In December 2020, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) for an update to the MUTCD. The League of American Bicyclists, and its representatives on the NCUTCD, began reviewing the NPA immediately and have already corrected an error that would have banned bicycles on many roads.
The League intends to publish its comments to the NPA developed with our NCUTCD representatives no later than April in advance of the May 14th comment deadline.
If you or your organization is interested in submitting comments, please consider these issues:
NACTO has four recommendations for changing the MUTCD:
- More city involvement and context-sensitive standards and guidance. Consider commenting about how a MUTCD standard is not well suited to a place in your community.
- More frequent updates. The NPA is the first update since 2009, meaning that the MUTCD does not currently reflect bike infrastructure that has recently grown in popularity and use, such as protected bike lanes. A once-a-decade update cycle will miss many issues, such as scooters, which are not mentioned in the NPA.
- Safety critical updates. NACTO identified 8 critical safety updates on issues like speed limit setting, bicycle signals, and crosswalk warrants.
- A better, more supportive, experimentation process. The MUTCD relies upon the experimentation process to provide data for updates, but currently the experimentation process is difficult and costly for cities. To deal with the safety issues facing people biking and walking more support is needed for experiments that provide safe places to bike and walk.
Additional issues that the League is concerned about:
- Section 5 is an entirely new section about the needs of Automated Vehicles and provides this guidance on bicycle lanes: “Section 5B.06 Traffic Control for Bicycle Facilities Guidance: To better accommodate machine vision used to support the automation of vehicles, bicycle facilities should be segregated from other vehicle traffic using physical barriers where practicable. Road markings should indicate the end of a bike lane that is merged with other traffic.” At this point, it is unclear whether this call will lead to additional support for separated bike infrastructure or lead to future efforts to restrict bicycling.
- The League has asked for changes to the MUTCD in two recent letters. We still support these changes and want them reflected in the next MUTCD. See our Letter about speed limit setting, and Letter about interim approvals of NCUTCD proposals
General Advice for Public Comments:
Provide one or two concrete examples of how the MUTCD section that you are commenting on has affected the safety of your community or the ability to implement bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.