Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thoughts on Share The Road Signs

Cycling blogs are buzzing a bit about a recent repost on Urban Velo of an essay by Patty Vinyard of the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation. The essay discusses the existence and purpose of the "Share the Road" signs that are usually posted underneath a diamond sign with a silhouette of a bicycle. I used to be happy to see these signs posted, it seemed to me to indicate that there was at least some tacit interest in remind drivers and cyclists of the laws of the road. After some a recent bike ride on a bike path in which some joggers were upset to have a few cyclists shout a request to make room so that we could ride single file through their midst, they were shouting "share the road" at us. We may not have had the right of way, but they also didn't have the right to using the entire path. Points out that not everyone thinks that share means the same thing.

Some of the commentary has focused on the use of a "warning" type sign to indicate this law when perhaps a different choice would more appropriately convey the message. Instead of indicating "warning, there are cyclists in the area", the signage should not be lumped with other warnings like slippery when wet, bridge freezes before road, etc.

I think the best solution personally would be to remind all parties that the law says that a cyclist is entitled to use the entire lane of travel, and is not required to get out of the way of an automobile. One commenter at CommuteByBike pointed at there is such a sign in use in San Francisco which reads "allowed full use of lane."