Occasionally, a Facebook post can be a call to action for others reading the post and that was the impetus for this project. A cyclist posted this video from his on-bike camera to TAB's Facebook group:
The cyclist is driving west on Monclova Road where two lanes merge into one just before the railroad crossing (you'll find a satellite view at the end of the video). Share the Road signs generally promote "sharing" the road but in this area, the lane is less than 14' and the added hazard of the angled railroad tracks should mandate full use of the lane. Railroad tracks at a non-perpendicular angle, especially when wet, can easily bring a cyclist down. If your watch the point in the video when the cyclist crosses the track, the car passes within the travel lane and another car is oncoming. Morning dew on the rail may be the tipping point of a terrible crash. Cyclists should consider taking the full lane in this section of Monclova Road, taking extra caution when crossing the tracks, especially in the rain.
We Are Traffic contacted the Lucas County Engineers office to make them aware of the Facebook video post, and discuss plans to make Monclova Road more bicycle friendly. While you will find bike lanes further west on Monclova, bike lanes in this section were to be developed as part of a Fallen Timbers TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) Agreement dated August 1, 2006. The agreement was made during a time of expected commercial expansion in the Fallen Timbers area. To date, there are no concrete plans for this development to trigger the bike lane construction. With the growth of cyclists using this corridor and greater awareness of safety issues in this area on Monclova Road, Lucas County will re-evaluate this section of Monclova Road for a public improvement project.
Roadway projects can take a long time to bring to fruition. As we work to promote better facilities in this area, We Are Traffic suggested a change from the "Share the Road" signs to "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs in this area on Monclova Road. BMUFL signs are regulatory and need jurisdictional approval, in this case the Lucas County Commissioners. CLICK HERE to read the signed resolution, authorizing the placement of the BMUFL signage on September 27, 2016. The new signs were placed in early October of 2016.
Cyclists should each consider all available information, along with their experience, when deciding the proper position to ride in the roadway. The BMUFL signage will help remind cyclist of their right to use the full lane, and to educate motorists about the law.
UPDATE: After publishing this article, I received the following comments from Julian Avery, the cyclist in the video:
"I have not had any issues with this area (since the signs were installed). I now feel comfortable taking the entire lane since their is a friendly reminder to motorists that I have that legal right. The majority of my run-ins with drivers are due to them not being aware of the laws. They often yell to get on a sidewalk or get on the side. With signs communicating my right to use the entire lane, I'm much more confident that these types of situations will not be as frequent and allow other cyclist to feel comfortable using the full lane when warranted."
This is why BMUFL signs are more effective than Share the Road signs, they are easier to understand and better educate motorists and cyclists alike. If you know of an area that BMUFL signs would improve safety, please get in touch with us.