Across Philly, signs with a short and effective message have gone up along roadways and spell out the law plain and simple: Cyclists “May Use Full Lane.” And a new study, released last week, shows that these signs are a good thing. In fact, “May Use Full Lane” registers with motor vehicle drivers better than the former standard, “Share The Road” signs ever did.
“The right of bicyclists to use a full travel lane is not well-recognized by motorists or bicyclists, which contributes to safety concerns and creates social friction among them,” reads a study from North Carolina State University.
Two researchers from the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University have studied the effectiveness of the three most-used traffic control devices, as seen below, that indicate bikes may use a full lane.
The focus of the study delved into which device was comprehensible, unambiguous, precise, and “[conveyed] a clear, simple meaning.”
This stemmed from the often-seen road sign that read, “SHARE THE ROAD,” which cyclists have often said motorists interpret as “You, the cyclist, should get out of the way.”
In conducting the study, respondents were asked to evaluate “two traffic situations involving motor vehicles and a bicycle: a two-lane and a four-lane roadway.”
Their findings came to some simple conclusions.
Of the 1,824 eligible respondents, it was found that those who saw the “BICYCLE MAY USE FULL LANE” sign, they were more likely to agree that cyclists have the right to ride in the center of a lane and not pull over to allow cars to pass. The study also speculated that a combination of signs along side a road and marking on the road itself could improve driver’s knowledge of how much of a lane a cyclist can take up.
One local sign, as show below, can be found at 3rd and Wildey Street in Northern Liberties.
“Can everyone just get along? Some riders and drivers are jerks. Most of us have moments where we are less than aware of how our actions affect others. But we are all people getting from point A to B hoping to get there safe,” said Jennifer Harrison in response to a posting of one of the signs at 4th and Washington on the Coalition’s Facebook page.
“Is this a real sign or is it street art?” commented one disbelieving user on Instagram who saw a post of the Northern Liberties sign.
Yes, indeed they are real and more are due to be put up as the city works its way to developing the 13th and 15th Street Bikeways.
Simple language usually is the best means to convey a simple point but it remains to be seen how effective these signs will be at calming some hot-headed attitudes in our streets.