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Shared and exclusive bike lanes in Newport

In an effort to make it easier for cyclist to get around safely, bike lanes have been utilized in Newport. The type of symbol painted on the lane tells you exactly how the law says that lane should be used.

First, exclusive bike lanes are thinner, they're off near the shoulder, and they have a symbol of a biker with a lone arrow pointing forward. Though cars may sometimes have to cross this lane -- such as when they're turning right -- and cyclists may need to leave it if something is obstructing their path, the goal is for this lane to belong to cyclists alone.

Drivers who need to cross the bike lane are instructed to use caution to make sure they don't strike bikers, and they're never supposed to drive down it intentionally.

The second symbol is for a shared bike lane, which is a wider traffic lane. It's also typically on the right side of the road, where slower traffic is supposed to be anyway. The symbol is a bike without a person on it, and it has two arrows pointing forward.

Cars and bikes can use this lane together. For the most part, cyclists need to stay to the right, just like they would in an exclusive lane. They are allowed to move further out into traffic when necessary -- such as when turning left.

The biggest thing for drivers to remember is that cyclists do have a distinct right to the road, and this must be respected. Cyclists who are struck by cars may be able to sue for financial compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Source: Bike Newport, "Road sharing, safety and the law," accessed Oct. 13, 2016

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