Tag Archives: MUTCD

No Excuse

There is no excuse for improperly engineered bike infrastructure. It takes on two forms, 1) simple straight-up wrong, and 2) “fake” facilities, those which masquerade as something they’re not; they’re in reality nothing more than shoulders, yet they are intentionally tarted-up to appear to be, and even be referred to as bike lanes (see e.g. Flagstaff, below). Continue reading No Excuse

Should Warner Road bike lane have a “Combined” Turn Lane?

A standard sign with placard, “legalizes” thru-bike usage.

it is a common occurrence — familiar to every bicyclist — where you can be riding along a perfectly nice bike lane only to have it disappear for various reasons.

Bike lanes are highly prized for making cycling “more comfortable”; so I think it’s safe to say disappearing bike lanes would be considered quite stressful, and an impediment to cycling for many cyclists.

Disappearing Bike Lane; Warner Rd at Hardy Dr, Tempe, AZ

I have, over the past year, had occasion to regularly ride along Warner Road in Tempe (this area is sometimes referred to as “south” Tempe. Here’s a map of the general vicinity) between I-10 (the city limit) and McClintock Drive; it’s about 3.5 miles. The road is very much an arterial road with two fast through lanes (45mph, if i recall correctly) plus a bike lane each way plus some sort of middle lane throughout (it’s usually a TWLTL; two way left turn lane; it becomes a left turn lane at major intersections). The difficulty is at every intersection where there is a right turn only lane, the bike lane is dropped ~ 250′ from the intersection. This dropping occurs asymmetrically at some, but not all, of the major intersections. It is most prominent westbound: the lane drops at McClintock, Rural, Kyrene, Hardy, and Priest Drive. That is FIVE TIMES in three miles! Continue reading Should Warner Road bike lane have a “Combined” Turn Lane?

The MUTCD and A.R.S.

What is the MUTCD?

From wiki:

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is a document issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to specify the standards by which traffic signs, road surface markings, and signals are designed, installed, and used…

Here is the MUTCD home page, where full versions of the document are published.

Most of what is of particular interest to bicyclists is in Chapter 9. Walkinginfo.org has a webinar presentation that outlines the changes in the 2009 version of MUTCD.

H. Gene Hawkins, Jr., Ph.D., P.E. has an extensive history of the MUTCD.


Continue reading The MUTCD and A.R.S.

AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities

The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, is a much-referenced work among bicycle planning and transportation professionals. The 2012 is the most recent final version; As of the time of this writing, the complete guide isn’t freely available; there are fragments below from both the previous (1999) edition, as well as the current (2012) edition.  The guide is a largish (2.5MByte) .pdf available from the here, via azmag.gov (Maricopa Assoc of Governments). You can purchase the book directly from AASHTO

This book gives the accepted guidelines for dimensions and usage of various bicycle facilities, i.e. bike lanes, wide curb lanes.

There is also a DRAFT revision dated February 2010: DRAFT AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Bicycle Facilities which was superceded by the… Continue reading AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities

Is this a bike lane?

In a word, No. None of these are bike lanes. But someone sure went out of their way to make it look so. They even moved the not-bike lane stripe over to make more room in the not-bike lane (center photo). [See Fig 1, here, for a picture and description of how an actual bike lane is marked]

What is the correct — both legal and safety — position for a cyclist to assume in these not-bike lanes? Just try to get a straight answer out of the-powers-that-be (in this case, the City of Phoenix) on that one.

The law is refreshingly clear: “If the lane…is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane” a cyclist may ride anywhere in that lane, §28-815(A)(4).

See other articles on critical width; see AASHTO for dimensional guidelines for (real) bike lanes. Continue reading Is this a bike lane?

Bicycles May Use Full Lane, SLM; MUTCD updates

R4-11 Bicycles MAY USE FULL LANE

[Update 2017: please also see “Change Lanes to Pass placard R4-11aP available for use in Arizona]
Apparently I’m a little behind the times, a new version of the MUTCD was released in Dec 2009 and includes a couple of new items for cyclists:

Section 9B.06 Bicycles May Use Full Lane Sign (R4-11) , sometimes denoted as BMUFL  and

Section 9C.07 Shared Lane Marking. (known colloquially as a Sharrow)

The last time I wrote about Shared Lane Markings,  see Sharrow / Shared lane marking (SLM), they were “experimental”. Continue reading Bicycles May Use Full Lane, SLM; MUTCD updates

Photo Red Enforcement found ‘illegal’?

Well, not exactly. After an article in “theNewspaper.com” (“a journal of the politics of driving”… an anti-photo enforcement website), the local anti-photo enforcement blogosphere Camera Fraud has declared that a FHWA letter will be “will be sending shock waves through the insidious network of red light cameras across the country”.

Despite the camera-foes’ protestations to the contrary, the FHWA has no legal standing, can not make laws, and is not a legislative body (For Arizona, the Arizona state legislature is); the only tie to the law is through the MUTCD; and “violations” of the MUTCD are common. In any event the FHWA interpretation letter refers to the extra ground markings in use being dis-allowed, and not cameras.

An image of the FHWA letter is linked at that article, above (here is the letter). I don’t know who this guy, Paul Pisano, Continue reading Photo Red Enforcement found ‘illegal’?