The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Improvements to Federal Guidance

On December 16, 2009, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published the new edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). At the Federal level, this new edition went into effect on January 15, 2010 but states are given up to 2 years after publication to either adopt the new edition of the MUTCD as their state traffic control manual, or adopt a state-specific MUTCD. Therefore, it might be a while before every state adopts the new improvements.
Here in Washington State, the Department of Transportation adopted the 2003 recommendations in 2005. Until such time as the WSDOT adopts the improvements to the MUTCD, cities and counties can choose to follow the national guidance except on state routes.


The MUTCD has over 700 pages but Part 9 is of particular interest to cyclists. Some highlights include:
  • The use of regulatory signs for bike lanes are no longer mandatory but recommended;
  • Standards for sign height and offset on shared-use trails have been revised to allow for greater flexibility;
  • New signs have been created for specific types of road and path users like skaters and eqestrians; and particularly noteworthy is the following:
  • For locations where a travel lane is too narrow for a bicyclists and a motor vehicle to travel side by side, there is a new "Bikes May Use Full Lane" regulatory sign that can be posted to remind road users of bicyclists' legal right to the lane without crowding. To see all of the new signs allowed including "full lane" check it out on page 793: http//
To see the entire online version of the MUTCD, visit

1 comment:

  1. I cannot get the 1st link to work. Says it's broken
    I realize if I had a more powerful CPU it wouldn’t take long to download larger PDF’s