Monday, September 21, 2009

Kimberly Cooper And Sharrow Markings

KImberly Cooper passes this along from St. Petersburg:

If you bicycle in St. Petersburg, Florida, as a resident or plan to as a visitor and......

If you want the City of St. Petersburg, FL, to include the option of sharrow markings for bicycle accommodations, can you e-mail Joe Kubicki at requesting that he include sharrows as an option, please?. The more e-mails he gets, the more he will realize it's important to people. Below is some info to assist you.

Sharrow markings are painted in a regular lane to let motorists and bicyclists know that they will be using the lane together. Clearwater is using sharrows on some roads.

Here's some history, places that use sharrows, and current info about sharrows:
"The stated purposes of the shared-lane [sharrow] markings used in California were to:

Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist’s impacting the open door of a parked vehicle;

Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane;
Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way;

Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists; and

Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling."

At this time, the City of St. Petersburg's head honcho(s), whose name(s) will not be mentioned, think(s) that city residents only want the options of bicycling on sidewalks, in bike lanes next to parked cars, in bike lanes next to curbs, and on shoulders that are too narrow to be marked as bike lanes.

If you want sharrows included in regular lanes so people know you can bike in the same lane as cars and are not forced to bike in bike lanes next to parked cars, on sidewalks, or in bike lanes that are too narrow to be considered bike lanes, you need to e-mail Joe Kubicki. Get your friends and relatives to e-mail Joe, too.

If there are people who want to bike in bike lanes next to parked cars, on sidewalks, and on shoulders too narrow to be bike lanes, I am ok with them having that option.

However, 30 years of bicycle safety studies have shown bicycling in bike lanes next to parked cars and on sidewalks increase your chance of crashing with cars. Also, there are the killer squirrels and loose pets that can jump out from behind parked cars. For shoulders too narrow to be bike lanes, you end up putting yourself in a place where uneducated motorists are passing inches from you.

I've found, when I use good lane position, almost all motorists pass with five or six feet of space, especially if they've had a good education on what to do and why to do it when following and passing two-wheeled vehiclists.

If you're five or six feet tall, unexpectedly go down due to road debris, and the car is passing the legal three feet from you, what is the car going to run over?

When I get this info out to as many motorists as possible, the motorists do a good job of safely passing bicyclists, motorcyclists, and scooter riders even when a bike lane isn't there.

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