GarCo sign campaign urges space for bikes | PostIndependent.com

GarCo sign campaign urges space for bikes

In an effort to prevent injuries and fatalities on local roadways, as well as encourage active lifestyles, Garfield County Public Health has launched "Give them 3 Feet," a public awareness sign campaign that encourages all road users to uphold their mutual responsibility to share the road.

Bicyclists have all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to the drivers of any vehicle on public roads; this is something not everybody knows.

A local coalition of community members has worked with public health to promote biking, walking and road safety. The group's goal is to teach motorists and cyclists to respect one another, and to share the road.

To do this, the group purchased signage for current bike routes, and placed new signs along county roadways that state "3 feet it's the law." The signs are meant remind motorists to give adequate space when passing cyclists. The signs also state: "please ride single file," asking bikers, as a courtesy, to ride single file to make it easier for motorists to pass.

Committee member Jim Neu said he has received a lot of positive feedback from the community since sign placement began earlier this year.

"When bikers see the signs, they feel more comfortable that they are a known user of that road and that the 3 feet passing law is posted," he said. "The Garfield County Road and Bridge Department was instrumental in placing the signs, since they know the county roads better than anybody. They identified key intersections to place the signs, and critical areas where roads narrow or other safety considerations exist."

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To determine the bike routes, the road and bridge department worked with data from STRAVA, a GPS cycling and running application that helped them discover the most used road bike routes on county roads.

Two hundred safety signs and traditional green bike route signs were ordered, and 111 have already been placed. Dana Wood, public health specialist with Garfield County Public Health, said her department is looking for suggestions regarding additional places for the remaining signs.

"We have already installed quite a few of the signs on roadways throughout Garfield County from Carbondale to Parachute," she said. "But, we still have about 60 of the yellow road safety signs left. If you know of a county road that needs bike signage or additional bike signage, we would like to know."

General tips for sharing the road with bikes

• Bicyclists, ride with the flow of traffic, ride single file, obey all traffic laws.

• Motorists, remember to leave at least three feet between your car and a bicyclist when passing.

• Focus. Do not use cell phones when driving, walking, or biking.

• Pedestrians, cross the street at the crosswalk and look both ways.

Contact Dana Wood at dwood@garfield-county.com, to make bicycle safety sign location recommendations.