West Virginia Universitys Department of Public Safety and Transportation recently launched an initiative calledShare the Roadto encourage motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to be more aware of one another.
The safety campaign is aimed at building knowledge and awareness among motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, said Bob Roberts, director.
There are certain things motorists have to be aware of, just as there are certain things bicyclists and pedestrians have to be aware ofand doin order to be safe,Roberts said.Our goal is to build safety awareness across the community.
Additionally, the department recently installed bright greenShare the Roadsigns at six locations throughout the Evansdale Campus, including all main entrances off Patteson Drive, University Avenue and Monongahela Boulevard. The diamond-shaped signs, which complement the campuss bright yellowYield to Pedestriansigns, are in bold, capitalized letters and include a picture of a bicycle.
Officials were able to placeShare the Roadsigns at these locations because they are on University property. Other roads running through campus, such as University Avenue, are managed by the city and state.
With the weather warming up, more people are using non-motorized transportation,Roberts said.We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to promote a safe environment.
Funds for the signs came from WVU Parking Management. Unit staff members Keith Pyles Jr. and Ricky Evans posted the signs. Sgt. Rich McGee assisted in properly locating the signs for maximum visibility.
The signs plant a seed in the minds of motorists that we have more people outside walking or on bicycles,McGee said.It also helps pedestrians and bicyclists to be more cautious of motorists.
McGee said state law indicates that bicyclists have as much a right to most roads as motorists. The law also outlines safety requirements bicyclists must meet to use the roads.
State codes 17C-11-5 and 17C-11-7 state that every person operating a bicycle on a roadway will ride as near to the right side as practicable and bicycles being ridden at night must have lights on the front and back.
Jim Rye, who serves in the Greater Morgantown Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Morgantown Municipal Bicycle Board, said increased signage makes it clear motorists are supposed to share roadways with bicyclists.
More folks biking and walking for transportation means fewer automobiles on the road, which, in turn, reduces traffic congestion and makes it safer for us all,said Rye, an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Literacy Studies in the College of Human Resources and Education who has commuted to work by bicycle for more than 30 years.
Rye said he hopes to see signage that alerts motorists toshare the roadwith bicyclists expand to include city and state roadways. He would also like to see designated bike lanes on roadways.
Despite its many hills, Morgantown has the potential to be a premier bike-commuting city, with the development of additional bike paths and linkages to the Rails-to-Trails system, improved signage and more, Rye added.
As part of the initiative, the department has updated its Web site to include information about bicycle commuting, security and safety, as well as pedestrian safety. The Web site is located athttp://www.wvu.edu/%7Efacserv/PublicSafetyTransInter.cfm.
For more information, contact Roberts at 304-293-3136.