CALTRANS Considering New Bike Signs

CALTRANS Is Considering Replacing the Share the Road Signs

Will new signage help make the road more safe for cyclists?  That’s the question being pondered by state officials working to replace "Share the Road" signs with more clear signage.  Cyclists have long complained that "Share the Road" was a vague statement and was often misinterpreted by drivers who believed the signs were telling cyclists that they had to share the road with cars and should move out of driving lanes to allow cars to pass.

Don’t expect to see the signs on our roads too soon.  Having been approved by several state advisory committees they now need approval from the Federal Highway Administration.  Once approved, this new signage will first be used in the City of Santa Cruz.


  • Gary K.

    I wish I could levitate over cars like that.

  • brian goldner

    these new signs look promising…sf also has signs that say “bikes are allowed to take the lane,” due to a law in SF that allows cyclists to do so. i felt very comfortable biking in sf because of that law, and i think these signs will have a similar effect

  • Tim Buchheim

    How long until they’re defaced with ET stickers on the flying bikes? :-)

  • Gary K.

    To Brian:

    Bike are allowed to take the lane when ever conditions are such that it is unsafe to be at the far right of the road throughout the state of California. This is not just an SF thing, but those signs about bikes taking the lane are very rare in most of CA, but seen in quite a few places in SF.

    Here is the California vehicle code in question and if you will notice in section 3, it describes when a bike is allowed to take the lane:

    21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

    (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

    (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

    (b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! So many morons in this state think that “Share the Road” means “Get out of my way, you communist!” This proposed sign is infinitely better.

  • Riiight. Signs. Signs will protect cyclists.

    Never mind that the CADOT’s manual for highway construction induces hig speed car travel on nearly every road the state funds or builds.

    Never mind that the mass and size of vehicles plays no part in assigning liability in crashes.

    Never mind that bicycles, pedestrians, and transit projects are uniformly denied general transportation dollars.

    Never mind that bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users are paying for free highways, free parking (both garages and zoned parking requirements) out of their pay checks.

    It’s the signs! The bloody signs we need to fix. Hah! Yeah, right.

    If they’ve got science to back this move up, then I am all for it. From what I know there are two things that make biking, walking, and using transit safer and more convenient:

    (1) fewer cars on the roads;
    (2) slower cars.

    These signs don’t look like they will do much of anything to protect anyone.

  • This is long overdue. I’ve had “Share the Road” screamed at me so many times when some jackass has just cut me off and nearly ran me over.

  • Gary K.

    I have to disagree with the sentiment that the signs will not do much to change anything. Granted there are things more important to change and this is one baby step, but signage gives drivers cues on what to do, and this provides legitimacy to bikes on the road, where as the previous signs were ambiguous. I have had to explain to countless people bikes are allowed to be on the road and even take the lane when necessary.

    Ideally the signs should not be necessary because people should know bikes can use the roads, it is the law after all, but that is sadly not the case, and the sign can be one part of educating drivers. What also needs to change is our drivers education and testing, which currently glosses over bikes briefly in the handbook and never appears on the test so why bother learning about?

    Signage matters, and I think in a general sense both for bikes and cars, LA does not do a very a good job providing clear road signage, which I find odd since southern California is the birthplace of the car centric life style.

  • I view this signage issue as a quibble over the garnish on a dinner plate: cilantro or parlsey?

    It doesn’t get to the meat of the matter. There is a fully striped bike lane on Venice Blvd. – but cars drive by cyclists going 45 to 50 mph – that is a stupid situation.

    I’ll agree that signs have a role to play, but that they entirely miss the mark when it comes to addressing what is broken about how we plan our roadways.

  • Gary K.

    Restructuring existing roadways takes lots of cash, and replacing a few signs here and there not as much. Granted what we really need is an overhaul, but the signs are a small step that can be realistically addressed within current budgets.

    Securing money and support for say overhauling Venice Blvd. is an enormous project outside the budget and would require a lot of support. I like to be idealistic, but I don’t think an all or nothing approach is going to work. Basically I’m saying lets not stop all the little things that can be done now while we wait for the entire paradigm to flip over.

    I’m all in support of a total change to the system and agree with your sentiment though. In my ideal future nearly all commutes in the city are made by a bikes and a fast efficient public transit system.

  • I disagree with the conclusion that it takes a lot of cash to “overhaul” Venice Blvd.

    Making things safer for bicycles and pedestrians really can be cheap – paint out car lanes, install plastic bollards with reflectors and trees in large planters to create virtual neck-downs and chicanes at desirable locations.

    It is political will that decided to turn every street in L.A. into a car-only route. The money ain’t the problem.

    This sign stuff really does not seem like an improvement in the situation. It is like fighting to place a small bush around the perimeter of a strip mall – the whole thing is designed for cars, and a little band-aid like a bright sign won’t do much to fix the situation.

    I don’t want to belittle the hard work that went into this project. I’m in a bit of a negative mood, and this really strikes me as not much of an improvement.

  • i think these will make an incremental difference for the better.

    the signage could be a little clearer.

  • Got Traffic

    Do you really think these new signs will make a difference? NNNOOOO.

  • The signs will ONLY work (and I definitely think more signs is better than no signs) if there is a complete and radical shift in motorist’s perspective.

    CLEARLY the larger issue is of attitude and awareness. Drivers assert not only the right to the road, but the right to injure cyclists on the road.

    Signs seem like a garnish now, but in a civilized city where cyclists are included in the traffic infrastructure they can be quite helpful, useful and good.

    Got a long ways to go L.A.

    Quite a long way.

  • These are important safety signs that I think should be made visible to traffic. I think having these safety signs is an improvement. Also, these informational signs help when vehicle to bike accidents occur because it gives the driver of the vehicle less margin to say that s/he was not informed.



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