SHARE THE ROAD?
“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.
CYCLISTS KILLED ON US ROADS