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'Sharrows' will point the way for bicyclists in West Allis

Sharrows — painted pictures of bicycles with arrows or chevrons above them — show where bicyclists are to ride. Sharrows will start appearing on West Allis streets on the east side of the city.

Sharrows — painted pictures of bicycles with arrows or chevrons above them — show where bicyclists are to ride. Sharrows will start appearing on West Allis streets on the east side of the city.

Aug. 21, 2013

West Allis — Sharrow is a word that West Allis motorists will soon become familiar with as the painted symbols appear on streets in the eastern part of the city to make bicycling safer.

The Common Council has given its blessings to using $20,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money to paint sharrows on selected roads, including 60th and 76th streets.

The sharrows will feature a figure of a bicycle with arrows painted above it. Bicyclists are supposed to ride where the arrows are. They might seem farther into traffic than drivers think bicyclists should be riding in, but that is part of the point, officials said.

By routing bicyclists farther into the street, they are away from parked cars and not in danger of being thrown off their bikes by car doors opening unexpectedly. Also, the prominent painted symbols will remind motorists that bicyclists have a right to the road and that cars are to stay at least three feet from them.

Sharrows are in use all over the country. Milwaukee is starting to put them in, and Madison has many of them.

Generally, the sharrows will be used on streets too narrow for separate bicycle lanes, which are preferred, said planner Bart Griepentrog.

Some roads on the city's east side will get sharrows also because that side of town meets the federal requirement that Community Development Block Grants be used for low and moderate income families, said John Stibal, development director.

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