A recently launched bike-share program in Montevallo, Ala., has partnered with local officials to improve the city’s biking infrastructure.
The ValloCycle program began in October (see “Reinventing With Wheels: Montevallo Bike Share Program a Product of New Sustainability Partnerships,” posted at Weld Local Oct. 26).
ValloCycle has now partnered with the City of Montevallo Public Works Department to designate all city streets as “sharrows” lanes.
Unlike traditional bicycle lanes, “sharrows” lanes are regular lanes of traffic where bicyclists are encouraged to assert their legal right to ride in the flow of traffic, according to a news release from Courtney Bennett and Aaron Traywick of ValloCycle.
Since “sharrows” lanes can be used on roads of any width, the release says, they are not restricted for use in the same manner that bicycle lanes are.
The term “sharrow” is “an amalgamation of ‘arrow’ and ‘share the road,’” according to Elly Blue at the Seattle eco-site grist.org, in her look at the pros and cons of the use of “sharrows” in Seattle, titled ‘Sharing time: Tracking the ‘sharrow’ on city streets..’
The concept of “sharrows” is defined as follows at the web site for the Seattle Department of Transportation: “Shared lane pavement markings (or “sharrows”) are bicycle symbols carefully placed to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride on the road, avoid car doors and remind drivers to share the road with cyclists.”
According to the site, “Unlike bicycle lanes, sharrows do not designate a particular part of the street for the exclusive use of bicyclists. They are simply a marking to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride and help motorists expect to see and share the lane with bicyclists.”
According to the ValloCycle release, the “sharrows’ concept makes biking safer, in that cyclists who ride with traffic are more likely to follow traffic laws, and that riders who share the full lane with motor vehicle can move to the right and signal the vehicle to pass when necessary.
Over 30 signs have been placed in downtown Montevallo, with preference given to such high-traffic locations such as the University of Montevallo, public schools, small residential communities and roads with low-visibility elevation and curves.
This will be first city-wide “Share the Lane” initiative for any Alabama city, according to the release.
For more about the ValloCycle bike-share program, visit www.vallocycle.com.