Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Sharrows & Bike Lanes in IC

Johnson County residents and bicycling enthusiasts are invited to join Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey on Thursday, July 2nd at 5:15 p.m. in College Green Park to see the most recent improvements to the local bicycle network – shared lane arrows, or “sharrows.

In an effort to become more bicycle-friendly, some Johnson County communities are installing new sharrow pavement markings and bike lanes on streets this summer. The sharrows, which are an alternative to bike lanes, can be found on 5th Street in Coralville, and on Market, Jefferson, and College Streets in Iowa City, beginning this week. Bike lanes will be painted on segments of Market and Jefferson Streets.

A sharrow does not demarcate a separate bicycle lane, but it does direct the bicyclist to travel in the proper lane position to avoid being hit by opening doors of parked cars. The sharrow markings also remind roadway users where the travel lane is too narrow to be safely shared side-by-side by cyclists and passing motorists.

Many cyclists know that when there is no bike lane present, cyclists are expected to ride on the right. Some sharrows and bike lanes, however, are located in the left lane. Why? In a word, safety:

  1. Bicycle lanes and sharrows on the left side of some one-way streets are gaining popularity to help reduce the number of bicyclists being struck by opening car doors;
  2. This location removes bicyclists from the path of buses pulling into bus stops;
  3. The left curb lane is most clear of snow on streets where vehicles park along the right curb; and
  4. The design helps increase visibility, as the rear-right blind spot is eliminated and drivers can more easily see a bicyclist in the driver’s side mirror.

For more information on sharrows and bike lanes or other improvements to the local bicycling network, contact Kristopher Ackerson, JCCOG Assistant Transportation Planner, at 319.356.5247.

*All content above reposted from JCCOG press release vis Kris Ackerson