Monday, December 17, 2018

Taking a close look - Old Cutler Bike Trail - designed use, rules of the road - Types of bikeways - 2 discussed here: paved path & sharrows

I am presenting an update relating to local issues, local places. This is part of a developing "taking a close look at" or "Fact Checking" series on issues and places in and around Palmetto Bay and our south Miami-Dade Communities.

 Old Cutler Trail, an eleven mile multi-use path that runs from Cocoplum Circle to 244th in Cutler Bay. It provides connections to both the Biscayne Trail and Black Creek Trail at various points.

WALK RIDE U.S.A. bills itself as "A guide for recreational trails for walking, running and cycling located throughout the U.S.A."  Here is what it has to say about the Old Cutler Trail: (CLICK HERE).

One common misconception is that the Old Cutler Trail is a dedicated bike lane where bicyclists should ride rather than riding along side the street.

In fact, Old Cutler Road is in fact what is known as a shared bike road.  Check the signage:
Types of Bikeways

I am posting information taken from an official Miami-Dade County website, Parks & Open Spaces where you can learn about bike lanes, paved paths, paved shoulders, shared lane markings and wide curb lanes.
  • Bike lane: Bike lanes are areas on the road that are marked for use by bicyclists. Vehicles can cross bike lanes to make a turn or to park.
  • Paved path: Paved paths are two-way paths that are physically separated from the road and are shared by bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Paved shoulder: Paved shoulders are slightly narrower than a full traffic lane. They are are a safety feature usually found on rural highways. Paved shoulders reduce the risk of run-off-the-road crashes and provide space for bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Shared lane marking: Shared lane markings (or ''sharrows'') are a roadway marking that helps guide bicyclists to ride outside the ''door zone'' next to on-street parking and where they are visible to motorists turning from side streets. Shared lane markings help improve safety.
  • Wide curb lane: Wide curb lanes are outermost lane of a roadway that are wide enough (usually 14-feet wide) for a bicyclist and a motor vehicle to share the lane safely. Wide curb lanes are usually used when there is not enough space to add marked bike lanes.
Old Cutler Road is both a "Sharrow" as it has shared lane marking and signage and it has a multi-use path. Bicyclists have the right to use both Old Cutler Road and the Old Cutler Multi-use path.

So what is a "sharrow"?
A sharrow is not a bike lane, as it does not create road space nominally reserved for bicycles. Instead, it is meant to be used in situations where cyclists and drivers must coexist in the same lane. (Think slower-moving neighborhood streets; you’re never supposed to see sharrows in areas with speed limits above 35 mph.) Primarily, it’s a positioning tool that tells you where to ride to avoid both flung-open car doors and vehicles passing too closely. In theory, if you ride where the sharrow is placed, you won’t find yourself squeezed in a lane too narrow for cars and bikes together.
The sharrow also conveys information. It’s meant to help cyclists stick to recommended bike routes, avoid wrong-way riding, and find gaps where a bike lane might temporarily disappear. It should also alert drivers to the likely presence of bikes, encouraging them (supposedly) to move a little farther to the left if they want to pass a cyclist.
Comments above taken from No, Really, What Are Sharrows Good For?, January 19, 2018, by Brian McEntee (follow the link for the entire article)

Note, I have included additional photos of marked sharrows that exist throughout the Village:
Above - left & right. Note that all of US1 is a sharrow - believe it or not. 
The right lane is wider to accommodate bikes.
 Above left - 77th Avenue. Above right - 168th Street 
Note there is no extra lane space added to a sharrow. 
Motor vehicles and bicycles must share a standard size lane.
Below: Coral Reef Drive information sign in Right of Way and painted on roadway

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