• Sharrows seriously relegated in the Delaware MUTCD

    by  • February 29, 2012 • Traffic Control • 2 Comments

    A side by side comparison of the National Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) with the Delaware version, adopted directly from it with revisions by DelDOT, reveals a stark contrast where Shared Lane Markings (aka “Sharrows”) are concerned.

    Both contain the following from section 9C.07 “Shared Lane Marking”:

    01. The Shared Lane Marking may be used to:
    A. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
    B. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
    C. Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
    D. Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
    E. Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.

    02. The Shared Lane Marking should not be placed on roadways that have a speed limit above 35 mph.

    Delaware revision only:   2A. The Shared Lane Marking should only be placed on roadways with on street parking.

    vs the National MUTCD  which also includes the following:

    03. Shared Lane Markings shall not be used on shoulders or in designated bicycle lanes.

    04. If used in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking, Shared Lane Markings should be placed so that the centers of the markings are at least 11 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

    05. If used on a street without on-street parking that has an outside travel lane that is less than 14 feet wide, the centers of the Shared Lane Markings should be at least 4 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

    06. If used, the Shared Lane Marking should be placed immediately after an intersection and spaced at intervals not greater than 250 feet thereafter.

    07. Section 9B.06 describes a Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign that may be used in addition to or instead of the Shared Lane Marking to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.


    What might this mean for bicycle advocacy in Delaware? In the DE MUTCD’s current form, the following – permissible by national standards – will be difficult to achieve:

    1) Gap closure between other bikeway infrastructure (where the gap is no more than 1/2 mile)

    2) To mark bicycle boulevards (great video of how they do this in Portland HERE).

    3) On a street going downhill, where a bike lane on the other side going uphill exists.

    4) Streets where cyclists can keep up with traffic (rule of thumb: 15 mph speed limit or less) minus parking.

    5) Guidance through intersections for bicyclists where space is shared.

    On a positive note

    Advocates are working with DelDOT Traffic Engineering on a research and design proposal that would allow sharrow(s) in the left-most portion of right turn-only lanes, and open or dash the solid white taper line. The project is currently headed up by UD’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Group. Stay tuned for progress on this front.

    See Mia Birk’s take on Sharrow use HERE, including the 4 above.


    2 Responses to Sharrows seriously relegated in the Delaware MUTCD

    1. March 4, 2012 at 2:26 am


      Check on page 9C-18 (40). There are more reasons for why DelDOT is supporting their claim about Sharrows. I don’t totally agree with there conclusions but you didn’t include them in the post above.

    2. Frank Warnock
      March 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Thanks. Next time we post on this topic, I will be sure to include it. However, as I’m sure you agree, 1-5 above are specific uses (wayfinding and guidance) that have gained serious traction in true bike friendly cities. DelDOT’s reasoning seems based on adding them in a lane for no purpose other than awareness. This lack of basic knowledge is further proof that we need complete streets training for DOT engineers.

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