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Sharrows coming to a street near you

As part of Cincinnati’s effort to become more bicycle friendly, the city's streets will soon see the installation of blue “Share the Road” signs in three high priority cycling corridors.

The three initial corridors to receive the new signs will be Hamilton and Spring Grove avenues near the bicycle-heavy Northside neighborhood and Riverside Drive through the East End neighborhood.

This will be the first time these “Share the Road” signs have been used in Ohio and are meant to remind motorists to expect bicyclists on these streets.  City law currently directs adult cyclists to ride in the street with the flow of vehicular traffic and not on the sidewalks.

“These signs are an easy way to promote cycling as a viable means of transportation and are part of our effort to increase transportation choices in Cincinnati,” says the interim director of the city’s Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE), Michael Moore.

The new “Share the Road” signs are just the beginning of things to come. Over the summer, the city’s DOTE will launch a city-wide Bike Plan process that will create a comprehensive plan for bicycle infrastructure and programming.

In addition to the new signage and city-wide Bike Plan, the city will also begin the installation of  sharrows in a variety of locations. Sharrows are employed in the absence of a dedicated bicycle lane and are painted zones on the road that illustrate where cyclists will be riding.

Sharrows provide a safely marked area for bicyclists who often feel compelled to ride closer to parked cars in order to put distance between themselves and moving traffic.  This often times creates a situation where bicyclists are “doored” by people opening a car door from a parked vehicle and can cause serious injury.

Based on feedback the city received from an online survey, sharrows will be installed this week along the following corridors:
  • Clifton Avenue (McMillan Street to Ludlow Avenue)
  • Ludlow Avenue (Bowdle Place to Clifton Hills)
  • Ludlow/Jefferson/Nixon Avenues (Clifton Avenue to Vine Street)
  • Madison Road (Beechcrest Lane to Torrence Parkway)
Following these initial installations, the City plans on studying the effectiveness of the sharrows. Results will be reported to the Federal Highway Administration in June of 2010.  The information collected will also be used to make future decisions on whether or not to install additional sharrows throughout the city.

Sharrows are currently being used or studied in a number of U.S. cities including Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky nearby.

Writer: Randy Simes
Source: Mel McVay, city planner, City of Cincinnati Department of Transportation & Engineering
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