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Interpretation Letter 9(09)-39 (I) — Installation of Advance Turn and Directional Assemblies for Bike Route Signs

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590

December 26, 2012

In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1

Mark W. Bott, P.E.
Engineer of Traffic and Safety
Michigan Department of Transportation
Murray D. Van Wagoner Building
P.O. Box 30050
Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Mr. Bott:

Thank you for your November 20 letter requesting an official interpretation of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) regarding the installation of route marker signs for U.S. Bicycle Routes. For purposes of this reply, our interpretation applies to all officially numbered bikeways.

Although an officially designated bike route can be facilitated by a highway, it is our Official Interpretation that Paragraph 01 of Section 2D.10 is not applicable to officially numbered or named bicycle routes. In addition, Sections 2D.30 through 2D.32 and 2D.34 do not require that the route marker signs described in those Sections be used for officially numbered or named bicycle routes. Rather, Paragraph 06 of Section 9B.21 is intended to apply to route signing for officially numbered bikeways, which recommends that the engineer determine the specific locations and number of signs to maintain continuity of the route for all users. However, if route marker sign assemblies are used for bikeways, then the provisions governing the design, arrangement and placement of these assemblies in all aforementioned Sections apply.

Your letter stated that Sections 2D.31, 2D.32 and 2D.34 would result in three required signs (the provisions in Section 2D.34 are a recommendation and not a requirement). Although our interpretation is that route marker signs are not required for bikeways, three signs might be necessary in certain cases to adequately inform a bicyclist on a route that experiences a turn to continue on the route. For example, where a bicycle is provided a left turn bicycle lane on the right-hand side of an exclusive left turn vehicular lane, an Advance Route Turn Sign Assembly would be advantageous a set distance prior to when the bicycle is required to yield and enter the travel lane to access the left turn lane. A Directional Assembly would be beneficial at the intersection to mark the turn, and the Confirmation Assembly on the route after the turn is effective to complete the continuity.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify the intentions of the provisions of the MUTCD and trust that this interpretation will address your concerns. For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned your request the following Official Ruling number and title: "9(09)-39 (I) — Installation of Advance Turn and Directional Assemblies for Bike Route Signs." Please refer to this number in any future correspondence.

Sincerely yours,

Original signed by:

Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation Operations