CAMDEN — Some may have noticed bike symbols that were just painted on Mechanic Street in Camden. They’re called sharrows.
Originally developed in 1993 in Denver, sharrows designate a travel lane that can be shared by bikes and traffic. They’re used when the shoulder area of a road is often used for parking, like on Mechanic Street.
Camden Public Works will paint the centerline on Mechanic Street in the coming weeks.
Why are the sharrows painted in the middle of the travel lane? Sharrows are recommended where it is generally safest for bicyclists to ride, positioned toward the middle of a lane. This position reminds bicyclists to ride far enough away from parked vehicles to avoid being struck by suddenly opened car doors.
Sharrows also guide bicyclists toward the center of the lane to discourage unsafe passing within the same lane. Sharrows serve to alert motorists that bicyclists may be using the full travel lane.
To pass a bicyclist who is using the full lane or a lane with sharrows, a motorist should wait for a safe opportunity to move entirely into an adjacent lane.
Camden continues to incorporate signs and road work used commonly in other parts of Maine and the country that help improve public safety for all, including vehicular, bicyclist or pedestrian traffic.