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13 Comments on "See the Signs"

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Richard C. Moeur
Um, yeah. Your typical road user will spend less than 1 second reading and interpreting a specific sign. That’s it. No leisurely pondering, no deep analysis – you’re moving along with a bunch of other people, and something else is gonna want your attention real soon. Signs can sometimes be rather useful for conveying brief messages in the presence of a condition that clearly is associated with the sign, but signs are often spectacularly unsuccessful in changing actual road user behavior – especially learned or ingrained behavior. And in general, the more-complicated the sign, the less likely it’ll have much… Read more »
Richard C. Moeur

FYI: the previous comment was written with the intent to show full agreement with the message of the posting/cartoon – apologies if it’s interpreted otherwise.

(Love all the subtle details {as always} – the “be alert for cyclists” VMS blocking the bike lane, the exegesis of the so-called “share” sign, the near-futility of mixed-message intersection control signs, and the distraction of the anti-distraction message 🙂

Zoe Morosini

Richard, you are hilarious. And spot on in your analysis. People don’t read when they’re moving… Barely at all even if they’re sitting still in traffic on their usual commute. Nowadays especially, drivers are much more interested in their phones, so even if they are reading, it’s not outside the car.

Gonzalo Camacho

Great observation 🙂 Sign pollution is rather common.


Excellent touch, putting the variable message board *in* the bike lane! I have definitely seen this in NYC. I completely agree regarding the overabundance of signage, with the lone exception of wayfinding. Those are actually pretty useful as it’s very difficult to convey that message with design cues alone.

CJ Voges

There was a song back in the ’60’s that went something like”sign, sign. everywhere a sign!

Kevin Love

That was by the Five Man Electrical Band. See:

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