New road markings to help or hurt bikers?

'Sharrows' meant to give bikers more room on the road

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - New markings on the roads in Riverside have drivers seeing red.

The purpose of the markings is to promote bicycle safety and awareness, but some say it gives bicyclists too much freedom on the roads.

The markings are called sharrows and they mean that bicyclists have the right to use the full lane.

People can now find these shared-lane markings, called sharrows, in Riverside, but they will soon be found on roads across the city.

The markings are being put up because many believe drivers are taking up too much room on the roads, but many others wonder if this is a safety issue.

"The majority of people riding out there for fitness have had close calls or have been hit by cars," said Scott Summey. "I've been hit by a car."

Summey, co-owner of Open Road Bicycles, said the new sharrows on Riverside Drive are a welcome addition.

The new markings mean bikers have the right to use the entire lane, but they're only put down in areas where bicyclists can't travel side-by-side safely.

"It gives us a safe access through a certain area, and that's what a sharrow is all about," Summey said. "Where there are limited lanes, especially where there is a lot of congestion and traffic, there is limited space for vehicles."

In the age of texting and driving, bikers said the markers make them feel a little safer, but not everybody is happy with the new paint on the pavement.

Some drivers question whether it's safe to encourage bikers to ride where they see fit on state roads.

"I personally wouldn't like it if I had a bike riding right in front of my car and I couldn't go around it," driver Alexis Winter said. "I like it when they stay to the side, but I guess pedestrians have the right of way."

"I personally think it might be a little too big because there a a lot more cars than bikers," said driver Ryan Hoger. "Giving them what looks like a whole lane, I don't necessarily think that's a good idea. You've got people texting and driving."

"We are a vehicle on the road by Florida law, and obviously we expect the motorist to do the same," Summey said. "We are pedestrians and we are somewhat fragile against a 3,000-pound vehicle."

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