Newport Beach is one community doing what it can to ensure that bicyclists and motorists are able to share the road in a safe manner.
A Citizen’s Task Force on Bicycle Safety was organized three years ago in a bid to come up with a plan that would enable Newport to become more bicycle-friendly in general. The issue came into stark contrast a couple months ago, though, when two people on bicycles were killed in as many days. On the heels of those incidents, the Newport Council voted to create a bike safety improvement fund which will use grants and private donations to improve bicycle infrastructure and education in numerous ways.
One such improvement involves the implementation of what are known as bike sharrows. Creation of a sharrow involves placing a symbol of a bicycle rider on the pavement to signal to cyclists and motorists alike that the lane is to be shared by both types of drivers. These types of lanes are thought to reduce instances where someone in a parked vehicle flings their door wide when getting out of the automobile, plus they are believed to encourage visibility and proper passing.
That’s not all that Newport is doing, though. Officials are in the process of coming up with a map detailing the safest routes for cyclists, and an educational campaign will find “Same Roads, Same Rules” banners plastered across the city.
Newport Beach citizens should be pleased with this concerted effort to promote safety. One would hope that these types of initiatives will catch on in other parts of California that have thus far not been willing to embrace wide-ranging bike safety measures.