Prediction: “Share the Road” signs coming, but will county do its share?

A prediction:

“Share the Road” signs will begin showing up on Linn County roads in 2010.

They will be funded, in part, by cyclists.

Share the Road 003dThat’s who paid for STR signage in Buchanan County and Madison County, according to Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.

Hawkeye Bicycle Association members endorsed the idea at the group’s annual meeting recently. How much HBA, other cycling groups and individual contributors will kick in remains to be seen, but at $250 per installation don’t expect lots and lots of signs right away.

It’s a nice gesture.

However…

This is a serious public safety and public infrastructure issue, and cyclists should not be expected to shoulder all the costs. The “share the road” message is for everyone who uses our roadways, and everyone will benefit from improved safety and more courteous behavior by all. That includes motorists as well as bicycle club members and cyclists who don’t belong to a club.

The City of Cedar Rapids doesn’t expect cyclists and bicycle clubs to pay for similar signage that will sprout along city streets, or for sharrows that have already begun appearing on the pavement to indicate that lanes are to be shared, or for painting bike lanes on the streets. We weren’t asked to hold a raffle to raise money for putting bike carriers on buses.

That’s because city leaders recognize the importance of encouraging and accommodating cycling as part of building a more vibrant, healthier, more attractive community.

Our county leaders should recognize that, too, and use public funds to install and maintain public infrastructure.

At least one cycling group has generously offered to share the cost. Linn County should do its share, too.

* * *

Say thanks to Lisa Paulos for digging into what it takes to get signage installed, and to County Engineer Steve Gannon for providing information on various possible approaches.

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2 Responses to “Prediction: “Share the Road” signs coming, but will county do its share?”


  1. 1 Frank Wilson October 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I think I support the sentiment. is there any evidence signs like these make any difference?

  2. 2 B.J. Smith October 19, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Good question, Frank. I’m not aware of anything that addresses such signs specifically but am checking.

    I look at these as just one part of an overall education/awareness effort. The message on the signs is one thing. The fact that the signs are there, when they eventually are, is another part of the message.


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