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People seem to be confused when they see the words “share” not just around here, but everywhere. Which is why “share the road” signs are often less helpful than you might think. I think the Boston interpretation of those signs is something like “everyone else get out of the way!”
It’s gotten so bad that at least one state has stopped using them all together.
Comprehension of the familiar “Share the Road” signage as a statement of bicyclists’ roadway rights has been challenged, based on arguments that it is ambiguous, imprecise, frequently misinterpreted, and not designed for that purpose…In fact, the US state of Delaware discontinued use of the “Share the Road” plaque in November, 2013.”
– From “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety, North Carolina State University, August 28, 2015
In November of 2013, Delaware formally discontinued the use of the “Share The Road” sign, the first (and so far still the only) U.S. state to do so. The sign was interpreted in diametrically opposite ways by cyclists and motorists and failed to prevent conflict and hostility between motorists and cyclists. Arguably, the sign may actually have been causing conflict.
The authors of the new study – both NCSU faculty – surveyed nearly 2,000 people and found that there was “no statistically significant difference in responses between those who saw ‘Share the Road’ signage and those who saw no signage” whatsoever in terms of their comprehension that cyclists are permitted in the center of the travel lane; that cyclists do not have to move right to allow motorists to pass within the same lane; or that motorists should wait for a break in traffic before passing in the adjacent lane.
In sharp contrast to the complete uselessness of “Share The Road”, survey respondents who were shown the “Bicycle May Use Full Lane” sign showed uniformly high understanding of permissible cyclist lane positioning and appropriate safe passing behavior for motorists.
Which was why I was so happy to see this gem in Somerville yesterday:
It’s a little hard to see, but the giant blinking sign reads:
“IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT!”
“CYCLISTS MAY USE THE FULL LANE”
“ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, IT’S THE LAW”
This is the same intersection that recently got new bike boxes (which still sadly are not working all that well, drivers are ignoring the signs)
What also makes this sign so useful is that this particular stretch of road is just too narrow to safely “share” you have to take the whole lane or you will be squished. This road is so narrow that a bus and a car can’t pass going opposite directions if there is a parked car. It’s so narrow that a bus can’t fit in it’s own lane, even if there is no parked cars…so the sign is a good reminder to asshole drivers that cyclists need to take the whole lane, because otherwise they would get hit.
(There is also a cop who likes to hang around this intersection, he will give you a ticket for running this red light on your bike, but he is really nice guy, if you don’t sass him he will give you a warning, also don’t run red lights on your bike)
Tags: bike sign, somerville, union square, use the whole lane
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
So far…lets just say that the motorists and cyclists have not been understanding how to use them.
There were two giant open boxes here, and a million cyclists crammed into the bike lane to my right. As soon as some cars pulled up we got this.
Perhaps with more use they will get the idea, but personally I would have liked to see some targeted enforcement by police officers for the first couple of days, no tickets needed, just giving them a chat and showing them that Somerville is serious about the bike boxes.
Also as a side note, see the nice textured green stuff they painted the bike boxes with, its not slick in the rain, and it doesn’t reflect light. However the paint the city laid down over the existing bike lanes is neither textured, and it does shine very brightly in the sun blinding you in the morning and evening. More of this bumpy green stuff, less of the slightly blue reflector paint please.
Tags: bike boxes, new, somerville, union square
Posted in Commuting, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
An interesting proposal for improving the streets of Somerville. From the email.
Dear Somerville Cyclists,
Somerville has approved a Neighborways program. Neighborways use paint and planters to create a hybrid playground/bike/ walk street. While City approved, funding and implementation is completely up to we-the-people. We hope to execute a substantial pilot in the next three weeks (before Labor Day). Our first big event is an amazing street painting this Saturday. We could really use some help this weekend and beyond:
Painters! If you’ve done any house painting and know how wield a brush we could use you. If you have experience painting murals, we will worship the ground you walk on (maybe can drum up a stipend for a muralist if you know one). Our first mural will hopefully be painted this Saturday (weather permitting).
Neighborhorways porch-presenters. Our model is to get everyone on our blocks involved. Lots of beers on porches. I need someone to hang with neighbors for an hour or so and talk up the benefits of Neighborways.
