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When Sharing isn’t Caring

August 19, 2013

Bike Delaware has asked its state department of transportation to discontinue the use of “Share the Road” signs.

As a traffic control device, motorists and cyclists interpret [Share the Road] in different, and sometimes diametrically opposed, ways. Many motorists see it as an admonition to cyclists not to ride in the center of a travel lane. Many cyclists see it as a message to motorists that, if they are riding in the center of a travel lane for one reason or another, that faster-moving motorists should cautiously and patiently maneuver around them.As a marketing campaign, the phrase’s ambiguity also invites conflicting interpretationss.

Many motorists believe that “sharing” means giving up part of something they believe is rightfully theirs while cyclists tend to think of sharing as referring to a commonly owned asset that belongs to them just as much as it does to motorists. This confusion causes motorists and cyclists to trade pointless and time-wasting accusations back and forth.

As an alternative, Bike Delaware urges DDOT to use either a basic bicycle silhouette sign or the “May Use Full Lane” sign.

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One Comment
  1. Albert permalink
    August 19, 2013 7:15 pm

    My probably “pointless and time-wasting accusation” regarding these signs has always been just to say that when a motor vehicle is using a road at all, there can be no sharing. I’m sure that many pedestrians would say the same thing about a bicycle using a road. They would be, of course, wrong.

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