“Share the Road” is meaningless

I’ve often felt that the “share the road” message has done little to make roads any safer for anyone. So it was heartening to read of a new study from North Carolina State University that looked at whether people actually understand what those signs mean.

May use full lane and Share the road signs
Courtesy of biekde.org

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Revisiting the two-way sharrows

Standard MUTCD sharrow
Standard MUTCD sharrow

Sharrows (also known as “shared lane markings”) are on-street pavement markings that are intended to remind people in cars to expect people on bikes on a street. They help to indicate bike routes, and they are useful to help people on bikes position themselves in the road.

Commercial Street, the main drag through town, is one-way for cars and two-way for bikes. It’s very narrow (about 22 feet, and narrower in places), has a narrow sidewalk of about 36″ on one side, with a parking lane next to the sidewalk for most of the street. The speed limit is typically signed 15 MPH.

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Wrong way at Herring Cove

Herring Cove - bike in house wrong side 2
What’s wrong with this picture?

Please don’t follow the advice of these pavement markings at Herring Cove beach!

These “bike in house” markings are directing people on bikes to ride directly into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of a double-yellow line. They were painted in the road just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend, one of the busiest in town.

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