Here’s an image of a “Share the Road” sign that Evanston city staff has developed. They hope, after presenting it at tonight’s Transportation and Parking Committee meeting, to eventually use on signs around town.

Does it say “Bikes and pedestrians yield to cars”? or “Cars yield to bikes and pedestrians; bikes yield to pedestrians”?


It’s meant to say the latter, of course, but given normal English word order and the sign’s wimpy little arrows, we bet a lot of drivers would  take it to mean the former.

The concept for the sign seems to have been adapted from signs like this on the American Trails website that you may have encountered on a hiking trail or other low-speed environments where cars aren’t allowed and users presumably have more time to figure out what the sign means. And notice the much bolder arrows on the trail sign.

Honolulu has tried this version, losing the horse and adding the car, in conjunction with a protected bike lane project.

But sometimes, to be clear, a sign needs to keep its message simple. The whole message might take two signs.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. LOL!  It’s getting quite

    LOL!  It’s getting quite ridiculous isn’t it.  I was in highland park recently on a 2 lane road with zero room for an actual bike lane.  But they just wasted time and money painting the big bike line type indicators basically in the middle of the road along the entire thing.  I crack up as what do they think, if those paint signs on the road where not there I would not know any better if approaching a bicycle and run them over.  I also get a kick out of the red flags at the crosswalks down by the beach.  How about pedestrians just use common sense like we did back in the old days and just look both ways before crossing and pay attention and use normal judgement.  If someone doesn’t see a large human being crossing in front of them I don’t think the little red flag (seems non reflective also) is going to mean much.  Plus what if they all end up on one side like I see, do people not feel safe crossing and have to wait for someone to come across using the flags.  Life is funny!

    1. How about drivers just obey
      How about drivers just obey the law and stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are present.

  2. Watch Out Pedestrians!

    What it means to me, at a first, quick glance, is: Bikes and people must yield to cars. Only after studying the graphic for 20 or 30 seconds does it become apparent that it means something altogether different. In addition to be confusing, this is a waste of money and further degrades our environment with yet more useless signage. 

    1. If a sign is needed …

      If a sign is needed, the triangle needs to be flipped so that cars is at the “top” of the pyramid. the sign should read: Cars yield to bikes and pedestrians. If the audience is drivers of cars, then all that’s needed is Yield [arrow pointing down and to the right] Bikes {image} and to [arrow point down and right] Pedestrian [image]

      1. it also includes bikes

        it also includes bikes yielding to pedestrians.  But a bike on the road follows the same rules as vehicles.  

  3. The problem is the sign does

    The problem is the sign does not reflect Illinois law.  Cars do NOT yield to bicycles.  Bicycles must follow Illinois traffic law just like other vehicles,  which means sometimes the bicycle must yield.

    1. Unfortunately very few bikers

      Unfortunately very few bikers in Evanston seem to realize that they are driving vehicles, and must obey stop signs, traffic lights, right of way rules etc…

  4. Does the city council live in the real world??
    Besides there already being way too many ridiculous signs in this town, didn’t the city just say a couple months ago that there is a $4.3 million revenue shortfall. Why is this silly idea even being entertained?
    Also if a driver can’t see a bicyclist and runs them over I doubt very much that same driver will see this crazy sign.

    1. Cars, bikes, people…

      If it takes as long to read the sign as it seems, there will be many accidents with bikes and pedestrians being hurt. This sign is a mess. And so, by the way are the streets with the crazy bike riders who completely disregard the rules of the road, and the pedestrians who seem to think that their text messages or calls are so very important that signs, lights, and other people do not exist – or even belong – in their world. Then there are the drivers who either stop at every “stop for pedestrians” sign despite the absence of any human being within blocks, or nearly run down anything or anybody in the walkway.  Otherwise this is a “great” sign.

  5. Typical Government !

    They probably paid some high cost consultant for this and just acceped what he gave them. I doubt drivers will pull over until they decode the sign.

    The city does not even enforce the “No Bike Riding” on downtown sidewalks [as any pedestrian can testify] or car Stop and Speed signs on streets or laws about turn signals—if they did fines for violations on Orrington to Sheridan from Lincoln to Emerson would balance the city budget.

  6. You can’t fix stupid

    Just today a bicyclist blew through a stop sign just as I was turning in his direction. He never stopped, waved or anything. He didn’t even look at me.  He acted as if he had the right of way. A little later, a middle aged jogger running in the street ran out in front of me but stopped in time after I beeped my horn and slammed on my brakes. 

    These signs won’t do anything. If police start handing out tickets every time they see a bicyclist failing to stop at stop signs or red lights more people might get the message. 

  7. Information Overload

    It is not tough to look around our city and realize it is not just cell phones that distract drivers. Between directional, warning, informational, and vanity signage I wonder when the first driver will claim an accident was caused by trying to absorb all the information thrown at them.  When in doubt, make a sign. How will such a confused sign as this make our lives safer? 

  8. Humor is better
    Perhaps we put a clever joke on the sign? That way people laugh. When people laugh, they get happy. Happy people obey traffic laws.

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