Press Releases

Press Release #06-71

Contact: Kay Sarlin (212) 442-7033
Chris Gilbride

DOT Introduces New "Shared Lane" Signs and Pavement Markings to Promote Safe Cycling and Encourage Bicyclists and Motorists to Share the Road

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall today joined Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul White and cycling advocates to announce DOT's completion of newly designed shared lane signs and bicycle pavement markings. The markings have been installed on Grand Street and in Times Square in Manhattan as well as along 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.

"Our hope is that the addition of new roadway markings and signs along these heavily traveled bicycle routes will heighten awareness among drivers and cyclists and help everyone who uses our streets get where they are going safely," said Commissioner Weinshall.

"The new shared lane markings are a smart addition to the DOT's toolbox and will help grow the City's bike network, making our City more inviting for biking," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

The new design for the City's Class III bike routes will improve conditions for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. The signs feature images of a bicycle and car below the words "Bike Route" and above the words "Shared Lane." The new pavement markings feature the familiar bicycle silhouette plus two chevrons placed on the right side of the single lane.

The shared lane sections of Grand Street, Times Square, and 5th Avenue are on segments of bicycle routes where the roadway is too narrow for striped bicycle lanes. Similar pavement markings have been installed in Chicago and San Francisco, where studies have shown that they meet goals of improving the positioning of motorists and bicycles in the roadway and encouraging safe bike riding.

The new markings and signs are intended to make both bicyclists and motorists aware of the single lane, to which both users have equal access. With these designs, DOT is encouraging cyclists to ride assertively outside of the "door zone" and expecting motorists to be patient and pass bikes only with ample clearance and at a modest speed. Cyclists are also expected to stay clear of parking, ride at a reasonable pace, in a predictable manner, and not pass vehicles on the left side.

A report by the San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic found that placing the markings 11 feet from the curb where parking is provided increased the distance of riders between both parked cars and passing vehicles. Not only does this reduce the risk of collisions between motorists and cyclists, but because riders are farther away from parked cars the risk of them being struck by opening doors also decreases. The study also found that the number of cyclists going the wrong way down the street and riding on sidewalks decreased, improving the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians. Additionally, the distance between parked cars and passing vehicles increased, possibly reducing the risk of vehicular collisions and dart out accidents with pedestrians.

Commissioner Weinshall also called on the City's growing number of year- round cyclists to be aware that the recent time change has resulted in fewer daylight hours. With the evening commute occurring after dusk, it is important for cyclists to take important safety precautions, such as wearing bright and reflective clothing and using both front and rear lights to make themselves visible to motorists and pedestrians alike.