As sharrows are being painted on streets throughout Hays, it’s a good time to remind motorists that bicyclists have equal rights to use the roadways.

What are sharrows, you might ask? Well, you’ve probably driven right over the top of dozens since painting began last week. They are the white outlines of bicycles painted in traffic lanes of designated routes around town. And when they’re in clear view right where you’re driving, it means you should expect to share the road with cyclists.

Bike Hays, the almost $850,000 network of 21 miles of designated bike paths throughout the city, is taking shape.

And while cycling enthusiasts are excited, we have heard many a grumble from non-cyclists.

This sentence is worth remembering: Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

In other words, Hays drivers need to use more caution, drive slower, and perhaps finally, refrain from diverting attention to one’s phone while on the road. The potential moving targets no longer will all be on four wheels and weigh more than a ton.

Remedial driver education aside, the Bike Hays project is a welcome addition. It has been discussed for the past 20 years, but earnestly worked on for the past two-and-a-half.

“This will improve the quality of life here in Hays,” said Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno.

The trails will connect parks, schools, city attractions, the levee running along Big Creek, even north of the interstate. The city is paying 40 percent of the total costs, while the Kansas Department of Transportation covers the rest with a Transportation Enhancement Grant.

Once complete, we look forward to current and future cyclists taking full advantage. Once built, we believe they will.

But as we see bicycles and automobiles negotiating Main Street through its one curve, we know an awareness campaign is necessary. Drivers simply aren’t used to sharing the road with non-motorized two-wheelers.

As the acclimation process takes place, we would urge everybody to err on the side of caution.

For more information about the trails, visit www.bikehays.com.

plowry@dailynews.net

Editorial by Patrick Lowry