The shared-lane marking “sharrow“ is more and more frequently used all over the world. In Austria it was Radlobby Austria which initiated first implementations of these pictograms in Reutte and Tulln and which translated international studies on this subject. Based on this the city of Vienna started a pilot project with “sharrows” on three roads and had it assessed by the renowned engineering office Knoflacher. This study entitled “Impact of cycling pictograms in road traffic” is now available online in full (in German). It shows very positive results: increased safety in cycling and car traffic because of improved interaction, fewer take-over manoeuvres and cars observe a higher safety distance when taking over.
This grafic shows the distance between cyclist and overtaking car without (blue) and with “sharrow” (red).
This first comprehensive study on the impact of “sharrows”, which the city of Vienna calls “cycle pictograms on the road”, shows the positive effects of the pictograms and directional arrows on safety in cycling and car traffic.
Cycle pictograms with directional arrows increase the individual feeling of safety in traffic.
Opening car doors or too little distance when overtaking are especially dangerous for cyclists in roads with tram tracks in the middle. For the research the city of Vienna, department MA 46, therefore chose highly frequented routes along Gumpendorfer, Alser and Nußdorfer Straße to verify the positive effects of cycle pictograms with directional arrows.
The study proved that those pictograms improve interaction between cycle traffic and motorised traffic. The safety distance of cars overtaking cyclists has increased significantly. Overtaking manoeuvres have decreased by one third. The increased safety distance when overtaking makes cyclists feel safer. Cyclists also benefit from an increase in safety distances to the roadside or parking vehicles. All this is increasing traffic safety.
This grafic shows the percentage of cyclist overtaken by cars without (blue) and with “sharrow” (red).
Side safety distance to the roadside as important factor
The pictograms painted on roads in Vienna achieved similar effects compared to “sharrows” in the US and Australia. The original “sharrows” consist of a cycle pictogram and arrows pointing in the direction of travelling. Sharrows are painted onto roads where it is not possible to implement cycling facilities of sufficient qualities.
These numbers prove that the the distance between cyclist and curb increases with “sharrow” (“mit FPG) compared to the situation before without it (“ohne FPG”).
Conclusion by the city of Vienna, MA 46: “The model of cycling pictograms painted at an increased distance from the roadside or parking cars has proven itself. It will be used in other roads in Vienna as well. As side safety distance is also an important factor when cycling against one-way traffic it will also become standard in those situations.”
The complete study (sorry, only in German) is available as download here.