From time to time, the question about bicycling on freeways (a.k.a. highways, or more officially “controlled access highways”) comes up.
By statute, the state (ADOT) or local authorities may prohibit bicyclists:
§28-733. Restrictions on use of controlled access highway
A. The director may, and local authorities by ordinance may, prohibit the use … by pedestrians, bicycles or other nonmotorized traffic…
ADOT has a formal written policy see:
“bicycles are permitted by law to operate on all State highways, including controlled-access highways, except where excluded by administrative regulation and the posting of signs to give notice of a prohibition”. Which then goes on to list specifically where the prohibitions are, what are generally speaking the urbanized areas. For example the restriction on I-10 is from MP 120.22 (Verrado Way) to MP 270.59 (Kolb Road) — that is the entire Metro Phoenix through Metro Tucson region.
Besides ADOT (“the director”), I am not aware of any circumstance where any other authority has prohibited bicyclists in Arizona.
What about Safety?
As might be expected, there isn’t much in the way of safety data; there was a paper Bicycle – Motor Vehicle Collisions on Controlled Access Highways in Arizona by Richard C. Moeur and Michelle N. Bina covering over 11 years of statewide crash data. There were only 9 incidents (6 injuries, and 3 fatalities) over the entire period. So, in short, any bike-MV collision on a controlled access highway is pretty rare.
Some other ADOT Issues / Rumble Strips, Not necessarily related to controlled access
Under “ADOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Policies” at http://azbikeped.org/laws-and-policies.asp, the following links should be:
- Rumble Strip Policy – http://www.azdot.gov/docs/businesslibraries/480.pdf?sfvrsn=0 or if dead see azdot.gov/business/engineering-and-construction/traffic/traffic-guidelines-and-processes-(tgp)/guidelines-and-processes
- Controlled Access Highways as Bikeways Policy – http://azdot.gov/docs/default-source/traffic-library/tgp1030-2015-06.pdf?sfvrsn=2
- Pedestrian Crosswalks Policy http://www.azdot.gov/docs/businesslibraries/910.pdf?sfvrsn=0
- Traffic Safety for School Areas Guidelines http://www.azdot.gov/docs/business/adot-traffic-safety-for-school-area-guidelines.pdf?sfvrsn=0
- State Transportation Board Policy on Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilitieshttp://aztransportationboard.gov/downloads/board-policies.pdf
- PGP 1031 Signing & Marking of Shared-Use Paths http://www.azdot.gov/docs/businesslibraries/1031.pdf?sfvrsn=2 (this link is now via archive.org) update this policy has since (2014?) been *deleted*; meaning it is not in force anymore… this is sort of unfortunate because it did contain a positive right-to-the-road message: “Moreover, signs and markings placed along shared-use paths are sometimes interpreted as implying that bicyclists are expected to use the path instead of the adjacent roadway. This can lead to harassment of bicyclists who are otherwise safely and legally using the roadway. “
Also, see Standard Drawings for rumble strips at:
- · M-22 (1/3) Longitudinal Rumble Strip Groove, Pattern and Location Details
- · M-22 (2/3) Longitudinal Rumble Strip Exception Details
- · M-22 (3/3) Centerline Rumble Strip Groove, Pattern, And Location Details
- Linked at https://www.azdot.gov/business/engineering-and-construction/traffic/signing-and-marking-standard-drawings
As mentioned above, whether or not a bicyclist can ride on an interstate in Arizona has nothing to do with a road’s status as a part of the federal interstate highway system, but rather what the jurisdiction has determined for a fully controlled-access highway. There is some interesting background and FHWA stuff in this article that deals with Missouri: Interstate riding perfectly legal where that state’s DOT has determined to allow bicyclists to the shoulder along any interstate there; they coincidentally even referred to the Moeur and Bina ADOT study “The Arizona Department of Transportation released a study in 2002 that looked at the safety record of bicycling along the shoulders of controlled access highways. The study found there were less than one crash per year in Arizona and that it was not a significant safety hazard. “