You’ll start to see these signs around town now in place of some of the Share the Road signs courtesy of our Nampa engineering department and its promotion by your fellow cyclists at Bike/Walk Nampa (You CAN make a difference!).
With the increase in bike traffic on our nation’s roadways the last few years it has become increasingly apparent that the “Share the Road” sign just doesn’t get the message across to motorists. In fact, the laws clearly indicate that if the lane isn’t wide enough for a bicycle to share with a car then the bike should take control of the lane for safety purposes and maximum visibility.
AASHTO (The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) guidelines, which cities use as a standard, classifies a “shareable” travel lane as not less that 14 ft wide, most lanes are not that wide!
Here’s a paragraph on taking control of the lane from Idaho Street Smarts, a publication available from ITD-
“It may seem dangerous to make a motorist slow for you, but it’s not. The usual reason that bicyclists feel unsafe on narrow roads is that they do not take control of the situation. Remember, the drivers behind you don’t have room to pass you safely anyway. If you ride all the way over at the right, you’re inviting them to pass you where the road is too narrow and, too often, you will get squeezed off the road. If you show clearly that it’s not safe for drivers to pass you, they’re unlikely to try.
On a road with two or more narrow lanes in your direction- like many city streets- you should ride in the middle of the right lane at all times. You need to send the message to drivers to move to the passing lane to pass you.”
No matter what, you should never “hug the gutter” when riding, it gives you no escape distance and someone’s going to squeeze you off the road or worse. Ride out in the road where it’s smoother and free of trash, give yourself room to maneuver around obstacles and potholes. When coming up on an intersection, move out farther into the road to be more visible to cars entering from a side street.
Always wear bright clothing and many of us also use a blinking red light on the rear of the bicycle even during the day. Be seen!
Idaho Bicycle Code-
49-717. POSITION ON HIGHWAY.
(1) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable* to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(b) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge.
(2) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way roadway with two (2) or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable*.
As many of you already know, LaRita Schandorff, Bruce Wiley and several other Canyon County volunteers have been part of the Lake Lowell Access Plan Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) this past year. We have met several times with representatives from the Fed DOT, Canyon County highway districts, Nampa city (Karla Nelson), Caldwell, County Parks, the Wildlife Refuge, the Sheriff’s office and many others to hammer out a plan that would enhance the bike and pedestrian access and enjoyment of the Lake Lowell area.
The initial priority phase includes shared roads, some widened roadways, bike lanes, pathways and signage. This is just a start with more planned for future construction as the dollars become available. Hopefully construction can begin next year on these priority items.
Here is the map as well as a list of these improvements to download.