Bike Lanes 101

The city of Redlands stages one of the longest-running bicycle stage racing events in the United States, the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Thus, one would assume that Redlands would also be very cycling-friendly toward the many types of cyclists in the city, including commuters, children riding to school, people and families riding for exercise and/or transportation throughout the city for a variety of reasons and those who ride for training or fitness.

You would also assume that years ago Redlands would have installed a network of bike lanes and signage throughout the city to complement its appreciation of cycling.

However, to the surprise of those outside our city limits and even many of its own citizens, Redlands just recently installed several official bike lanes and painted "sharrows" on some of the newly paved roads throughout the city. As an avid cyclist and fitness educator and coach, I was thrilled to see our city finally add bike lanes and sharrows to make it safer and encouraging for those who want to ride a bike for pleasure, transportation or exercise.

Yet, from the onslaught of negative letters to the editor that have recently appeared in the Redlands Daily Facts since the installation of the bike lanes and sharrows, one would think the majority of Redlands citizens are against the new cycling improvements. They say power is in the pen and in numbers.

Well, to offset the negative pen, one of Redlands' most influential men when it comes to all things cycling, Craig Kundig, sent out a friendly email asking for those who supported the new bike lanes and sharrows to join him at a recent Redlands City Council meeting to voice their positive opinions. An exact count wasn't taken, but I was one of those concerned citizens, and I estimate there were 70 to 100 cycling enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds in attendance.

Several people intelligently expressed their support of the new bike lanes and cycling signage. Besides the obvious benefits of improved health of our citizens and the positive impact of commuting on our carbon footprint, education concerning the bike lanes and sharrows was brought up several times. This solidified my topic of choice for today's column, Bike Lanes 101.

I'm hoping that with an explanation of how bike lanes and sharrows work, more people will embrace or at least respect cycling and perhaps even hop on a bike themselves and take a spin around our beautiful town.

The money saved in gas could be used to purchase some cycling apparel, lights for nighttime riding or commuting or even a movie ticket - riding to the theater, of course. If you indulge in some buttered popcorn, the ride home will help you burn off some of the extra calories.

Now for your Bike Lane 101 lesson.

Sharrows

Throughout the city you may come across a sharrow painted on the road. The name represents sharing of the road by cars and bicycles. This symbol is also to remind motorists that bicyclists are allowed to lawfully use the whole lane, if needed.

Bike lanes

Redlands has both green-enhanced and white-lettering-enhanced bike lanes. However, the same laws apply to both lanes. A bicycle lane is a designated and legal traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by solid white lines, typically breaking into a dotted line ending before it reaches the corner. A bicycle lane follows specific width requirements and is clearly marked as a bike lane.

  • Treat a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes.

  • Do not turn into the lane if there is a bicyclist in the bike lane.

  • Do not obstruct bicycle traffic by reducing the width required for safe bicycle passage, typically 3 to 4 feet.

  • When you are making a right turn and are within 200 feet of the corner or other driveway entrance, you may enter the bicycle lane only after ensuring there is no bicycle traffic, and then safely make your turn.

  • Do not drive in the bicycle lane at any other time.

Bike box

Redlands has one bike box, at the corner of Brookside Avenue and Tennessee Street. The bike box helps to decrease car-bike conflicts by providing improved visibility and positioning for cyclists when stopped at a red light. Cyclists are permitted to pull in front of waiting traffic at designated bike box intersections. When the light turns green, cyclists makes their turn followed by the cars.

May is National Bike Month, with May 13-17 designated as National Bike to Work week and May 17 being Bike to Work Day. To help you celebrate and motivate you to possibly upgrade some of your cycling equipment for commuting or riding in general, Cyclery USA Bike Shop, at 415 A Tennessee St., Redlands, is offering a 20 percent discount on apparel and anything related to commuting such as helmets and lights for your bike, through Sunday when you mention you read about it in my All Things Fitness column in the Redlands Daily Facts.

Cyclists and drivers in Redlands should treat each other with respect, and both are required to follow the rules of the road. There's no reason why cars and bikes can't share the road and live in harmony for the betterment of our entire community. Cyclists, remember to always wear a helmet. It takes only one blow to the head in an accident to cause major life-altering damage.

Respect, safety and enjoyment for all! Hope to see you in a bike lane or perhaps sharing a sharrow!

  • For a map of the bike lanes in Redlands, visit HERE.

Patty Peoples is a fitness coach and educator at Chaffey College, member of the Inaugural Women's Tour de France Championship Team, USAT Level 1 multisport coach, Duathlon AG world champion and reigning USAT Duathlon national champion with more than 125 career victories. Peoples can be reached at p2peakperformance@hotmail.com