Does Sign Wording Matter?

Can the key to understanding traffic laws and regulations be a better-worded sign? Yes, at least in one instance, as a recent study proved a better-worded sign increased understanding between motorists and cyclists.

Stonehouse Signs Bicycles May Use Full Lane Sign

The study, which came from researchers from North Carolina State University, sought to evaluate the effectiveness of different traffic control devices, including “Share the Road” Signs and “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signs. According to the study’s researchers: “Concern about the safety of bicycling on roadways is frequently cited as a deterrent to increasing bicycle use in the USA. The use of effective signage along roadways might help alleviate these concerns by increasing knowledge about the rights and duties of bicyclists and motorists, ideally reducing crashes.” The study compared three different traffic control devices against unmarked roadways: “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signs, “Share the Road” Signs and Shared Lane Markings on the road. After completing a web survey to examine how well each of these devices communicated that bicyclists are allowed to ride in the center of road lanes, researchers concluded that “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signs were more consistently understood than any of the other options. Study researchers further concluded that the much-used “Share the Road” Signs should be replaced with the more effective “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signs.

So what can we learn from this study? Although the study’s researchers admit the study is “limited in scope,” the conclusion proves that sign text should be evaluated for effectiveness to help increase safety and understanding. And this can apply to a variety of situations, not just cycling in roadways. Any sign should be evaluated for clarity and to ensure the intended audience understands the intended message. To this end, Stonehouse Signs offers a variety of signs, including Traffic Signs and Safety Slogan Signs, with varying wording and layouts so you can choose the sign that will be most effective for your population or workforce. And we also offer Custom Sign Services, so if you need a sign with a specific wording or layout, we can create that for you with a quick turnaround time. Plus, we offer English-Spanish Signs and English-Spanish Tags to help clearly communicate to the growing Spanish-speaking population. Don’t take chances with safety – ensure your sign message is understood with Stonehouse Signs. 

Since its founding in 1863, Stonehouse Signs has produced high-quality visual communications solutions for various industries and the government. The company specializes in custom products for safety, information and accident prevention, and manufactures a full line of safety signs and facility signssafety tags, vinyl safety decals, and custom magnetic whiteboards designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments and demanding applications. For more information call 1-800-533-9914 or visit

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