SPEARFISH, SD - The final phases of the Jackson Boulevard Project were completed in 2021 and include the addition of bicycle lanes from Fifth to University streets. This infrastructure provides a dedicated space on the road for bicyclists and other non-motorized road users. As the weather gets nicer, and in concurrence with National Bike to Work Week May 16-22, 2022, the City is encouraging all users to know and use best practices regarding the new bike lanes.
A bicyclist’s primary goal while riding should be to prioritize their safety. Being visible and riding predictably are two of the best ways to be safe while sharing the road with other users. The bike lanes can be a great place to ride, but there are many reasons a bicyclist may ride in the main travel lane, including debris in the bike lane, wanting to be more visible to other road users, and getting ready for a turn. As a cyclist, the steps for safely entering the traffic lane are the same you would use changing lanes in a car:
- Look over your shoulder to find a gap in traffic.
- Signal your lane change by pointing with your left arm (for left turns) or right arm (for right turns). (See image below.)
- Merge into the main traffic lane.
Below are clarifications and guidelines for navigating the new bike lanes and the roundabout.
Navigating the roundabout at Ames Street: On a bicycle, there are multiple options, and the best option will depend on the rider and their desired route.
- When proceeding straight on Jackson Boulevard or making a right onto Ames: Stay in the bike lane, reduce speeds, watch for traffic, and proceed through the roundabout. Keep in mind that when crossing Ames Street, the bike lane merges into a dual crosswalk for both cyclists and pedestrians, with cyclists on the inside and pedestrians on the outside. Although cyclists and pedestrians have the right-of-way in the crosswalk, both need to be on the lookout for traffic when crossing.
- When making a left turn onto Ames Street or entering the roundabout from Ames: Merge into the center of the traffic lane in advance of the roundabout. Once in the traffic lane, navigate the roundabout the same as a motorist. Like motorists, cyclists should yield to traffic in the roundabout, proceed through the roundabout in the center of the main traffic lane, and exit into the traffic lane on Ames Street. Like motorists, bicyclists should always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Cyclists may also navigate the roundabout as pedestrians, dismounting their bicycles and crossing at crosswalks.
At 3rd Street: The Right Turn Only Lane crosses the westbound bike lane. Vehicles turning right must yield to bikes and pedestrians crossing the intersection. Cyclists and pedestrians should be cautious, reduce speeds, and watch for traffic. Right hooks (cars turning right in front of or into bicyclists or pedestrians) are the most common type of driver/cyclist/pedestrian collision.
At University Street: The westbound bike lane turns right along with the vehicular turning lane. Cyclists wanting to continue straight up Jackson will need to safely merge into the traffic lane. Motorists should watch for cyclists wanting to merge.
At Fifth Street: The eastbound bike lane ends. Cyclists turning south should signal and turn onto Fifth. Cyclists continuing on Jackson should merge with the traffic prior to the end of the bike lane.
In closing, cyclists: Be visible, ride predictably, and prioritize your own safety over the convenience of other road users. Motorists: Reduce speeds and share the roadway, make safe and proper lane changes to pass when there is a passing lane available, yield to bicyclists when crossing the bike lane, treat cyclists as vehicles when they are in the travel lane, and expect to see bicyclists anywhere on the roadway and on any route.
Questions? Contact the City of Spearfish Public Works Department at (605) 642-1333.