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Everywhere a Sign

10:55 AM EDT 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 cyclistabide by a dismount sign, though that's not to say they don't guiltriders into somewhat safer cycling habits. I certainly feelcompelled to at least slow down when passing such signs. However, thereare also plenty of riders chafing at the new signs.

A colleague ofmine, a competitive mountain rider, shared her exasperation about thesigns after a pedestrian chewed her out for not dismounting -- as a signinstructed -- near a bridge on the Mount Vernon bike trail. "The signsprobably caused -- or at least exacerbated -- the problem," she said.

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

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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