Sharrows aren't bicycle infrastructure: where we support the use of sharrows and where we don't

Position Statement:

We support the installation of sharrows as pavement markings in limited circumstances, only when used alongside other measures to improve the safety of people biking. The most common acceptable location for sharrows is on bike boulevards, where there is traffic calming (speed reduction) and motor vehicle traffic diversion (volume reduction). Sharrows are also acceptable as wayfinding tools on short stretches of on-street residential routes that connect dedicated cycling facilities.

We do not support the installation of sharrows on streets where traffic is moving quickly (over 30 km/h) or where traffic volumes are high, such as on arterial roads.

More specifically, we oppose the use of sharrows in the following instances:

  • Side-by-side sharrows (currently in use on some parts of Spadina Avenue, Hallam Avenue, and Lansdowne Avenue) -- especially given recent Highway Traffic Act amendments that require motorists to leave one metre when passing cyclists (where practicable).

  • Sharrows to indicate safe bicycle positioning where on-street parking is permitted -- because variation in motor vehicle size, the presence of ice and snow, and driver skill at parking are all factors that may affect safe riding position (particularly to avoid “doorings”).

  • “Rush hour sharrows” -- because they are confusing to cyclists and drivers and send the wrong messages in terms of cyclist positioning and driver behaviour.

Our position is that sharrowed routes should be indicated on the City Cycling Map as no different from other signed routes as there is nothing to distinguish these routes in terms of cyclist comfort or safety from other streets where cyclists are expected to share infrastructure with motor vehicle traffic.