on-ramps or intersections with multiple turning lanes. Sharrows are mostly found downtown where there are the greatest number of cyclists.

View the list of sharrow projects.

More answers to your sharrow questions can be found here: Sharrow Frequently Asked Questions

About duncan

Duncan rides bicycles in the city of Toronto and contributes to the main blog of BikingToronto as well as writing and taking photos for his blog Duncan's City Ride.

Comments

  1. Unless we have a warm November, I doubt we’ll see the sharrows this fall. I remember Dan Egan once saying that the “thermoplast” stuff that modern bikelanes / sharrows are marked with needs a certain road temperature to adhere correctly… and that November is generally too cold.

  2. You’ll still have cars parked and doubleparked in the lanes/sharrows where they pass through Chinatown.
    No amount of roadpaint or parking enforcement will eliminate this :(

    Much like out front of any Starbucks.

  3. While the white line wasn’t wide enough to actually be a bike lane, I did find that drivers kept to the left of it reasonably well. Certainly, it put cyclists right in the door zone, but I found I was passed with decent space along that stretch the majority of the time. More so than on any of the few roads with sharrows that I frequent.

    And Le’s quite right… be there a Starbucks or a dry cleaners and there you shall find a luxury car parked in a bike lane with its hazards a-flashing.

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