CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Road Tautology

(thanks Dan Pink)

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 10:33 am and is filed under Traffic Signs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Road Tautology”

  1. Paul Johnson Says:

    I wish USDOT would change the local bike route sign already. Most cities that employ this style of sign do not distribute a bicycle map that shows these routes highlighted, such as the one shown at http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3221/2850472824_6a3e5932d9.jpg?v=0

    My only problem with Oregon’s bicycle guidance signs like the one above, is they’re using a font size that’s two too small to be legiable by approaching cyclists without slowing down. Get stuck in a platoon of cyclists with someone towards the front trying to read the sign, and suddenly the next adjacent lane is full of cyclists who do know where they’re going trying to pass.

  2. njkayaker Says:

    As far as I can tell, the “bike route” signs are largely inexplicable.

  3. doug Says:

    Are they really inexplicable? It seems clear to me that the bike route comes in from the left and then turns to go straight, from the perspective of the the cyclist reading this sign. Thus, one could go straight or turn left and be on the “Bike Route”. Right?

  4. bikermark Says:

    There should be neighborhood roundabouts not 4 way STOPs on bike routes.

  5. Jack Says:

    These bike route signs are a waste of space, public dollars and almost as silly as “stop means stop”. Limiting the “advised” routes is just another way the car culture dictates the rights of cyclists.

  6. wes kirkman Says:

    Is the stop means stop sign meant for the cyclist?

    I agree: bike route signs are worthless. Bike routes adopted by jurisdictions, however, are not. In theory, an adopted bike route would mean this is the best route for cyclists to take given existing destinations, environmental factors such as topography, and infrastructure. Unfortunately, the AASHTO/MUTCD Engineers slap some signs on the routes and call it a day, rather than actually putting in infrastructure improvements.

    A sign dost not make a pleasurable/safe bike route…

  7. townmouse Says:

    @Bikermark – Coming from the land of roundabouts (the UK), I’m not sure they’re any better on a bike route than a four way stop. Little roundabouts are fine, but big ones are quite complicated for a bike to negotiate and pretty much all of my near miss/SMIDSY experiences on my bike have been on roundabouts.

  8. DoctorJay Says:

    Are there places where “stop” doesn’t mean “stop”? Most people I see who don’t stop at stop signs aren’t mistaken about what it means. They just don’t give a damn.

  9. fred_dot_u Says:

    red traffic lights don’t seem to mean much either.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3-awI8FOvU

    I recorded this from my helmet camera while on my self-balancing unicycle on an errand. no stopping before turning right on red, blocking the crosswalk, running a red light (2 cars), and it was the same intersection in an out-and-back trip.

  10. Richard C. Moeur Says:

    I’ll have to agree that the standard D11-1 BIKE ROUTE sign is rather “content-deprived” – especially in the way it’s typically installed & used.

    Fortunately, there are improved signs coming very soon* that provide useful guidance – in fact, some cities are already installing these.

    Take a look at Section 9B-20 & Figure 9B-4 at:
    http://www.trafficsign.us/npa/part09compl.pdf

    *FHWA has indicated that a new edition of the MUTCD (containing these signs) will be coming out around the beginning of 2010 – either that, or it’ll go back for another round of public comment. We’ll find out in the next month or so.

  11. j Says:

    These bike route signs (at least as I’ve seen them deployed) are useless, if you’re riding a bike, trying to follow them. Of course, I do live in New Jersey, where signage is horrible anyway. This is also true, though, in New York State, where signage (for cars) is generally pretty good. I think states, counties, and local municipalities must get grants to put them up (or they’re required to, under the terms of funding they receive), so they put them up, but without any serious attempt to make them meaningful.

  12. j Says:

    [after looking at the signage pdf]

    Great, for jurisdictions that observe such standards. New Jersey is not such a place.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

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