Green Sharrows: safer for everyone

Posted on August 7th, by allancrawford in infrastructure, Safety. 1 Comment

The Green Sharrows on 2nd Street in Belmont shore have been on the ground for over 4 years.  So have we learned?

As you will see from the data below..the Green Sharrows not only helped significantly increase the number of bike riders using this portion of 2nd Street, but they also helped reduce the number of bike related accidents.  And at the same time the number of vehicle on vehicle accidents declined substantially.


2nd street green sharrows-2411The Second Street area of Belmont Shore is a 15 block long commercial area that is located a few blocks inland from the Beach.  The street is populated by small businesses, restaurants and bars. The surrounding area is largely single family residential with a mix of apartments and condos.

The area has always been a popular area to bike and walk.  The area attracts both local residents and visitors.

The street has two lanes of traffic in each direction separated by a landscaped center median.  Parallel parking is available on both sides of the street.  There are 14 traffic lights in 15 blocks…and as our good friend Charlie Gandy says “much of the time the street acts more like a parking lot than a city street.”

The purpose of putting in the sharrows was three fold:  (1) encourage bike riders to “take the lane” rather than riding in the “door zone,” (2) to reduce the number of bicyclists riding on the sidewalk (this was a major issue for merchants) and (3) encourage more people to come to the area by bike and thereby increase business traffic.

Here are the bike and pedestrian crash data for 2nd street between Bayshore and Livingston from January 2007 – April 2013.  This is the stretch of 2nd Street that has the green sharrows.

What the data show

Since the green sharrows were installed in June of 2009 the number of bicyclists on the street has more than doubled while the number of bike and vehicle crashes has dropped by roughly 25%.


Bike related crashes: For the 2.5 years prior to installation (2007-mid 2009) the average number of bike related crashes was just under 4 per year.   In the nearly 4 years since the lanes were installed (mid 2009 – mid 2013)  the average number of bike related crashes has dropped to 3 per year with no bike related crashes in the last 16 months.  

Total Crashes: The number of total crashes (bike, ped and motor vehicle) went from about 37 per year prior to installation to 26 per yr after installation – a drop of over 33%

Bicycle Usage: At the same time the number of bicyclists using the street has more than doubled The table below provides the data for each year.

2nd street sharrow data 2007-2013

Number of bicyclists using the Street

Our bike count data show that since the green sharrows were installed the number of bicyclists using the street has well over doubled.

2nd street - sunday in july-7But what we find most significant is the number of bikes that you find “parked” along the sidewalk on any weekend afternoon.  It is not unusual to have 150 to 200 bikes parked in this 14 block area.  That is more bikes than there are parking spaces on the street.






The bottom line is that after nearly 4 years of use of the green sharrows on the one mile of 2nd Street where we have installed the green sharrows… we have seen:

  1. Over a doubling of the number of bicyclists using the street 
  2. A nearly 25% decrease in both overall vehicle accidents 
  3. A nearly 25% decrease in bike related accidents.
  4. A significant reduction in the number of bicyclists riding on the sidewalk For us that is a strong indication of success of the green sharrow program. 

Please come to Long Beach…try out the sharrows….shop on 2nd Streets (remember….bikes mean business) and let us know what you think.

One response to “Green Sharrows: safer for everyone”

  1. jennintheyarden says:

    Love the sharrows! There is a bit of inconsistency, however, in my opinion: the left turn green sharrows from E. Marina Dr. onto E. 2nd Street is clear to both cyclist and motorist. I have used it successfully(ie. no honking from disgruntled motorists!) many times. Further on 2nd Street, turning left onto Bay Shore Ave. is more of a challenge: there is a left turn lane for bikes, but it doesn’t correspond with the left turn lane for cars. I tried it several times and was only successful once. I will not put my life on that line again.

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