Is "Share the Road" sending the right message?

Share the Road Sign[Across the country] this is the signage of choice to alert drivers of cyclists on our roadways. This is a standard sign, approved in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. It seems innocuous, even like a good idea. But what does this sign really say? What does it mean to people who see it? Is the phrase “Share the Road” suitable for use in materials produced by bicycling advocates?

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0 thoughts on “Is "Share the Road" sending the right message?”

  1. Josh says:

    I think it does send the right message in the simplist possible way.
    It’s a reminder that the road is meant to be shared with other than automotive traffic.

    I have a “same roads, same rights, same rules” sticker on my truck, because I think it sends a similar message to drivers and cyclists alike. The roads are for everyone, and we need to share.

  2. Quinn says:

    I think it is sending the wrong message, to me me, when I see it I think .o0( lil bro ther asking his big brother to share toys), like the two (car/bike) are not equal, when infact the law says that car/bike are equal, thus the sign (subconsciously) creates confusion/anger/aingst/frustration.

  3. Rick says:

    The signs alert those who use the road to the presence of bicyclists and to the bicyclists right to be there. Any other meaning taken from them will be colored by the prejudice of the one reading it. The author provides two clear examples of this.

    I disagree that it’s uninformed motorists who say “Roads are for cars.” The motorists, and many bicyclists for that matter who feel uncomfortable and out of place riding on certain roads, are merely responding to the reality that roads are optimized for motor vehicle traffic with the accommodation and safety of bicyclists being very much an afterthought.

  4. John says:

    I think it’s a great message. I used to wonder if it might make drivers think it wasn’t for them but for us, because of the big bicycle. But upon interactions with people I’ve found that just isn’t the case. The big bicycle in the sign reminds people that cyclists are around, even subconsciously, I believe. And in heated discussions where a driver is angry at me for slowing him/her down, just mentioning that we need to share the road seems to help bring a stressful altercation to an amicable end.

  5. MikeOnBike says:

    A key problem is that “share the road” is vague. Typical road signs are much more explicit, such as “Right lane must turn right.”

    For example, if you have a narrow two-lane road with double-yellow no-passing stripes and no shoulders, what does “share the road” mean? What should the cyclist do? What should the motorist do?

  6. mikerbiker says:

    I often wonder if drivers look at it as telling bicyclists to share the road & stay out of their way. Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

  7. Cafn8 says:

    “same roads, same rights, same rules” I like that. Where can I get one of those stickers?

  8. Jeremy says:

    Unfortunately I had the displeasure of seeing a perfect example of why bikers get hit today. I’m in my car at a stop light downtown, and a bike messenger zooms between me and the other stopped cars, darts out into the intersection, and proceeds to nudge his way over a few lanes before turning into traffic in the middle of the intersection. So basically he runs a red light then makes the legitimate traffic come to a stop so he can continue to dart between a different flow of traffic.

    What’s worse is that guy would probable be the first to have a heated conversation about cars respecting bikes. When will people learn that you can’t have it both ways. You either act like a car, or you walk on the sidewalk.

    Sorry for the off topic rant, but “same roads, same rights, same rules” made me think of that.

  9. david p. says:

    A key problem is that “share the road” is vague

    I agree with mike. it is vague. and some motorists could read it as “share the road with me… ie, don’t take up the lane.”

    i like the signs up in SF… “allowed full use of lane”… those signs are great.

  10. Jett says:

    mikerbiker, I have had motorists yell this when we had taken a lane too narrow for the motorist to pass.

    I like signage and road markings for one reason: it is recognition that the route is used by cyclists and helps congregate cyclists on that route. As the author mentions, it’s the proliferation of cyclists that makes routes safer.

  11. burnsey says:

    In the western area of North Carolina, I see these signs in areas where there tends to be a lot of bike traffic, or heavily traveled recreational bike loops. I believe they may help serve as a reminder, but the same people tend to drive the same roads, thus seeing bikes is common for those drivers. The signs are a good reminder.
    As Jeremy stated, I get more upset when I see a bicyclist who rides with no respect to the road. This is where we need to focus our efforts. I have come up on people riding in the left lane, at night, with no lights, and dark clothing, and of course, no helmet. No wonder motorist get angry. I have also been waiting in line at a traffic light and witnessed similar situations to what Jeremy described. I was angry, so you can imagine the motorist reaction.

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