EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Sharing the road, we do it every day with other cars. But new symbols popping up on local roads are serving as a reminder to share space with bicycles too.
Back in 2010 the City of Eau Claire adopted a bike and pedestrian plan to meet the needs of people around the city. Now one of the main initiatives of the plan has made its way to streets around town.
The City says Sharrows are a symbol being placed on selected streets that will make drivers and bikers more aware of each other in the future.
“I’ve been hit a couple of times. Cars have pulled out at certain intersections when they are taking a right hand turn and not realizing that I’m in the lane and they'll pull right in front of me,” bike enthusiast Kielor Eggen said.
Navigating through busy streets on two wheels can be tricky, but for Eggen the risk is worth the reward.
“Being a college student it’s great for the money on gas but I just really enjoy getting out around town,” Eggen said.
Now a new symbol is popping up on streets in town hopes to raise awareness of a shared space between bikers and drivers.
“The idea is the bike symbol indicates to the car drivers and the bikers that the space where the Sharrow symbol is placed is a shared space where bikers can expect to see cars and cars can expect to see bikers,” Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee member Bob Eierman said.
The Sharrow is a relatively new idea that cities around the United States have been adding in the past few years. Just last week the symbols were added to the new asphalt on Hamilton avenue, paving the way for more to come.
“Its part of the city's comprehensive plan so we are trying to follow that plan and make the city more accommodating to bikers,” Eierman said.
“The bike lanes are an improvement but the drivers are the next improvement too there is a lot of instances where drivers just don't know how to handle the bikers,” Eggen said.
The paint symbols do not mean any laws have changed, it's an awareness tool. If you are a driver on a road with a Sharrow you can drive through the paint. If there happens to be a bike on the road drivers can pass the biker, giving them three feet on each side of the bike.