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Sharrow Road Marking Trial

Press Release – Dunedin City Council

Sharrow Road Marking Trial

Dunedin (Tuesday, 17 June 2014) ’Sharrow’ markings will appear on George and King Edward Streets this month as part of a nationwide trial to improve road user safety.

A sharrow symbol (a bicycle with two chevrons above it) painted on a road surface indicates a shared lane for cyclists and motorists.

Along with Auckland Transport, Wellington City Council, Nelson City Council and Palmerston North City Council, the Dunedin City Council is assisting the New Zealand Transport Agency in a co-ordinated trial to identify sharrows’ effects before a decision is made whether to formally adopt them nationally.

DCC Transportation Planning Manager Sarah Connolly says, “We already have a number of legal road markings we can use for cycling routes, but it would be good to have one that clearly indicates that cyclists should be expected in that space and that the road is to be fully shared by cars and bikes.

“Sharrows are already in use in Australia, Canada and the US, but we need to test it here to see how it can suit New Zealand conditions.”

Sharrows have been shown overseas to improve safety and general awareness of cyclist routes, but are not currently a legal road marking in New Zealand. They help to position cyclists on the street, clear of hazards such as car doors, kerb build-outs and stormwater grates. Sharrows can also be used to mark routes for cyclists to use.

Sharrows also provide a visual cue that reminds motorists cyclists are entitled to travel on the road and encourages them to act accordingly.

The trial will take place between June and November, with approximately 45 sharrow symbols being painted across two sites during the week of 23 June (weather depending):

• George Street, between Moray Place and Albany Street

• King Edward Street, between Hillside Road and Macandrew Road.

Slower vehicle speeds at these sites give cyclists an opportunity to ride in the lane. There are also a lot of both moving and parked vehicles, so the potential for conflict is high. This means the possible benefits of safety improvements for road users are also considerable.

Assessment of the trial sites will include video recording to determine the positioning and behaviour of road users, counters to determine speed and traffic volumes, and questions for road users to determine cyclists’ and motorists’ understanding of the sharrow symbol.

The DCC would also like feedback from local businesses, residents and road user groups, via email to transportation@dcc.govt.nz.

Ms Connolly says, “When the trial is complete, the sharrows will remain in place while the Transport Agency assesses the data. If satisfied with the findings, the Transport Agency may formally approve the marking as a traffic control device.”
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