Midnight painting crew– have you ever seen people painting the bike lanes in the middle of the night? We’ll be doing that! If you don’t mind being up late, please join us for some serious tactical urbanism.
As I mentioned this coming Saturday we’ll hopefully be painting a mural. There’s a myriad of small things that would help out if your free– organizing music, buying food (we’ll provide cash for that), helping keep small kids out of the paint and setting up tables for workers, taking photographs and video footage of the event.
If you’re interested in helping, please let me know what interests you the most.
Tags: neighborways, somerville
Posted in advocacy, fun, infrastructure | No Comments »
This sounds awesome! A bike co-op where you can use the tools, and the collective information of the folks around you for a very reasonable price.
The Somerville Bike Kitchen (SBK) is a bicycle repair cooperative where members of the community can repair their own bikes, learn about about bike repair and attend bike events. The SBK located in a 190 sq. ft. space just outside of Davis Sq. The space is managed by four volunteer staff members and is open to the public and members for drop-in hours one night a week.
Presently, the space is open to the public and members from 6pm to 9pm every Tuesday evening. We are just getting started and are working toward having having more drop-in hours. Bike stands and tools are available on a first come first serve basis.
Tags: bike, bike kitchen, co-op, somerville
Posted in advocacy, Bike Business, crafts | No Comments »
Somerville has been doing a lot of work to make the old nasty broadway, into a nice street. They took out a lane, put in a divider, added larger sidewalks, and now have laid down what appear to be double buffer zone bike lanes. Sadly the drivers still have not quite learned what to do with them. But once the bike symbols are down, and they are used more I think they will come around. (sorry for the poor quality pics, it was late at night)
Tags: Bike Lanes, broadway, double buffer, somerville
Posted in infrastructure | No Comments »
A contest where cities compete to be the most friendly is one in which we all win. And Somerville has edged out “traditional” bike friendly Cambridge for the top spot this year.
Somerville is the top bike commuting city in the Northeast, according to an annual report from the League of American Bicyclists.
Somerville beat out its neighbor, Cambridge, and New Haven, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to capture the title. The study ranked cities by calculating the percentage of commuters who ride bikes, using 2012 American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau.
In Somerville, 7.77 percent of commuters regularly ride bikes. Right behind them, in Cambridge about 6.49 percent of commuters travel regularly by bike.
Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said he was excited, but not surprised, by the ranking: The city has invested in bike lanes and infrastructure for years. “This is not by accident,” he said.
Hayes Morrison, Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, said there’s even more on the horizon for cyclists in Somerville. Adding to the city’s 14 miles of bike lanes, 6 miles of bike paths, and 25 miles of shared roads marked for bicycle travel, the city will soon break ground on its first cycle track — a protected bike lane.
Cambridge is also gearing up to further improve biking in the city.
“Every time we redo a street, we try to make it better for walking and biking,” said Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager. (via)
Awesome! I saw that they are putting in more bike lanes on Broadway and narrowing the street with a center divider and curb extensions. All in all a great idea to turn that nasty highway like section of Broadway into a livable walk-able community. Once they get that overpass tore down in union and put in the new green line station Somerville will be THE place to ride your bike.
Tags: awesome, somerville, top biking city
Posted in Commuting, infrastructure, news | 2 Comments »
A whole bunch of bike lanes in Somerville are getting painted green. I am not totally sure how I feel about this, but they do seem to be more visible.
Tags: green bike lanes, somerville
Posted in infrastructure | 7 Comments »
Bikes not bombs is awesome, and Flatbread pizza isn’t half bad, put the two together and wham lovely fundraiser for a lovely cause:
Join Bikes Not Bombs for a night of pizza, a raffle & bowling at Flatbread Somerville! Flatbread has generously offered to donate a portion of each flatbread sold (dine-in & take-out) to BNB.
The event will be from 5-10pm at Flatbread Somerville at 45 Day St. Somerville, MA 02144. The Bikes Not Bombs staff will be riding over from the BNB Hub (284 Amory St. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130) at 4pm if you would like to join!
See you there!
FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/
Bikes Not Bombs: https://bikesnotbombs.org
Tags: bikes not bombs, flatbread, somerville
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »