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Streetfilms: Sharrows Point the Safe Way to Bike Across Rail Tracks

1:30 PM EST on February 12, 2010

It's something even the most experienced
cyclists do: wipe out while crossing a set of train tracks. When you ride across rails, you need to maneuver your bike's angle of approach so that
you hit the tracks as perpendicularly as possible. But even knowing that,
some riders don't slow down enough to sashay properly, and newbies have no idea how the angles work until it's too
late!

In Seattle, they're trying something I've never seen before that
goes beyond the usual warning signs. The DOT is using "sharrows" and
markings to visually guide cyclists through these
crossings. Anecdotally, it seems to work well. I found it reassuring
that my path was predetermined as I approached, instead of having to
guesstimate. Stay within the lines, and all will be good.

But as John Mauro from the Cascade Bicycle Club points out, this is only an interim solution to filling in the missing link in the famous Burke-Gilman Trail. Families out cycling for the day shouldn't have to contend with
dangerous sets of tracks in the first place. Still, it's nice to see
that DOTs all across the country are getting creative and using cost
effective solutions (just a few marks with paint) to keep us a little
safer.

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