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.
THE ABOVE ADDED GUIDANCE IS NOT MENTIONED IN THE DE MUTCD
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.