Kudos to Newport Beach for grinding out the bike lane signage on Irvine Blvd across from Newport Harbor High School. They must have realized that the bike lane was extremely misleading and quite dangerous because of the parking allowed along much of this stretch. Irvine happens to be a well traveled road for bikes, including a corridor for numerous children riding to three schools- Mariners, Ensign and Newport Harbor HS.
What about simply riding your bike on the sidewalk on this stretch? Wouldn’t that be the biking smart option? No. Number one, it is illegal. Number two, as can be seen, there is no sidewalk for much of this stretch, and hazards galore to maneuver.
Cars backing out of driveways pose another major problem for bikes traveling close to the curb along Irvine Blvd. Not to mention pedestrians. Would you want your kids being in this situation?
Is there a solution? Probably not one single solution, but Sharrows should be strongly considered by Newport Beach as part of the solution. Unfortunately, the Sharrows shown in the above three photos had to be added through photo manipulation, but here are three quick reasons for real Sharrows to be added on this short section of Irvine Blvd:
1) This is the epitome of a residential and school area where slower, safer speeds would be appreciated by the neighborhood. Sharrows contribute to traffic calming.
2) Sharrows have been shown to reduce one reason for bike/car accidents- wrong way bike riding. As this stretch of Irvine Blvd is currently configured, it practically encourages wrong way bike riding for cyclists.
3) Sharrows do not confer any new rights for bicyclists, or subtract any motorist rights. They are simply a visual reminder for both drivers and cyclists that the roadway exists for both of them to share. A reminder that should be appreciated by everyone that travels this stretch of Irvine- motorists and cyclists alike.
4) Did I say three? Lastly, this location has all of the “best practice” traffic engineering reasons for Sharrows- two lanes both ways, a speed limit of 30 mph, no obvious parallel pathway, etc. In other words, an excellent, high visibility location for Newport Beach to install Sharrows. The fake Sharrows look great in the first three photos, but the time for real Sharrows has arrived.