Q: Should “share the road” signing be used to inform drivers of the likely presence of bicyclists and to inform them to pass bicyclists safely?
A: The SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque was introduced into the MUTCD in the context of slow-moving farm equipment with no associated mention of bicyclists. Since that time it has become prevalent in conjunction with the Bicycle (W11-1) warning sign with the intent of warning drivers of the presence of bicyclists and warning drivers to pass safely. Research has shown that the “share the road” message when applied to bicyclists does not adequately communicate the responsibilities of either user group on the roadway. Road users are unclear whether “share the road” means that drivers should give space when passing or that bicyclists should pull to the side to allow drivers to pass. Where bicyclists are expected or preferred to use the full lane, that message is more clearly communicated with the Bicycles May Use Full Lane (R4-11) sign, supplemented by shared-lane markings as appropriate. When using the Bicycle (W11-1) warning sign, many jurisdictions have phased out the use of “share the road” in favor of an IN LANE or ON ROADWAY word message plaque, more clearly indicating the condition ahead instead of giving an unclear instruction. It is still compliant with the MUTCD if a jurisdiction chooses to post a SHARE THE ROAD (W16-1P) plaque under a Bicycle (W11-1) warning sign, but it would not be the best practice.
Maryland Manual of Uniform Traffic control Devices:
Section 2C.60 SHARE THE ROAD Plaque (W16-1P)
02 A W16-1P plaque shall not be used alone. If a W16-1P plaque is used, it shall be mounted below
either a Vehicular Traffic Warning sign (see Section 2C.49) [which includes W11-1 bicycle warning sign] or a Non-Vehicular Warning sign (see Section
2C.50). The background color of the W16-1P plaque shall match the background color of the warning sign
with which it is displayed.
Do I need to say we have a law requiring "best practices" which Maryland does not?