The University of Washington: Facilities Services

Sharrows





Sharrows Have Arrived at the University of Washington

In summer 2012, UW Facilities Services installed over 100 Shared Lane Markings, or “Sharrows,” on Stevens Way, Whitman Court, Memorial Way, and George Washington Lane. The sharrows are meant to remind bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers that our campus roads are a shared space for all members of the campus community.

While sharrows are a common feature of Seattle’s transportation landscape, this is the first time they have been installed on the University of Washington’s campus roads. The new sharrows are intended to provide a visual cue to all roadway users to expect bicycles on the roadway. The sharrows will also assist bicyclists by indicating the best position to ride on the roadway, which will make bicycling on campus more predictable for all roadway users.

If you have questions about the new sharrows or other aspects of bicycling on campus, email us at bikehelp@uw.edu or check out the FAQs below.




Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sharrow?

Sharrow is short for “Shared Lane Marking,” and is the pavement marking depicted by two chevrons above a bicycle. Sharrows are included in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as a tool for marking a street as a shared roadway environment.

Why is the UW painting sharrows on campus roads?

The UW is committed to creating safe and predictable conditions for traveling on campus, and sharrows are a tool that contributes to that goal. Sharrows alert all roadway users to watch for bicyclists and show bicyclists the best position to ride on the roadway.

Where are the new sharrow markings going to be installed?

The new sharrows are being installed along the length of NE Stevens Way, Memorial Way NE, George Washington Lane NE, and Whitman Ct. In general, sharrows are being installed after intersections and some crosswalks, and spaced at intervals not greater than 250 feet thereafter, as per guidance from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

What should I do in the presence of sharrows when I’m riding a bicycle?

Sharrows tell bicyclists where to position themselves in a shared roadway environment and remind bicyclists to share the road with pedestrians, people in cars, and other people on bicycles. When riding a bicycle on a shared roadway:

  • Be courteous and respectful of pedestrians, people in cars, and other people on bicycles
  • Ride predictably
  • Follow the speed limit and all other rules of the road
  • Ride in the correct direction of travel

What should I do in the presence of sharrows when I’m driving a car?

Sharrows tell car drivers where on the roadway bicyclists are likely to be and remind car drivers to share the road with pedestrians, people on bicycles, and other people in cars. When driving a car on a shared roadway:

  • Be courteous to pedestrians, people on bicycles, and other people in cars
  • Drive predictably
  • Follow the speed limit and all other rules of the road
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians, people on bicycles, and other cars when turning and changing lanes
  • Where passing is allowed, pass people on bicycles on the left at a safe distance and speed. Do not pass people on bicycles in the “No Passing” areas on Stevens Way.
  • When parking your car, check for people on bicycles before opening your door

Can I still drive a car on streets with sharrows?

Yes. Sharrows indicate that a street is a shared roadway where all users are welcome.

What is the difference between sharrows and bicycle lanes?

Bicycle lanes are portions of the roadway designated for the exclusive use of people on bicycles, and motor vehicles are generally excluded from this space. In contrast, sharrows are used to indicate that a roadway is a shared space where bicyclists and drivers are all welcome.

If I don’t see sharrows on a road, does that mean bicyclists aren’t supposed to be there?

No. People on bicycles are allowed to ride on all University of Washington roadways, regardless of whether they are marked with sharrows. The sharrows alert drivers to expect bicyclists on the road. In general, UW roads marked with sharrows carry higher volumes of bicycles and cars.