Thanks to a successful petition drive – and a chief traffic engineer who takes a proactive approach toward bicycle and pedestrian safety – a new and unique bicycle warning sign is heading for approval.

Working with 1st State BIKES advocates, Mark Luszcz of DelDOT designed the sign that will give Delaware another first on the national stage, rolling out the words “IN LANE” in conjunction with the standard bicycle warning sign, which is a bicycle symbol on yellow sign.

According to the Federal Highway Administration and the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the bicycle warning sign by itself is used to indicate that bicycles are ahead, i.e. crossing or entering the roadway. But if you add a message in a sub-sign or plaque, or in conjunction with the symbol on the sign, it then becomes useful for whatever the conditions dictate.

Few will argue that something more is needed on non-shouldered roads with substandard-width lanes. Something like a warning sign, yet one that carries an educational message that bicyclists are legally entitled to ride in the lane of traffic.

DelDOT had considered wider use of the “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” regulatory sign. But it raised the ire of motorists and legislators, who claimed bicyclists were abusing the privilege and deliberately impeding traffic.

Under pressure, DelDOT removed the signs. A location at the bridge crossing White Clay Creek on Papermill Road in Newark is doing very well and will remain. It has not yet been determined when the first “IN LANE” warning signs will be installed, but it should be in time for spring.

Frank Warnock
1st State BIKES