More on Share the Road

Happy Presidents’ Day everybody.

Thanks so much for the feedback on my proposal to abandon the Share the Road message. The Spokesmen also talked about this on last Saturday’s podcast (and please go listen — they do a good job discussing several different issues).

To clarify, I share the road where appropriate. I prefer wide lanes. I enjoy well designed paths. But there are situations where the road is simply too narrow to share.

And in my part of California, those roads are exactly where communities often install “Share the Road” signs. Last Friday, I mentioned two populations with different views on “Share the Road” signs — cyclists and drivers. How about a third population: traffic engineers? To them, perhaps “Share the Road” means “This road is too narrow to share.”

This (non standard) “Be Courteous Share the Road” sign, for example, is a couple of hundred yards from my home. It depicts a car sharing space alongside a bicycle but is posted on a lane that is too narrow for safe sharing.

Share the Road sign

Steve Magas the Ohio Bike Lawyer also discussed his views on Share the Road signs last September.


  1. The other interesting traffic engineer concept is that yellow/orange tilted square signs indicate hazards, yet the bike sign is often that type. Are they trying to say that a cyclist is a hazard in the road?

  2. I really like the “Bikes Use Full Lanes” signs. I think that message is most clear and gives motorists a more clear view of what is expected of THEM. When I take up the entire lane it is typically because to do otherwise would invite motorists to pass too closely.

    On my morning commute there is a four lane divided “parkway” with a 30 mph speed limit. It passes through an office park and has sporadic clusters of traffic. I would guess that every two or three minutes a cluster of four to six cars pass going the same direction. That’s pretty light traffic in my book.

    I used to stay far right, but despite having a left-hand passing lane I was continually getting buzzed and honked at. Finally I started taking the full right lane and the incidents of getting buzzed have almost vanished. I still have the occasional enlightened individual who screams at me to get on the sidewalk, but they do it from the left lane.

  3. Share the Road (STR)
    1) Sign assembly to advise drivers to watch for that particular mode of travel on the roadway.
    “W type” = Warning Color – Yellow Shape – Diamond

    2) STR message initially appears a positive – encouraging cooperation
    Upon closer, review message is ambiguous.
    Does the sign mean to cyclists the route is preferred or dangerous?
    Who shares? Motorist? Cyclist? Both?
    Share the Road critique*
    Fails to convey a clear, simple meaning
    Fails to fulfill need
    * Wayne Pien,

    3) Bicycle May Use Full Lane
    For locations where it is important to inform road users that the travel lanes are too narrow for bicyclists and motor vehicles to operate side by side.
    “R4 type” – Movement Regulation Color – Black & White

    4) BMUFL May be used on roadways where no bicycle lanes or adjacent shoulders usable by bicyclists are present and where travel lanes are too narrow for bicyclists and motor vehicles to operate side by side.*

    May be used in locations where it is important to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.*

    * NCUTCD Bicycle Tech Cmmte Recommendations, 2005

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