David Dudley is the executive editor of CityLab. He is the former editor in chief of Urbanite magazine and a former features editor for AARP: The Magazine.
An Ohio city will replace those ineffective “Share the Road” signs with a less ambiguous alternative.
Typically, the worst part of my morning bicycle commute involves a stretch of heavily trafficked street protected by a famously useless combination of signage: painted “sharrows” on the roadway and a bright yellow diamond-shaped plea to “Share the Road.” As CityLab and many bike advocates have observed, these vague and oft-misunderstood directives aren’t worth the paint they consume. If anything, they seem to incite harrowing displays of aggression from drivers who think it gives them license to shove past bicyclists who aren’t doing their share of lane-sharing.
Now Columbus, Ohio, is joining the ranks of similarly enlightened communities across North America that are mothballing these share-please signs and replacing them with a more assertive variation: “Bikes Can Use Full Lane.” Available since 2009, these signs have proved to be a vastly more effective way to encourage drivers to maintain a safe distance from riders on narrow roads. In an interview with Columbus Underground, the city bicycle coordinator, Scott Ulrich, called the alternative phrasing “the most consistently comprehended” message for motorists. The new signs are also white rectangles (indicating proper lane usage), instead of the typical yellow diamond of warning signs. “We believe it is more appropriate to treat bicyclists less like potential hazards and more like the legal road users that they are, and to remind other road users of that fact,” Ulrich said.
H/t Next City