Saturday, June 27, 2009

Official Launch of Sharrows!

The sharrow/stripes have been down for a few days, but the official launch was this morning. Attendance was pretty good and there was lots of excitement in the air. There was some formal speaking from various city folk. Of particular note was Ryan Snyder who is in charge of administering the PLACE grant which funds many of our city's bike projects.

What was striking, for me, about his speech was that he really emphasized that "every street in a sense is a bike lane." This is very important. Not every road will get this sharrow treatment or a bike lane, so it is paramount that the idea that cyclists can use all roads is understood.

I do like the sharrow/stripe treatment very much, but it must be emphasized that they do nothing to change the laws that govern the road. They merely show where it is safe to ride. In essence, EVERY road in the city of Long Beach should be ridden as if you had a sharrow/green stripe.

Another notable moment in the speaking was when Police Chief Anthony Batts acknowledged my ticket as an "evolutionary tool" to help educate police officers. My ticket, if nothing else, has become a teachable moment for the police and cyclists. Of course, I STILL have my ticket and court date to contend with, of which I wish they would just expunge. Simply put, the place where I was riding is now occupied by a big green stripe. It should make any claims that I was somehow breaking the law seem absolutely ridiculous at this point (like 6-foot-wide-green-stripe ridiculous). While, I appreciate the public acknowledgment, I'd really like my ticket nixed. Hint, hint.

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