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Flashing Sign to Alert Motorists of Bicyclists on Roadway

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Flashing Sign to Alert Motorists of Bicyclists on Roadway

Old 08-13-12, 03:34 PM
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Steele-Bike
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Flashing Sign to Alert Motorists of Bicyclists on Roadway

The 8 mile-long county road that leads from my small town over to the "big city" was slated for reconstruction starting next year, but funding for the project has been eliminated. I have discussed the poor cycling conditions with the County Supervisors, but they say nothing will be done to the road for at least 10 years. The road surface is in decent shape, but the road design is narrow (no shoulder and immediate dropoff), a lot of curves and rolling hills (envision 8 miles of hills that reduce visibility to a consistant 1/4 mile). The speed limit is 50 mph, which is a safe speed for vehicles, but since cyclists have to ride in the roadway, it is not safe for those on bikes.

I am in envisioning is a system where the cyclist can push a button at the beginning of the road, triggering a series of flashing signs along the 8 mile road alerting motorists to a cyclist - the lights would turn off after a certain amount of time. The road between the two towns does not have any paved crossroads, so any cyclist who gets on the road most likely rides the entire distance. The DOT estimates this road has a traffic count of 3000 vehicles a day and I estimate 20-30 cyclists per day. I have never seen such a system, but it seems like a practical solution. Any one seen anything like this?
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Old 08-13-12, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Steele-Bike View Post
The 8 mile-long county road that leads from my small town over to the "big city" was slated for reconstruction starting next year, but funding for the project has been eliminated. I have discussed the poor cycling conditions with the County Supervisors, but they say nothing will be done to the road for at least 10 years. The road surface is in decent shape, but the road design is narrow (no shoulder and immediate dropoff), a lot of curves and rolling hills (envision 8 miles of hills that reduce visibility to a consistant 1/4 mile). The speed limit is 50 mph, which is a safe speed for vehicles, but since cyclists have to ride in the roadway, it is not safe for those on bikes.

I am in envisioning is a system where the cyclist can push a button at the beginning of the road, triggering a series of flashing signs along the 8 mile road alerting motorists to a cyclist - the lights would turn off after a certain amount of time. The road between the two towns does not have any paved crossroads, so any cyclist who gets on the road most likely rides the entire distance. The DOT estimates this road has a traffic count of 3000 vehicles a day and I estimate 20-30 cyclists per day. I have never seen such a system, but it seems like a practical solution. Any one seen anything like this?
Yes, I have seen a very similar set up in Oregon along 101 for some tunnels and bridges. Sorry I cannot recall exactly where... although I do believe it was the northern part of the state, perhaps near Depot Bay. They had exactly what you are thinking of... a button that cyclists push, like a walk button, that turns on a signal that alerts motorists that cyclists are on the narrow road ahead... the light times out after some time.
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Old 08-13-12, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Yes, I have seen a very similar set up in Oregon along 101 for some tunnels and bridges. Sorry I cannot recall exactly where... although I do believe it was the northern part of the state, perhaps near Depot Bay. They had exactly what you are thinking of... a button that cyclists push, like a walk button, that turns on a signal that alerts motorists that cyclists are on the narrow road ahead... the light times out after some time.
There's one on a bridge near Crescent City, CA(actually sensor activated with a push-button backup) and also at the tunnel east of Mapleton, OR (between the coast and Eugene, just east of Florence, OR). However, both of these are for relatively short distances and neither seem to cause any of the motorists to behave themselves. In the OP's case, it seems like one would need some way to make sure the lights stay on for the slowest cyclists while not creating a situation where people routinely see the lights on and no cyclists.

Here's an idea: we enforce the laws regarding not driving so fast that you can't stop prior to hitting something that is beyond your field of view. There could even be some sort of licensing and fine system to eliminate the barbarians from behind the wheel.
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Old 08-13-12, 05:48 PM
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One of the County Supervisors I talked to said the Sheriff told them he didn't have the manpower to patrol our part of the county very often. So, speed control is out of the question as far as I can tell. I had also thought of the varied length of the light system as cyclists would ride between 10-15mph. Maybe there could be a button half way that the cyclist would hit again. Seems like a lot of work to stop and push a couple of buttons, but I'd be willing to do it.
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Old 08-13-12, 05:50 PM
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I had an experience recently that may relate. There is a construction zone along my commute where traffic is reduced to a single lane-no bike lane-for 1/4 mile. The city placed two A-frame signs at the start. One is a picture of a bike, the other says "share the road".

For a week I would take the lane, and proceed to get tail gated and honked at. The nexy week, I stopped and moved the signsout to the edge of the closed lane, where they were imposssible to miss. It has been several weeks, and the honkig and road rage have almist ceased.
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Old 08-13-12, 06:03 PM
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Old 08-13-12, 06:32 PM
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I ride with...
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It's about as good as I can do, other than putting a 3000 lb metal cage around me.
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Old 08-13-12, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
I had an experience recently that may relate. There is a construction zone along my commute where traffic is reduced to a single lane-no bike lane-for 1/4 mile. The city placed two A-frame signs at the start. One is a picture of a bike, the other says "share the road".

For a week I would take the lane, and proceed to get tail gated and honked at. The nexy week, I stopped and moved the signsout to the edge of the closed lane, where they were imposssible to miss. It has been several weeks, and the honking and road rage have almost ceased.
Welcome to San Diego... folks think it is a great place to bike... until you encounter the reality of folks that think they own the road.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
For a week I would take the lane, and proceed to get tail gated and honked at. The nexy week, I stopped and moved the signsout to the edge of the closed lane, where they were imposssible to miss. It has been several weeks, and the honkig and road rage have almist ceased.
That is similar to my experience, except this dealt with road sharrow markings. A new sharrow marking install on a certain roadway caused many motorist to be more cautious when passing me, then one section of the roadway had to be repaved, eliminating the markings for a couple of months. During the time that the sharrow markings were absent, motorists started making full throttle and closer passes, which only stopped when the sharrow markings were reinstalled.
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Old 08-15-12, 11:32 AM
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I like the "Road Sharing" signs we have some here in N Fl. Practicaly speaking They could just lower the speed limit. And enforce it. We all drive thru areas which are for on reason or the other there's lower speed.
When I went back to East Texas I found roads where I used to drive 60+mph now they are shopping centers and housing and 35 MPH. Things change and so must vehicle drivers.
I can imagine how bad things must get for bikers commuting to work on foggy or hazy days.
Good Luck
Be safe
Dave.
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Old 08-15-12, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Welcome to San Diego... folks think it is a great place to bike... until you encounter the reality of folks that think they own the road.
I have ridden SD a lot. The roads are pretty tore up, and bike friendly infrastructure is pretty sparse. The drivers are good and bad, like elsewhere, and I had a frustrating experience with an overly courteous driver on Pacific Street in Oceanside.

He was following a couple of 10 mph cruisers riding in the door zone. I was following him in my cage. The road has sharrows, and when I bike this route, I take the full lane out of the door zone, as these two should have been doing. The driver refused to cross the double yellow to go around, even though there was no opposing traffic. I pulled out to the left over the double yellow line, hoping this well meaning idiot would check his six and get the hint. He never did. If he had, maybe the cruiser couple would have gotten out of the door zone.

Signs that say "Cars May Cross Centerline to Pass Bikes" have even been proposed, but sadly, I don't think they'll fly.
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