Long Beach Launches Bicycle Sharrows with a 'Green Lane'

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.

The .6 miles lane runs along both sides of 2nd Street in Belmont Shore between Livingston Drive to Bay Shore Avenue. While it may appear to some that cars cannot share that green lane, that's far from the truth. "All we're doing is expressing existing laws on the street," Charlie Gandy, Long Beach's mobility coordinator, told the LA Newspaper Group.

Bicyclest and blogger Russ Roca, who received an erroneous ticket for riding on 2nd street that jump started this project just four months ago, echoes that notion, too. "I do like the sharrow/stripe treatment very much, but it must be emphasized that they do nothing to change the laws that govern the road," he wrote on his blog. "They merely show where it is safe to ride. In essence, EVERY road in the city of Long Beach should be ridden as if you had a sharrow/green stripe."

In a letter to the city, Roca goes even further in a bullet list of points because it seems drivers think cyclists will slow down traffic and that it gives the two-peddlars special treatment:

  • 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.
  • the placement of the sharrows (presumably in the middle of the lane) is where the cyclist SHOULD ride, out of the door zone.

This weekend, he rode in traffic finding that it was the cars that were slowing him down. That video is below:


Riding Long Beach Sharrows in Real Time from Russ Roca on Vimeo.