Cleveland Heights responds to questions about placement of sharrows


The city is using sharrows to encourage motorists and bicyclists to share the road. The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices reads (Section 9C.07):

... 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. 

The 14-foot width cited above is found in reports from the Federal Department of Transportation and from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Fourteen feet of usable lane width found in most of the sharrow area of Euclid Heights Boulevard is a recommended and desirable width for shared use by bicyclists and motorists. Conversely, a 4-foot-from-the-curb sharrow placement would have forced motorists left of a double-yellow road stripe to pass with a safe berth from a bicyclist centered four feet from the curb.

On Edgehill Road, sharrows are 2.5 feet from the curb, rather than the manual’s recommended 11 feet for instances with parallel parking. The manual permits deviations for traffic engineering reasons. A bicyclist riding 11 feet from the curb would be too far out for most of Edgehill Road since parallel parked vehicles are absent on most of the road. Furthermore, the Ohio Revised Code states that bicyclists “ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable,” excepting hazards, objects such as parked vehicles and surface hazards, or when it is unsafe, such as when the lane is too narrow for the bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side. Edgehill Road has 19-foot lanes and that’s plenty of width to share. 

Richard Wong
Director of Planning and Development
City of Cleveland Heights

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Volume 3, Issue 12, Posted 10:00 AM, 11.15.2010