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Few things in life are perfect, including the City’s first attempt at sharrows on Bayside Drive.

The “shared lane markings” are too far to the right; they should be in the center of the travel lane. Instead, being right justified, they reinforce the notion that, “Those pesky cyclists should stay to the right and out of the way of the cars,” as Matt O’Toole recently said in his best Virginia hillbilly drawl.

It’s confusing for everyone. The “Share the Road” signs add to drivers’ dilemmas; they’ve ruled the roads with impunity for decades, surely bicyclists must yield.

As you can see in the photo, this motorist has no qualms about crossing a double-yellow line so as not to slow down for this cyclist. And this is the benign reaction; too many motorists who find themselves stuck behind a cyclist on this stretch resort to blowing the horn, but that didn’t happen to me today.

Instead two vehicles crossed the double-yellow passing me quite deftly, but the second motorist felt obliged to add a series of complex gestures. I guess without the horn blowing he’s a practicing pantomimist — maybe his horn is broken from all the cyclists he must warn — I’m not sure. But his elaborate gesturing, first implying I should ride in the gutter so as not to inconvenience him, quickly followed by the gesture we all recognize as the motorists’ salute, but unique to this traveler of the roadways, he continued his malevolent gesture all the way down the road, quite persistently, until a turn in the road took him out of sight. I really must’ve bugged him, or more likely, his reaction had little to do with my behavior and he drives around like this all day…

So, just as the City imagined, this first case of sharrows is a learning experience for everyone involved. When we take these shared lane markings out to Coast Hwy through Corona del Mar we must get them aligned properly and we need a sign that’s unambiguous, like “Cyclists May Use Full Lane”.

That’s when we’ll be doing sharrows correctly.



Frank Peters

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