Weekly contributing photographer Russ Roca is the only shooter in our stable who rides a bicycle to get to all his assignments in this far-flung county--quite a trick when you consider that until very recently Roca lived in Long Beach (more on that in a bit). That made Roco uniquely qualified to turn a traffic tickets he received in the LBC into what some are hailing as a two-wheeled revolution. Writes Zach Behrens on LAist.com:
Last week Long Beach did something that, by all appearances, no other city has ever done: they painted sharrows--a common practice to educate motorists that bicyclists get to legally share the road--with a five-foot green lane--a new and inventive way to grab everyone's attention and help cyclists stay out of the door zone.
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The .6 miles lane that runs along both sides of 2nd Street in Belmont Shore came about after Roca received an erroneous ticket for riding on 2nd, jump starting the project four months ago. Roca reported he likes "the sharrow/stripe treatment very much," but "[i]n essence, EVERY road in the city of Long Beach should be ridden as if you had a sharrow/green stripe."
Behrens cites a letter Roca submitted to the city concerning drivers who mistakenly believe cyclists will slow down traffic and that the sharrows give two-peddlars special treatment. In bullet points, Roca writes:
- those lanes were "sharable" by bikes before the sharrows were being put in;
the new sharrows do not take away any rights from motorists NOR do they give bicyclists any special rights, they are just very bold and large visual indicators that bikes can already be legally on the road and they invite cyclists that may not know that right to be on the road; and,
- the placement of the sharrows (presumably in the middle of the lane) is where the cyclist SHOULD ride, out of the door zone.
But Roca will not be around to see what effect this will have on Long Beach bike traffic. The photographer and blogger is joining writer, jewelry maker and "all around crafty type" Laura Crawford in something they're calling "The Path Less Pedaled," dropping out of "the status quo," finding others around the world who have done the same and paring down their lives to just what will fit on two bicycles as they embark on an extended bike tour of the U.S. and beyond. They'll post stories they collect (and hopefully shoot) along the way on PathLessPedaled.com.