|Sign at Colesville Road and Crestmoor Drive. Photo by the author.|
Many people have noticed this sign on University Boulevard and Colesville Road, as well as other roads around the county. Many of the signs are on roads that have no bike infrastructure whatsoever, and they are posted in places that are inhospitable to cyclists. These factor have caused some people to question "who would ever try this?" I had a reader bring this up in a comment a couple weeks ago, and I figured I should talk a little more about the new signs as well as other cycling related issues in Four Corners.
I recently attended an event at which Shane Farthing, who is the Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, spoke about the sign and its history. Farthing explained that the sign is officially known as R4-11. It is white sign with black text, which means it is a regulatory sign, similar to speed limit sign or a 'right turn only' sign. The sign has its genesis in a misinterpretation of "share the road" signs which have been common for many years. Many drivers thought "share the road" meant "aggressively pass within inches of cyclists without switching lanes". This practice caused may accidents in which cyclists were side swiped by passing vehicles. To remind motorists what "share the road" really means, many municipalities have begun posting R4-11 on major roads.
|Colesville Road at Southwood Avenue. This is a hazardous place to cycle on the road.|
In tomorrow's post, I'll elaborate on the bicycling situation in and around Four Corners.