In the US, the State of Delaware’s Department of Transportation has effective from November 2013 determined to stop using signs which ask users to “Share the Road.” I have used the phrase “Share the Road” myself but have now formed the view along the lines argued by Bike Delaware that this is not a constructive view to adopt.
We do not ask motorist to “share the road” with fellow motorists, we do not ask car drivers to share the roads with trucks, with buses and so on. We do not ask pedestrians to share the roads either. Why should we treat cyclists who are simply operating human-powered vehicles any differently? Why should cyclists be asking motorists to share the road? We shouldn’t be.
It is not a motorists road, it is a public road open to proper and lawful use by all vehicles, whether they are motorised or human-powered. It not a matter of sharing, it is a matter of simply driving (and riding) in a lawful and courteous manner; it is simply a matter of not using your vehicle as a weapon to intimidate, to threaten or worse injury or kill other road users irrespective of their choice of vehicle.
It should be about understanding that some users, that is cyclists and pedestrians are less protected (they don’t have safety roll cages, air bags, seat belts etc) and hence you need to be more careful and considerate around them.
It is not about cyclists earning your respect, heck I doubt I know any of the motorist that pass on my on my rides. How am I to earn their respect? Why should I? Do they have to earn mine? Do they have earn mine when I drive my car? No, so lets stop that rubbish … it is not our responsibility to “punish” other road users simply because of their choice of vehicle or because of our views that every xyz road user using a bicycle is a law-breaker because they are not.
So please lets remember that cyclists are legitimate road users, they can use the full lane in most circumstances, the do not have to hug the kerb and frankly shouldn’t do so as it is dangerous, simply because it encourages dangerous passing and finally a road shoulder is not a bike lane. A bike lane has to be signed as per the Road Traffic Regulation 2000.
Please be considerate, please be safe, please let everyone get about their daily business on our roads without fear, without intimidation, without injury and most importantly off all without dying. A few seconds, yes it is a few seconds if that sometimes when by chance you are “held up” by a cyclist (think about the amount of time the next red light holds you up) are not worth the angst you feel you need to dish out on a cyclist.