Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on September 1st, 2005 at 9:03 am
Portland’s pedal-friendly profile continues to to grow outside of Oregon. Just days after an AP story hit nationwide, a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor focuses on our new lane markings called “sharrows.” Roger Geller and Mia Burk – local bike advocacy stalwarts – were quoted in the story. Here are a few excerpts:
Caught between the need for a continuous bike lane and the demands of drivers, Portland transportation engineers finally came up with a solution. Next month, the city will fill the gaps in the network with new shared-lane pavement markings, called “sharrows.” Stencils of a bicycle with two chevron markings above it will be painted, two per block, in areas too narrow for a bike lane. The idea is to keep cyclists away from parked cars while promoting awareness of their right to use the road.
The principle behind sharrows is simple: They reinforce existing rules of the road. In most states, cyclists are required to stay as far to the right as possible, except under unsafe conditions. One of these conditions is when the travel lane is too narrow for side-by-side passage of an automobile and a bicycle.
“The most dangerous place for a cyclist to be in a narrow travel lane is far to the right, because you are in a ‘door zone’ and motorists think they have enough room to stay in their travel lane and pass you”
I’m all for sharrows and other pavement markings…but I also know that my safety ultimately comes down to vigilance and defensive riding. On that note, don’t forget to attend the bike safety workshops coming to a neighborhood near you.