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What Are Share the Road Laws?

Share the road laws include almost all situations in which vehicles are moving at different speeds and need to respect each others differences. Sounds like the making of a beautiful relationship. These laws are especially important when it comes to bikes.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles handbook states that bicycles “have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers." CA DMV Handbook For cyclists, this means, in part, traveling at the right edge of streets near curbs, and not on sidewalks.

But cyclists may also occupy the center of driving lanes when they are moving at the same speed as other traffic. As a result, roads are changing as city planners seek to be true to the basic principal – that bikes are allowed on any street where cars are allowed, even if there is not a clearly-designated lane for them. Cities such as San Francisco have devised ways to make bikes more visible to motorists. According to 7X7SF’s Kristin Smith, there are plenty of bike-related traffic symbols and paint markings that go beyond your basic two white lines with the stencil of a bike in the middle.

"Sharrows" are Share the Lane Arrows, accompanying the image of a bike, which are painted in the actual driving lane. Sharrows occur in the middle of the lane, so cyclists are not expected to cling to the right curb as they would for a normal bike lane. Cities worldwide also use Separated Bikeways, also called “buffered bikeways” or “green lanes.” These lanes have physical dividers between bike and car lanes, making bike lanes safer for riders of all ages and abilities. Separated bikeways cut down on stress for drivers, too. If there’s a built-in barrier, you won’t have to worry about hitting a cyclist because you didn’t see him. For additional information on how cities are accommodating cyclists, see More Bike Symbol Information

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