Friday, October 14, 2011

Stop Ahead or Ahead Stop?

Am I the only one who doesn't read these signs the way they were intended?

As with most signage painted on the road or bike path, you should read it in order as the words appear, ie. STOP AHEAD. My brain doesn't work that way, though. Since I was a little kid, learning to formulate the simple vocabulary in Dick, Jane, and Spot (that dates me), I read from left to right and from top to bottom. No amount of pedaling or driving can force me to interpret it otherwise. Fortunately, this simple message can be understood either way.

But only a mile later on the same path, I came across this:

In this instance, reading it from top down, it makes sense - KEEP RIGHT. This works for me. But, if you read it as with most signs, it should be translated as RIGHT KEEP, which is a bit baffling though certainly  acceptable. Either way, I wish there was more consistency.

Automobile drivers blazing at 60 m.p.h. might decipher words better as they appear on the asphalt, and the signs are spaced accordingly. Cyclists, however, are riding at a much slower pace and might benefit from more readable messages (at least the way I understand them). It would also aid children as they learn to read and negotiate bike paths.

Egads, what to do when confronted with this?

I couldn't resist this photo, found on the Internet.
I am so confused. (It's a good thing I wear a helmet.)


  1. Goodness, it's an issue I've never even considered. I now have a sinking feeling that, having read this post, I am going to be analysing every bit of white paint I see on the tarmac through new eyes. Thanks Annie! :D

  2. That's quite interesting and funny at the same time. I tend to read from top to bottom. But stop ahead makes a lot more sense to me then ahead stop.

  3. Hey BB. Tell me what goes on in Australia for road markings. I'm curious. It's alway bugged me that here they post signage backwards in my POV on the bike lanes. I think it's holdover from when the regular road crew marks the auto lanes. That's all I can figure out. Or that I'm a bit quirky...


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