Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bike Sharrows in the Fan!

Bike sharrows on Harrison Street at Broad, image via James River News Hub.

If you've been traveling around the Fan lately, you've probably noticed the new bike sharrows painted on Meadow Street and Harrison Street. While I'm really excited to see the city moving forward with this project so quickly, I realized that a lot of folks aren't even sure what these symbols mean for bikers and motorists. I thought it might be helpful to give a little clarification for those of us that aren't familiar with this safety measure.

Bike sharrows are shared lane markings that are utilized to improve bicycling conditions on roads where designated bike lanes are either infeasible or inappropriate due to traffic conditions. The sharrows are meant to encourage cyclists to ride closer to the middle of the lane, steering clear of the "door zone" of parked cars. While it is the responsibility of the driver of a parked car to check their mirrors before opening doors, the sharrows help encourage a safer distance between the two to lessen potential accidents. The sharrows are also meant to remind motorists to expect cyclists on certain roadways. Lastly, the sharrows let motorists know that bicycles have an equal right to be in the driving lane, encouraging cars to pass cyclists at a safer distance.

I hope this might help clear up any confusion about the new safety measure and also encourage all of you to get out there on your bikes!

Stay safe and happy biking everyone!

Christie Thompson

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