Sharrows and Biking in Downtown Decatur

I bet you have noticed the new sharrows on Ponce de Leon and on Sycamore Drive that were painted this past weekend. The word “sharrow” was new to me last year before I began working in the Active Living Department, but now has become a part of my vocabulary. I like to compare it to how we “google” things- 20 years ago we would have no idea what that word was. Here’s the definition…..
Sharrows are street markings that remind motorists to share the lane with bicycles. They are used on streets with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less and when there is  not enough width or the right road conditions to stripe a bicycle lane. Unlike bike lanes, sharrows do not designate a part of the street exclusively for bikes.

A year ago there is no way that I imagined myself on a bike riding around downtown Decatur and was vocal telling bikers that. Now I have to eat my words as I have rediscovered the joy of riding a bike. I am starting off with small trips during the day to build up my confidence, and I must say that I feel pretty safe riding down Ponce de Leon and some other downtown streets. I am amazed at how youthful I feel biking around and find that it gets me where I am going a bit faster than my usual mode, walking.

I hope you enjoy the sharrows, and consider riding your bike a bit more. It is my opinion that the more bikes that are on the road in Decatur, the more aware the drivers will become.

2 Responses to Sharrows and Biking in Downtown Decatur

  1. maryflad says:

    Is the point of the sharrow then simply to remind car drivers that the bikes have every right to be there? And not to be surprised when they encounter a cyclist? Or are there specific driving laws that pertain to drivers in sharrow lanes?

  2. Cheryl Burnette says:

    That is my understanding Mary. There is a new law that requires cars to leave three feet between their car and bicyclists when passing them.

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