The Public Works Department of the City of St Augustine has announced to local Historic City News reporters that in about six-weeks, shared-lane pavement markings, known as sharrows, will be added to San Marco Avenue from May Street and West Castillo Drive.
Sharrows were first introduced to the city two and a half years ago as a traffic control feature on the Bridge of Lions. The now familiar “double-chevron and bicycle” symbol is intended to alert motorists to expect cyclists to be sharing the lane of traffic.
Narrow roadways where a full bike lane will not fit and there is not enough room for a car to pass a bicycle with the required three-foot passing width, are defined in Florida law as a “substandard-width lane”. In such cases, it is necessary for a bicyclist to share the same lane as vehicles and ride in front of motorists, rather than beside them.
(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
The local bicycle advocacy organization, Velofest, who promotes the use of sharrows to enhance safe bicycling and to bring awareness of a bicyclists’ right to ride in the road, will assist in the promotion and public outreach by distributing literature throughout the community prior to the installation in mid-October.
A resolution by the City Commission last year authorized the installation of sharrows along San Marco Avenue (Read the resolution here.)
FDOT describes the following benefits of sharrows:
- enhancing the safe travel of bicycles and motor vehicles in the same traffic lane;
- helping position bicyclists on narrow lanes, where cars and bikes cannot travel side-by-side safely;
- alerting motorists to where bicycles may use the full lane, as Florida law allows;
- telling bicyclists where to safely ride and alerting motorists where to expect bicycles;
- guiding bicyclists to a safe position next to parking lanes, outside the “door zone,” where a parked car’s opened door may hit bicyclists;
- encouraging safe passing;
- reducing wrong-way bicycling.