New bicycle markings being introduced next week
The City of Colorado Springs will install an initial set of Shared Lane Markings (aka "sharrows") on a section of Tejon Ave. (between Cache La Poudre and Willamette) on Thursday, May 26 (weather pending). Shared Lane Markings are legends installed on roadways where bikes and vehicles must share the road, due to a lack of bicycle lanes. The markings do not establish a bike lane or change the law regarding the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists on a road. Bikes are allowed on any City street in Colorado Springs (except I-25) and, by law, motorists must allow 3 feet of space when passing a bicyclist.
The markings are an awareness tool to alert drivers of the possible presence of bicyclists and a reminder of their legal right to be there. They also act as a guide for bicyclists to properly position themselves in a lane - away from the open door zone of parked cars and out of the gutter. They set expectations for drivers as to where a bicyclist will be riding on a shared roadway. They discourage inappropriate and unsafe behavior by bicyclists such as weaving in and out of parked cars or riding against traffic. When Shared Lane Markings were being tested for use (Denver was a test community), over 90% of bicyclists on the test facility centered themselves over the symbol. Among the benefits realized in the tests were:
- Decreased evasive maneuvers between vehicles and bicyclists
- Increased distance between bicyclists and parked cars
- Increased distance between motorists when passing bicyclists
- Fewer bicyclists riding the wrong way on the road
- Fewer bicyclists riding on the sidewalk (riding on the sidewalk is prohibited downtown and in Old Colorado City)
The markings were approved for use in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices in 2009 and staff has been following their development since 2005. Funding for the installation of traffic markings, including these Shared Lane Markings, comes from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (Street Bikeway Improvements and Citywide Safety and Traffic Operations accounts).After installation in the initial locations on Tejon, staff will observe behavior by both bicycles and cars and continue to revise the guidelines drafted for local use based on those observations and public comment. The local guidelines were drafted using existing federal guidelines as well as guidelines from other communities who have been using these marks. The DRAFT guidelines (including a link to a survey for public comment on the draft guidelines), frequently asked questions, studies, links to other communities? information, and more can be found at www.springsgov.com/sharrows.