6/11/19 #kihei #southmaui

How effective is a sign or symbol if those it is meant to inform and educate have no idea what it signifies??

We did a very unscientific survey, absolutely no peer review involved, just trying to get a snapshot of guys’ knowledge and understanding of this symbol called a sharrow. Showing a copy of the image and the word sharrow, we asked ten Kihei residents at random what it meant to them. Six said they had no idea, two said it has something to do with a bicycle, another said is was to direct bike riders which way to go, and one guy had good understanding.

One definition : “a road marking in the form of two inverted V-shapes above a bicycle, indicating which part of a road should be used by cyclists when the roadway is shared with motor vehicles.“

Another: “A representation of a bicycle with two chevrons above it, marked on a roadway as a symbol to indicate that motor vehicles and bicycles are to share the lane.”

More extensive “ shared-lane marking or sharrow is a street marking installed at locations in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Spain, or the United States. This marking is placed in the travel lane to indicate where people should preferably cycle.”  

The US Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices says shared-lane markings may be used to:

A. Assist cyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist impacting the open door of a parked vehicle;B. Assist cyclists 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 motorists 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.


What does this sign indicate? What is a “bike route?”

This indicates a bike lane, even with the pole right in the lane. What happens when this ends but the roadway continues?

We see the sharrow alerting that bicycles and all motor vehicles share the same lane

In South Maui we take it is to advise drivers of motor vehicles that ALL vehicles share this segment of the roadway equally. As you see here it’s painted on the roadway, and there is no road side signage. In some places (e.g. South Kihei Road in North Kihei) it is used where a designated bike lane ends, seemingly to alert all multimodal users that there are no longer any designated riding/driving lanes.

At KCA, we have advocated that the optimum for multimodal transportation is segregation. Bicycles are safest when completely removed from motor vehicles on bicycle paths, like we have for the very short stretch on Liloa between Waipuilani and the S Maui Community Park.

Where that does not exist, bicycle lanes (basically just a white line) should minimally be an entirely different color, usually green, to distinguish it from the blacktop.

Other symbols concerning bicycles are also sometimes hard to interpret. What does “bike route” mean? Others offer clarity.We believe Maui drivers, residents and visitors alike need to be better informed. Maybe the Council’s Multimodal Committee could take this on??