Friday, February 20, 2009

The Tale of Two Bus Signs

Take a good look at the two very differing bus signs above. Both are espousing the same message about Florida's 3 foot passing law.

The first photo is from last years campaign here in Jacksonville. What you'll most likely notice right away are that the image graphics are presented in mirror image. I have no idea what the thought process was in displaying a scene you'll only witness if you were looking in a rearview mirror. But there it is.

The next thing that jumps out to me is the very bold "it's the law." Knowing the Jacksonville populous as well as I do, I realize that you must hit them in the face to get them to pay attention. But this signs scream is so loud and angry that it really should read, "it's the law, you bastards."

The third, and probably the thing that bothers me the most is the image showing the cyclist riding right on the white line on the road edge. Why do I find this bothersome?

Well, let's a take look at the second bus sign. It's from a recent safety campaign in the Orlando area.

Looking at the two, notice how the second pictures subject is much cleaner looking while portraying a scene you are likely to come across during your daily travels.

Also notice how much more friendly and inviting the wording and chosen fonts are. Big difference from the Jax sign.

Now for the thing thats stands out most for me on the Orlando bus sign and bothers me so much in the Jacksonville sign. Look at the cyclist road position in both. See how the Orlando sign shows how the cyclist is clearly controlling the lane by being positioned where a cars right wheels would normally be? That is where you should ride on just about every road in Jacksonville. It not is it only the safest place for you. But also your given right according to Florida state law.

Florida 316.2065 (5)(a)3
"When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a "substandard-width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane."

Why am I making such big deal about the differences in these two safety campaigns? I have written before that in order for cycling to be taken seriously as an alternative source of transportation. It must be presented, marketed and sold to the non-cycling public as such. I stated and stand by that in order to shake 60+ years of bicycles as toys and recreation marketing. We have to take every opportunity to show real people doing everyday things in everyday situations. And the Orlando bus accomplishes this. The more drivers see cyclists riding in the road and not along the edge of it. The sooner drivers will start to not only look for us there but more importantly, to accept that we have a right to be there.


Emory said...

I also like the Orlando bus shows the yellow lines in the middle of the road. The care it giving a wide berth to the bike. The other thing to remember is the cars sometimes have to slow down before they pass. Now as a bicyclist if you can give extra room I would say it is the polite thing to do.. Remember to share we were all taught this in kindergarten some people have just forgotten those lessons.

kelly said...

Dottie said...

We need those in Chicago! It's the law here, too.

Keri said...

Thanks for the compliment on the art! And for noticing all the visual messages I deliberately tried to communicate (proper lane position, crossing the double yellow—it's legal, and toning down the law admonition in favor of a safety/courtesy message).

Images with cyclists on the white line bother me too!

BTW, the art is available to anyone who would like to use it. Free. I have donated it to the cause (only stipulation is that the aforementioned elements remain fixed). Contact me via and I'll send you the files.


Bike Jax said...

Emory, Thanks for pointing out the center line. I had meant too, but somehow ended up over looking it.

Keri, I was unaware you had done the art. Great job! It's real apparent which one was designed by a cyclist and which one was done as a freebie by a non-cycling agency.