Plans are underway to build a separated bike/pedestrian path on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. As part of a four-year Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTC) pilot project, the shoulders on the upper and lower decks of the bridge will be converted to a bike/pedestrian path and a traffic lane, respectively.
The bike/pedestrian path is slated to be 10 feet wide, separated from vehicles by either a movable barrier or temporary concrete walls, and include a raised approach on the bridge’s east side. In addition to the new bridge path, transportation officials plan to build a bike/pedestrian trail connecting the bridge and Richmond to Point Molate.
If all goes according to plan, the bike/pedestrian path will be completed in the fall of 2017. Once complete, the new path will fill a major gap in the Bay Trail.
People for Bikes is currently rolling out a national ad campaign called ‘Travel With Care‘. According to their site, “The campaign’s message is built around bettering behavior by both people in cars and on bikes by asking them to travel with care and to ‘melt icy relations on the road.'”
This isn’t the first ad campaign designed to encourage drivers and cyclists to see each other as partners in safety. To get a broader perspective, we took a look at similar road safety campaigns and collected some of their best thoughts.
On the topic of sharing responsibility for creating a safe environment, Massachusetts’ ‘Same Roads, Same Rules’ campaign puts it well:
- It’s about people just trying to get where they’re going safely.
- It’s about respecting each others right to be on the road.
- It’s about keeping each other safe by following a common set of rules that we all know.
The UK’s ‘Let’s Look Out for Each Other’ campaign‘ adds to that:
- Look out for each other, especially when turning
- Signal intentions so that the other road user can react
- Give cyclists space and remember that cyclists are advised to ride well clear of the [curb] to be visible and avoid collisions
The commonality among the campaigns is the notion that the divide between ‘cyclists’ and ‘motorists’ is an imaginary one. All road users are people just trying to get from one place to another. We’ve got the same errands to run, same places to go and the same daily worries – the only difference is in our choice of transportation on a given day. Since the vast majority of people who ride bicycles also regularly drive a motor vehicle, today’s cyclist could literally be tomorrow’s motorist!
However, recognizing the humanity of a fellow road user is only half the battle. How do you preserve the sense that we’re all in this together while battling with traffic? To answer that, we turn to London’s ‘Share the Road’ campaign:
“We all compete for space and as our population grows, the roads get busier and there’s less space to be had. All road users – motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists – are affected by the issues we face today: the pace of traffic and the pace of life. Sometimes it gets to us all and we lose our cool. But what if we let it go? And leave it behind? [We’re] asking all road users to think about their attitudes on the road. If we were all a bit more considerate, rather than competing and losing our temper, then we’d all have better, safer and less stressful journeys.”
Acknowledging our tendency to get frustrated on the road and dealing with it by choosing to act calmly instead of reacting hastily is a giant step toward making the road a safer place. And don’t forget about the human element – giving a smile or a wave (even a ‘sorry, my bad’ wave) makes the road a better place for everyone.
With California’s Three Feet for Safety law now in effect, we thought we’d present an overview of California laws designed to help drivers and cyclists share the road safely
Motorists & Cyclists
- Rights and Responsibilities: Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Both have the right to use the roadway; both are responsible for signaling turns and stops, as well as stopping at all red lights and stop signs. (CVC 21200, CVC 22107, CVC 22111)
- Yielding to pedestrians: Drivers and cyclists must yield to pedestrians, whether they are crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Crosswalks must be left free and clear for pedestrians. (CVC 21954 (b), CVC 21950, CVC 21455)
- Blocking a Bike Lane: Neither motorists nor cyclists may stop in a bike lane or on a bike path. (CVC 21211, CVC 22512)
- Turning Out of Slow Moving Vehicles: On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle (including bicycles and passenger vehicles) behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed. (CVC 21656)
- Passing Cyclists: When passing a cyclist, motorists are required to allow at least three feet between their vehicle and the cyclist. If doing so would cause a hazard, they must slow down and pass the cyclist only when it is safe to do so. (CVC 21760)
- Turning Across a Bike Lane: When making a right turn that involves crossing a bike lane, the driver must merge into the bike lane and turn from the curb. State law requires that all right-hand turns be made from “as far right as practicable.” (CVC 21717, CVC 22100)
- Opening and Closing Doors: Before opening doors, drivers must look for oncoming traffic and may not open the door unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of traffic. The door must not be left open longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. (CVC 22517)
- Travel Lanes: Cyclists moving at less than the speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as is safe & practicable. Cyclists have the right to take the lane when passing, preparing for a left turn, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if they are approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. (CVC 21202)
- Bicycle Lanes: On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane, with the same exceptions as noted above. (CVC 21208)
- Moving Left to Avoid Hazards & Pass: Cyclists are allowed to move left to avoid hazards like fixed or moving objects, hazardous surface conditions, animals, glass, etc. This includes moving left when passing a vehicle (esp. a turning vehicle turning right) or another bicycle traveling in the same direction. (CVC 21202 (a))
- Riding on Sidewalks: Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks. Check local regulations. (CVC 21206)
Bicycle Operation & Required Equipment
- Helmets: Cyclists and bicycle passengers under age 18 must wear a helmet when riding on a bicycle. (CVC 21212)
- Head phones: Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears. (CVC 27400)
- Use Lights at Night: A white headlight and reflectors are required by law if riding when it’s dark. (CVC 21201)
- Ride with a Brake: A bike must be equipped with a brake that enables the rider “to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.” (CVC 21201)
Diablo residents know that cyclists use their community to access or egress the south side of Mt. Diablo. Some residents have voiced their desire to gate Diablo in the past. Residents are asking that cyclists obey the rules of the road which means ride single file, obey the 20 mph signs, stop at stop signs, and remain mindful of vehicles ahead and behind you. If you can follow these simple requests, it will send a positive message to the community. Read the full flyer.