The City of Edmonton has been working on adding sharrows to a number of roadways to help indicate shared bike lanes throughout the city. At first I was unsure about the use of these over separated bike lanes, but after some thought and after hearing opinions of others on these, I now support them in favour of separated lanes.
The main reason for that is really psychological: a solid-line separation implies that cyclists are only ever supposed to stay inside that line. So if a cyclist needs to make a left turn, drivers may not be prepared for a bike to suddenly cross the solid line and switch lanes. Drivers and new cyclists may not even think this is allowed.
A sharrow on the other hand is more like a reminder that bikes share the road, not even just that one lane. There is no solid line, so hopefully less expectation that cyclists movements on the road are supposed to be limited to the rightmost part of it.
Incidentally, I also think the sharrow markings would make for a neat tattoo:
(Image source: Word Spy)
I hope to see the city expand this program to encompass existing roads that have been widened to allow for cycling, and to replace all blue-signed bike routes with these markers.
I’ve been a fairly regular bike commuter in Edmonton for about 5 years now; though I don’t bike in winter and generally avoid biking in inclement weather (unlike others I know), it’s really not a bad experience, and generally most drivers are excellent and courteous. With the number of cyclists seemingly increasing year after year, and the city investing more in cycling infrastructure such as this, I imagine that the experience can only improve.