After back to back bicycle deaths last year, Mayor Gardner led the Newport City Council to authorize the painting of sharrows as a first step to prevent further fatalities. Why sharrows? Because it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make our streets safer for all riders whether they are going to school, going to work, or recreational riding.
“There are things we can control such as education and making basic road improvements,” Gardner said. “Painting these sharrows in Corona del Mar is a part of that effort.”
The irony here is that Newport Beach, similar to Manhattan Beach and six other local cities that are part of the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan already had these recommendations years earlier. Unfortunately, it required blood on the pavement before the city responded.
Closer to home, Hermosa Beach had also installed sharrows as well and has reported fewer bike collisions.
The benefits of encouraging residents to ride their bikes more are numerous. Not only is riding a bike healthier but local economic activity increases as more people stay local and riders from other cities tend to bring their business to those cities that make their environment more bike friendly. Moreover, car traffic is reduced and parking spaces are increased. This is exactly why so many of our great cities have been investing in a safer and more bike friendly community. As Tony Cruise, a father and resident of Long Beach says:
“Wow, for the first time I have a space to feel safe riding my bike on 2nd Street. The super sharrows create an invitation for people to come out and ride to their favorite restaurants and businesses.”