Change Lanes to Pass

R4-11 BMUFL sign with Change Lanes to Pass placard

There’s a new sign in town, well it’s actually a plaque, the R4-11aP CHANGE LANES TO PASS (“CLtP”)was just recently added to Arizona’s Manual of Approved Signs (MOAS) in March of 2017.

R4-11aP Change Lanes to Pass placard

The sign is available to be added as a plaque in conjunction with the pre-existing R4-11 (Bicycles) MAY USE FULL LANE (“BMUFL”), which made it’s debut in the 2009 edition of the MUTCD, and was finally added to Arizona’s MOAS in June 2013.

Most lanes in Arizona, and elsewhere for that matter, are designed to accommodate only the width of one vehicle, not a

R4-11 Bicycles MAY USE FULL LANE

bicycle and a vehicle side-by-side safely. In this situation, bicyclists need not (legally) ride as far to the right as practicable, but rather are instructed to ride near the center of the lane as best safe practice, this position will make the bicyclist more visible to other motorists, giving them more time to avoid abrupt, unsafe movements.

Below is a typical laned arterial road configuration, this happens to be in Tempe… The lanes are too narrow to share safely side-by-side. Non-standard signs, such as the “Share the Road” should be replaced —

Elliot Road, eastbound east of Priest Drive, City of Tempe. Sign placed by the city reminds users to “Share the Road”. Posted speed limit 45mph. Even the fastest bicyclists will be traveling well below the posted speed limit. This arterial, like most, has lanes which are “too narrow to share safely side by side”, and as such, cyclists going straight ahead are advised to ride near the center of the right-most through lane. Motorists wishing to overtake must change lanes (at least partially) to pass legally and safely.

Sign Size

As noted in Table 9B-1. Bicycle Facility Sign and Plaque Minimum Sizes of the MUTCD the minimum size of this sign is 30″ wide.

Law Updates (#law)

Some states have begun to include statute updates requiring overtaking drivers (i.e. “drivers of motor vehicles”)  to change lanes to pass under certain conditions

  • DE Delaware – 2017 Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act
  • WA Washington – 2019 as part of an update to their vulnerable user law.
  • OK Oklahoma – 2019 HB2453; amending 47 O.S. 2011, Section 11-1208
  • IA Iowa — (?i think?) this was as result of a published court opinion(?) I don’t remember what i meant by this?

The League of American bicyclists has incorporated a CLtP provision into the model safe-passing law; though it is odd/weak/unnecessary language tacked onto the multi-lane road provision.


Good explanation of change lanes to pass messaging from suggests theses actions

  • Phase out “SHARE THE ROAD” plaques in favor of “CHANGE LANES TO PASS” plaques
  • Educate law enforcement about changes to the passing law and recommended technique for passing bicyclists
  • Produce motorist education/PSAs on safe passing practices
  • Update driver education curriculum
  • Change-lanes-to-pass law



6 thoughts on “Change Lanes to Pass”

  1. under 2003 MUTCD, when “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” sign was proposed, that “word legend signs of this type may be installed at any time by agencies in accordance with Section 2B.54 of the MUTCD – even if the specific sign isn’t yet in the MUTCD” and that language is referenced here: “The proposed (Bicycles May Use Full Lane) sign uses a standard symbol and word legend, and therefore is already acceptable for use under Section 2B.54 of the MUTCD. However, the Bicycle Technical Committee believes that there is sufficient demand and justification for creating a standard design and code for this sign message.”

    Fast forward to 2009 MUTCD:
    Section 9B.14 Other Regulatory Signs
    01 Other regulatory signs described in Chapter 2B may be installed on bicycle facilities as appropriate.—2009-edition.pdf?sfvrsn=6

  2. Parts of the Natchez-Trace parkway was (recently?) signed with BMUFL / CLtP signage. Bicyclists are required by federal rules (see two-abreastness) to ride single file; this is not a conflict, just pointless, the lane is too narrow to share so bicyclists (any number of bicyclists, including one) may legally, and should, control the lane, while motorists who wish to travel faster may change lanes to pass when safe.
    See this criminal driver hit-and-run caught on camera running down a bicyclist on the parkway.

  3. From: Richard Moeur
    Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 3:15 PM
    To: WebUpdates
    Subject: Manual of Approved Signs – March 2017 Update

    I have one more update for the ADOT Manual of Approved Signs…

    Added Signs:

    · R4-11aP Change Lanes To Pass

    Richard C. Moeur, PE
    Traffic Standards Engineer
    1615 W. Jackson St., MD 061R
    Phoenix, AZ 85007
    602.712.6661 (office)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *