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Everywhere a Sign

8:55 AM PDT on June 25, 2009

Today on the Streetsblog Network,
we ever-so-gingerly broach the issue of etiquette when pedestrians and
cyclists share the same space. Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has
proclaimed pedestrian safety a top priority, and is backing up his
words with millions in federal stimulus funds and a pedestrian master
plan. Adam Voiland at DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner has also noticed a proliferation of signs instructing cyclists to dismount in pedestrianized areas.

signman.jpgRiding prohibited signs abound in Georgetown.

Do such signs work? Rarely have I actually seen a cyclist
abide by a dismount sign, though that's not to say they don't guilt
riders into somewhat safer cycling habits. I certainly feel
compelled to at least slow down when passing such signs. However, there
are also plenty of riders chafing at the new signs.

A colleague of
mine, a competitive mountain rider, shared her exasperation about the
signs after a pedestrian chewed her out for not dismounting -- as a sign
instructed -- near a bridge on the Mount Vernon bike trail. "The signs
probably caused -- or at least exacerbated -- the problem," she said.

"We’ve become overly concerned about safety, and we’ve forgotten that
what we really need on the bike paths [is] for people to exercise good
judgment."

Voiland goes on to cite the late Hans Monderman,
who believed that traffic signs often do more harm than good. Are
common bike-ped spaces appropriate laboratories for further testing
this theory?

Also today: Tuscon Bike Lawyer describes how local police add insult, and then some, to cyclist injury; Grist admonishes the media for soft-pedaling on climate change; a guest blogger on the N Judah Chronicles extols the communal virtues of San Francisco's MUNI; and BLDG Blog argues that transit product placement is a steal.

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