Monday, March 9, 2015


“Share-the- Road” Signs, bumper stickers and  license plate messages have been promoting the idea that enhanced bicycle safety could be achieved through education and public awareness, public support for bike lanes, etc., for as long as I can remember.  As an example, we know that the push for a “Share-The-Road”Florida State Specialty license plate goes back to 1992 when the idea was born and the pressure to get the state approval grew steadily for the next eight years till, finallty, in the spring of 2000, a Florida State “Share the road” specialty license plate was available for purchase. Other states of the nation have also adopted pro cycling, pro sharing the road license plates in one form or another. In addition, Pro cycling organizations have also embraced this philosophy through campaings of their own and it is probably safe to say that, by now, after more than a decade of “Share The Road” promotions,  most cyclists support it.

Unquestionably, the “intentions” behind these efforts are honorable. We ALL want more safety for motorists and cyclists. We all want to see a reduction of injuries and death. Yet, after all these years, perhaps it is time to think about the effectiveness of the “Share The Road” movement. Has it resulted in more considerate drivers? Have the availability of more bike lanes and a plethora educational programs this movement has inspired succeeded in significantly reducing the number of cyclists that are killed on the  road?  The available statistics suggest that the Share The Road philosophy has not succeeded. The chart below shows the number of cyclists killed each year on US roads since the year 2000.  It does not take long to see that in spite of all the Share The Road “propaganda”, when bicycles and cars meet on the road, the cyclists get killed at the same rate as they did long ago. It is as if bike lanes, education and well meaning “Share The Road” thoughts have not made any difference.


2000    689
2001    739
2002    663
2003    626
2004    722
2005    784
2006    769
2007    699
2008    716
2009    628
2010    621
2011    680
2012    730
2013    741

 Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I believe that this insanity definition is very applicable to those of us who continue to be cheer leaders for the Share the Road campaign. It is time to recognize that our efforts to promote safety should focus on promoting other solutions. Instead of “sharing the roads”, let us ask our representatives for more BIKE PATHS!  Let’s also ask that existing bike lanes have a physical barrier between cars and bicycles. Yes, it is expensive but one should consider the savings of improved safety and the potential revenue opportunities of a cycling friendly nation.  Yes, it will take a lot of effort and yes, your taxes will go up but here is a chance to do something that could actually work instead of settling for solutions that make us feel good but do nothing to improve safety for cyclists.


  1. The number of deaths has stayed the same but the number of cyclists has increased a great deal. Something is working.

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  3. My article was not intended as a full blown study. For example, it does not list the number of injured cyclists and also does not point out that the number of motorists has also increased. As to the stats from the, by their own admission, they are based on estimates from surveys and are subject to significant errors. My main point is that there are alternatives that actually work better than a painted line on a busy road. These alternatives cost money and they won't happen until we are willing to pay for it. Education can help increase awareness and help the public understand the value of these alternatives. But education won't be effective to reduce carelessness . The last point is debatable but I am very skeptical so it would take a ton of solid evidence to convince me that education cures carelessness! Sadlly, cycling is not valued in the US as much is it appears to be valued elsewhere and it does seem that we live in a "me first", "the devil made me do it" society where so many people try to avoid personal responsibility.