Steamboat Springs People traveling a few Routt County roads this summer could find themselves momentarily fooled into thinking Burma Shave signs are making a comeback.
But it’s not what it appears to be. The Routt County Road and Bridge Department along with its multi-modal travel advisory group and Routt County Riders have turned to roadside signs to raise cyclists’ awareness. They want to point out when riders are approaching a stretch of road where motorists may not be able to see them until they are nearly on top of them.
"I think it is much the same as not riding on muddy trails for the mountain bike community. Riding single file is a common courtesy to other users of the particular location we ride,” Routt County Riders Board Secretary Matt Roberts wrote in an email. "When cyclists ride two or three abreast on narrow roads, it's a safety issue and can create tensions between cyclists and motorists. We hope the signs will remind cyclists that riding single file is the safe thing to do.”
Cyclists and motorist are apt to see a series of three signs as they approach a tight spot in the road, much like the old Burma Shave signs that dotted American highways from 1925 into the '60s.
Routt County Riders President Paul Matheny said Steve Williams, of the multi-modal group, and cycling event organizer Core Piscopo adapted the message signs from an initiative in the state of Oregon.
“The point is at Routt County Riders we are very clear among ourselves we’re not any kind of enforcement organization and don’t want to just harp at our 300 members. This is a visible way to show motorists and the public that RCR is doing something,” Matheny said.
Burma Shave was a shaving cream that utilized a clever promotional concept involving a series of small road signs, each containing a couple of words in a sentence culminating in the product name: “Every shaver / Now can snore / Six more minutes / Than before / By using / Burma-Shave,” for example.
Or, “Train approaching / Whistle squealing / Stop / Avoid that run-down feeling / Burma-Shave.”
Burma Shave had 600 sets of messages.
The new Road and Bridge campaign employs a slightly less clever, but similar concept involving a series of white signs with black letters.
“The bicycle version says, ‘Blind curve, no shoulder, ride safely,’” Hruby said.
Expect different versions of the cycling signs for different situations.
Hruby said that in Colorado it is legal for bicyclists to ride two abreast until a car approaches from behind.
Bicycle Colorado paraphrases state law with regard to two riders pedaling abreast of each other this way at its Web page: “Two bicyclists may ride side by side when doing so does not impede vehicle traffic. Ride single file to allow vehicles to pass. When you’re riding curving canyon roads without bike lanes or shoulders, play it safe and ride single file.”
The county will test the program on Routt County Roads 129, 33, 14 and 27, Hruby said.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1