SAFETY IN THE SHARROWS | The sharrows are a physical reminder that bicyclists have the same rights to the road as cars, and that it is the safest place for them to be.
By riding on the sharrows, the bicyclist will be clear of the car door zones.
SHARROWS | Sharrows are chevrons combined with bicycle stencils placed in the center of a travel lane. They indicate that bicycles and motor vehicles share the lane. These are often times accompanied by signs saying “bicyclists can use full lane.”
The purpose of sharrows is to communicate to motorists to safely share a narrower street with bicyclists, “sharrows” — chevrons and bicycle stencils on the roadway alert travelers to “be aware and share” the road with bicyclists. And to communicate to the bicyclist where they should position themselves on the road to be most visible.
GREEN SHARROWS | Another type of sharrows is a 6-foot wide green striped lane that designates a shared lane for vehicles and bicycles in a high traffic area. The first Green Sharrow is located on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore, a seaside shopping district extending from Livingston Drive to Bay Shore Avenue.
How to ride on the sharrows: One of the biggest hazards for bicyclists riding on streets with a large number of parked cars is getting “doored” or having someone pull out in front of the bicyclist resulting in a broadside accident. A major cause of these two types of accidents is the bicyclist riding in the door zone rather than further out into the lane.
For many bicyclists..riding in the door zone seems safer than riding further into the travel lane. But this is not true. When you are riding close to the cars two things can happen: (1) someone can open a car door in front of you…causing you to swerve into traffic or hit the door and possibly fall into traffic and (2) a driver pulling into traffic from a side street or from a parking stall pulls in front of the bicyclist resulting in a broadside accident. To see what happens if you get doored check out this great video.
The sharrows are designed to indicate where the bicyclist should ride on the street in order to avoid being doored and to help ensure they are visible to motorists entering into the flow of traffic. If you ride “on the sharrow” you will be (1) out of the door zone and (2) in a position where drivers who are entering the street or pulling out of a parking stall can easily see you.
Another key reason for using sharrows is to get bicyclists off of the sidewalk and onto the street. Prior to the program, many cyclists escaped the traffic by riding on the sidewalk, which is prohibited by law to protect pedestrians. After the Green Sharrow was introduced on 2nd Street, sidewalk bicycling declined significantly and bicycle volume nearly doubled. We are expecting to see similar results as we extend the use of sharrows to other part of the city.
Across Long Beach you will see Sharrows used widely. You will see them on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore and on 4th Street through RetroRow. They are used on our bike boulevards, including Vista Street. You will soon see them on Pacific Avenue in downtown Long Beach and on the three new bike boulevards we are building on 15th, 6th and Daisy/Linden/Myrtle.
Cars and other motor vehicles on the sharrows
As indicated above sharrows indicate the lane is shared between motor vehicles and bikes. The sharrows don’t change the law…whether or not sharrows are present bicyclists always have the right to use the full travel lane when the is to narrow for them to safely ride to the side of the travel lane or it is dangerous for them to ride to the right for some other reason. The sharrows just remind the driver that they are sharing the lane with bicyclists.
As a driver you treat the lane just as you would any other lane with a slower moving vehicle. What would you do if you had a slower moving motorcycle in front of you? Or an electric golf cart? Give the slower moving vehicle (motorcycle, bike, electric vehicle) adequate space, move out and pass them when it is safe, and once passed move back into the travel lane. (Definition from Bikelongbeach.org)
In Tiburon the following improvements have been constructed or are on the way:
- Countdown signal for the pedestrian crosswalk at Blackfield and Tiburon Blvd.
- A center line was striped along the bike path.
- Painted Sharrows along Greenwood Beach Road and Blackfield Dr. are coming soon.
- A Rapid Flashing Beacon was installed at Neds Way and Tiburon Blvd.
In Tam Valley
- Shoulder was installed with no parking on Bell Lane
- Bike lanes on Almonte
- Utility Pole repositioning along Shoreline Hwy. from Maple to Almonte.
- Crosswalk installed at Tennessee Ave and Shoreline Hwy
- Crosswalk installed at Gibson and Shoreline Hwy.
- Flashing Beacon installed at Pine Hill Rd and Shoreline Hwy
- Stop sign installed at Robin and Flamingo.
- Share the Road on Flamingo.
- Bike lanes and sidewalks approved for construction through Tam Junction
Still needed in Tiburon and surrounding area:
- A safe way around the back of the Cove Shopping Center.
- Sharrows need to continue along Greenwood Cove Rd. to Blackies Pasture.
- Bike lanes are needed on both sides of Tiburon Blvd.
- A “study” is needed for future improvements and possibilities for connecting multi-use paths to existing paths.
- The end of the Old Rail Trail at Mar West needs a seamless transition onto the existing bike lanes.
- An uphill bike lane is needed on Trestle Glenn.
If you see obvious obstructions to safe cycling passage in any of these places please give us a call and we’ll add them to our list.