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FAQ FOR SHARED ROADWAY MARKINGS
Q. I've seen these markings of a bike with two chevrons/arrows above it on the streets. What do they mean?
A. These are Shared Roadway Bicycle Markings which are intended to help bicyclists position themselves away from parked cars, to avoid being struck by suddenly opened car doors, and to alert other road users to expect bicyclists to occupy travel lanes. These markings will also be used in situations where it may not be obvious where bicyclists should be riding, such as at intersections with multiple turn lanes.
Q. But on some streets, bicyclists riding over this marking will take the entire lane. Aren't they supposed to move to the right?
Q. Can't bicyclists just look into parked cars as they ride and see if someone is about to open the door?
A. Bicyclists, like all road users, need to constantly scan the entire roadway for safety. Checking every car for a driver is difficult to do while paying attention to the road. Also, it is often impossible to see drivers due to large parked vehicles blocking the view of other parked vehicles, tinted windows, headrests, etc. Motorists should check their side view mirror or look back prior to opening their door. It is the driver's responsibility should any collision occur (CVC Section 22517).
Q. If I see these markings in a lane, is the lane only for bikes?
A. No. This marking is used for travel lanes that are shared by bicyclists and motorists. Shared lanes are different than bike lanes which are set aside for bicyclists and are marked by a solid white line.
A. No. Bicyclists can ride on any street in San Francisco except for limited access freeways with signs explicitly prohibiting them (such as I-280 or parts of US 101). Just as every street in San Francisco has a 25mph speed limit unless stated otherwise (even if there is no speed limit sign), bicyclists are allowed on every street regardless of whether there is a marking or sign for them, unless stated otherwise.
Q. Are these markings going to be on every street that does not have a bike lane?
A. No. These markings are used primarily on streets designated as part of the San Francisco Bicycle Route Network. As part of the San Francisco Bicycle Plan, the SFMTA plans to install about 4,000 markings throughout the City between 2005 and 2012 along approximately 85 miles of streets. Additional sharrows may be considered on a case by case basis.
A. Prior to 2005, there was no official marking to use on streets with shared lanes. The SFMTA led an effort to study various markings and develop an official marking that was adopted by Caltrans in 2005, making California the first state to officially adopt a marking for shared lanes.
Q. What does it mean when these markings are painted on top of a green rectangle, such as on Market Street?
A. Green-backed Shared Roadway Bicycle Markings are being tested by the SFMTA to enhance driver awareness of bicyclists and assist bicyclists with positioning in situations where bicyclists must merge.
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Bicycle services are provided by the Sustainable Streets Division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Copyright © 2000-2013 SFMTA. All rights reserved. Updated January 4, 2013