Question: I’ve noticed new markings on several streets, some are in the middle of lanes (Summit Drive, for example). What are the rules for both the driver or the vehicle and the bicyclist?
Answer: The markings this reader is writing about are called shared lane markings or sometimes “sharrows.”
According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, shared lane markings are used to show where bicycles and automobiles are meant to share the lanes.
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The NACTO says shared lane markings reinforce the legitimacy of bicycle traffic on the street.
South Carolina laws seem to agree with that message. Section 56-5-3420 of SC law explicitly states “a person riding a bicycle upon a roadway must be granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.”
The law goes on to require drivers of motor vehicles maintain a safe operating distance from bicyclists on roads. It also outlaws harassing cyclists.
But cyclists have legal responsibilities too. State law requires them to ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, unless a lane other than the right lane is the only one that permits the bicyclist to continue on their route.
Bicyclists are also prohibited from riding more than two abreast on roads.
According to the city of Greenville’s 2009 Bikeville plan, sharrows are intended to be used in areas where there is not enough space for a dedicated bike lane.
Elizabeth LaFleur loves running, gardening, spending time with her new baby girl and answering your questions. If you’re curious about something in the Upstate, chances are she is too. Reach out to Elizabeth via email at [email protected] or send questions by mail to Elizabeth LaFleur, 32 E. Broad St., Greenville, SC 29601. Answers will appear in the Tuesday and Friday print editions of The Greenville News.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Ask LaFleur: What do new bicycle markings on Greenville streets mean?