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North County bicyclists welcome new bike lane, sharrows

SAN DIEGO – Drivers and bicyclists traveling through Encinitas along Coast Hi­ghway 101 have seen a change to the roadway in recent weeks. In an effort to better accommodate the growing number of bicyclists in the area, the City of Encinitas added a new bike lane to northbound Coast Highway 101 from Leucadia Boulevard to La Costa Avenue.

Crews also added a total of 140 sharrows and 28 “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage in both directions from K Street to La Costa Avenue to remind motorists that cyclists may ride in the center of the lane for increased safety and visibility.

San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, an organization that advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles, reminds cyclists and motorists to follow guidelines for the new bike lane and sharrows, which now adorn streets across the county.

“For the thousands of people who ride Coast Highway 101 every week for recreation and transportation, the bike lane and sharrows are a welcome sight,” said Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition. “They’re also markings of a more bike-friendly community, which we’re seeing in mass across San Diego County.”

Supported by the Bicycle Coalition, sharrows are a newer tool in the bike-friendly community toolbox. Adopted by Caltrans in 2005 as a statewide universal marking for sharing the road, sharrows mark travel lanes that bicyclists and motorists share. When a lane is too narrow for a dedicated bike lane, a sharrow has been proven to be an effective tool in increasing safety and awareness for all road users.

These four-foot-wide bicycles with two arrows on top are painted on streets in neighborhoods and along thoroughfares in San Diego County that agencies have already designated as bicycle routes. Road users can see sharrowns in Oceanside in North County as well as the communities of Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Normal Heights and downtown San Diego.

Sharrows help bicyclists position themselves away from parked cars, to avoid being struck by suddenly opened car doors, and to alert other road users that bicyclists may occupy travel lanes. To aid the effectiveness of the sharrows, the City of Encinitas also installed several “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs to reinforce that cyclists have the right to be in the travel lane.

To celebrate the new bicycle lane and roadway markings, the Encinitas Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, along with Leucadia 101 Main Street Association and Downtown Encinitas Main Street Association have organized a casual ride on the new and improved Coast Highway 101. The “Joyride” will take place on March 23. The organizers encourage all community members to save the date and join them for a cruise up and down the coast with stops at local bike shops and restaurants. Please visit HERE for more details.

For additional information on sharrows and other bike-friendly infrastructure projects, contact the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition at execdir@sdcbc.org or 858-487-6063.