In NYC (and possibly other places), why are the words "Fire Lane" painted "backwards" on the street?
of what I'm talking about. Here's another
. When I look at this painted on the street, I read, "Lane Fire."
I understand that the idea is that since you're driving towards it, first you come upon the word "fire," and then you come upon the word "lane," hence, "fire lane." However, to my eye, the two words have always seemed too close together to read that way; I process the words together as one entity, rather than separately, so the phrase strikes me as "Lane Fire." Then it takes a second for my brain to register, "Oh, of course that's Fire Lane, not the other way around."
This might seem like a frivolous question, and it is mainly motivated by idle curiosity, but in a certain way it strikes me as important, too. The whole point of having the "Fire Lane" markings is to draw your attention to the necessity of keeping the lane clear, e.g. in case of an emergency, so it should be designed in a way that minimizes mental processing time and confusion, right?
I guess what I'm wondering, then, is twofold:
1) Is this just me? At first glance, do you read "Fire Lane" or "Lane Fire?"
2) Is there any official reason for why they do it this way? Unofficial reason? Historical? Based on some scientific study?
I'm just curious how it ended up this way, when it seems just as reasonable to have the two words in legible order, considering they're only painted a couple of feet apart on the street.