The Polite Pedallers: Sharing vs Caring

The Polite Pedallers

Sharing 1, Caring 0

~This story originally appeared in issue 5 of dandyhorse. ~

Dear Polite Pedallers,

There are some bicycle markings on the narrow part of College Street in Little Italy that appear to be directing me to ride in the middle of the lane.

I’ve learned they are called sharrows, and are meant to tell motorists to share the road, yet I seem to get a lot of dirty looks and close passes from motorists here during rush hour. Also, during some times of the day the sharrows have cars parked on top of them. What gives? Is there some kind of sharrow showdown going on in the city?

Signed, Wary of Sharing

Dear Wary,

Those markings are a new made-in- Toronto experiment called “rush hour sharrows,” because they are meant to help cyclists and motorists share the road during rush hour when cars are not allowed to park in the curb lane. When it’s not rush hour, you are expected to ride in the “door zone” – the space beside parked cars, which is particularly problematic on College Street, even where there’s a bike lane (watch for drunken revellers on weekends). Streetcar tracks on College exacerbate the difficulty in sharing a narrow street like this. We both agree here that the proper etiquette is to encourage more cycling infrastructure, but still

ride with caution! We truly wish the city would make a bold move and create safe passage for cyclists on all main roads – and not just half measures

like these. We’d like to see the College sharrows become a bike lane. Of course, you could say that sharrows are better than nothing and lately we’ve felt much

more confident riding down College at rush hour. We hope we’ll see sharrows on streets like King and intersections all across the city, à la Montreal.

Now if only we could get Montreal- style separated lanes in the T-dot…

—Prudence and Delilah (aka The Polite Pedallers)

This story originally appeared in issue 5 of dandyhorse. You can buy it here.

Read more about how the City of Toronto defines "sharrows" here:

Related on

On the Inconsistency of Sharrows: Opinion from issue 4

Polite Pedaller ARCHIVE: Tree-for-all

The Polite Pedallers

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