Here’s a little background on the Bridge of Lions. It’s a narrow, 2-lane drawbridge where A1A crosses the Matanzas River. It has narrow, walled sidewalks on both sides. It’s not wide enough for bicyclists and pedestrians to share.
How the SLMs came to be on the Bridge of Lions is a story of smart advocacy and conscientious public officials.
Once, there were signs approaching the bridge that said “Walk Bicycles Across Bridge.” It would be appropriate for sidewalk bicyclists to walk their bikes, but the placement of the signs suggested that bicyclists were not allowed to use the road. George Martin (Geo) of Flbikelaw.org succeeded in having those signs removed last year. They were replaced by Share the Road (STR) signs.
In June, Geo sent a letter to FDOT District 2, thanking them for removal of the sidewalk sign and requesting the placement of Bikes May Use Full Lane (BMUFL) signs on the bridge. He cited state statutes and lane width requirements for sharing vs controlling, and outlined the need for clearly communicating that bicyclists are entitled to the full use of the lane. FDOT engineers agreed that BMUFL signs would better convey the message and promised to consider and discuss it with the City of St. Augustine. In August, they contacted Geo to announce that the STR sign would be replaced with BMUFL signs and SLMs would be painted on the road.
Thanks to Geo’s hard work and cooperation from the engineering staff at FDOT District 2, SLMs were painted on the Bridge of Lions last week!
Big thanks to District Two Traffic Operations Engineer, Jerry Auscher, and Assistant District Traffic Operations Engineer, Chris LeDew, for helping make this happen.
Here’s a copy of the February 17 press release from FDOT:
New pavement marking to promote bicycle awareness to be placed on State Road A1A in St. Augustine
“Shared Lane Pavement Marking” to be installed on the Bridge of Lions
St. Augustine –The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will be installing a new traffic control feature known as the “Sharrow” or “Shared Lane Pavement Marking” on State Road A1A in St. Augustine on the Bridge of Lions to bring awareness to expect bicycle riders.
Sharrows are used on narrow roadways where a full bike lane will not fit and there is not enough room for a car to pass a bicycle with the required 3-foot passing width. In this case, it is necessary for a bicyclist to “take the lane” and ride in front of motorists, rather than beside them. Bicyclists who are uncomfortable riding in traffic can still ride on the bridge sidewalk, as long as they yield to pedestrians.
- Enhances the safe travel of bicycles and motor vehicles in the same traffic lane.
- Helps position bicyclists on narrow lanes, where cars and bikes cannot travel side-by-side safely.
- Alerts motorists to where bicycles may use the full lane, as Florida law allows.
- Tells bicyclists where to safely ride and alerts motorists where to expect bicycles.
- Guides bicyclists to a safe position next to parking lanes, outside the “door zone,” where a parked car’s opened door may hit bicyclists.
- Encourages safe passing.
- Reduces wrong-way bicycling.
The FDOT, along with the City of St. Augustine and the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, promotes the use of Sharrows to enhance safe bicycling and to bring awareness of bicyclists’ right to ride in the road.
Sharrow installation will start on Tuesday depending on weather.
For more information, please contact FDOT Public Information Director Gina Busscher at firstname.lastname@example.org or FDOT Assistant District Traffic Operations Engineer Chris LeDew at email@example.com or 904-360-5633.