Let’s hear it for unambiguous signage!
From an article in the San Fransisco Examiner:
SAN CARLOS – Margaret Pye remembers the honking, shouting and tailgating she endured while commuting home.
The bicyclist grew tiresome of the treatment she received from drivers in San Carlos, and fought for equal access to the roads by lobbying city leaders for a unique kind of sign.
Instead of “share the road” signs, which Pye said are ineffective, the city recently installed “change lanes to pass” signs on the two-lane portion of Brittan Avenue that links El Camino Real to U.S. Highway 101. It notifies drivers that bicyclists have full access to a car lane: if drivers want to speed past them, they must switch lanes.
Once the sign went up this summer, the honking quickly stopped, she said.
“I believe the motorists understand and do what they’re supposed to do,” Pye said. “I think it’s been a significant difference.”
Personally, I rarely get honked at for using a full lane, but there are some roads where motorists are more territorial than others. And they are certainly less tolerant in dense traffic (despite the fact that it is the other motorists who are causing their delay). I think this sign and the white one which says “Bikes May Use Full Lane” are a step in the right direction. They are certainly more meaningful than the “Share the Road” sign which is an ambiguous message that seems to get turned around on us—as if it’s our obligation to let motorists squeeze past.
Perhaps if more cyclists recognized their right to the full use of the lane, they’d see how easy and enjoyable it is to command their space and control their environment. And then they might begin to see what a hoax bike lanes are. Why would you want 4 feet when you can have 10? Why would you want a limited rat maze of gutter lanes when you can have the entire transportation grid of surface streets? Why spend $1.5 million per mile for marginalization, limitation, dependency, reduced passing clearance and a decrease in safety at intersections, when a far cheaper investment in educating the public about the rights and duties of bicyclists would would make our lives so much better?
If we have the resources for segregation, we have the resources for education. It’s simply a matter of priority. Do we SOLVE the problem or cater to it?
“If American bicycle advocacy leaders had championed the civil rights movement, the “Dream” would have been reserved seating in the back of the bus.”
– Jack R. Taylor
Cycling advocates should work toward a world where bicyclists are expected, accepted, and respected users of the public roads. Let’s work for a world where no signs are necessary to inform road users of our right to use the road. Roads are for people. Every lane is a bike lane. Never settle for less and don’t tolerate “bike advocates” who waste time and resources to move you from the full lane (to which you are already entitled) to a gutter lane… or worse.