A once-in-a-decade opportunity for better roads
For more than two decades, the League of American Bicyclists has been a sponsoring organization of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD). Thanks to the support of our members, we have been able to give people who bike a vote in decisions of the NCUTCD and recommendations made about bike facilities to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The NCUTCD is where decisions are made about how speed limits are set, how roads are painted, what signs are allowed, and how bike infrastructure gets implemented.
Keep in touch with the League to take part in our upcoming MUTCD comment campaign
Now, for the first time in over a decade (since 2009 to be precise), the general public – local bike advocacy organizations, bike clubs, and individuals – can weigh in on these decisions as well.
Through May 14th, anyone can weigh in on a document called the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Anyone can tell their story about how missing crosswalks and bike lanes make them feel unsafe, or how speed limits set based on maximum vehicle flow make them avoid some streets, or how a traffic engineer has talked down to them using the MUTCD as a sword and shield against changes to make streets safer.
In December, the FHWA announced this update. Since then, the League has been doing a deep dive into the finer technical details buried in the proposed MUTCD draft. That led to the League sounding the alarm about language in the MUTCD that could have significantly limited the rights and ability of people to bike in the United States. Thankfully, our quick action and attention to the issue resolved the drafting error overnight.
As we have continued to examine the 700+ page draft, the League of American Bicyclists has been deep in conversations with our NCUTCD representatives, Rock Miller and Blair Tomten, to produce a consolidated response.
In 43 days, comments on the proposed MUTCD are due. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to update the MUTCD and get better rules for how we build roads. And soon, we will share our comments on the proposed MUTCD.
The League, as a sponsoring organization of the NCUTCD, supports significant changes so that the MUTCD is a force for improved safety in the coming decade. We have already submitted preliminary comments about the importance of significant and bold changes to improve traffic safety. Read our preliminary comments below and in the Federal Register here »
As the League gears up to coordinate our thousands of voices in commenting on a better, safety focused MUTCD, here are a few ways you can prepare ahead of time to take part in our campaign:
Identify places in your community where the MUTCD may pose a problem. All of the issues below intersect with rules in the MUTCD:
- Do you have a dangerous unmarked crosswalk? Are any intersections missing pedestrian signals?
- Do you want contraflow bike lanes? Are there intersections that need bicycle signals?
- Do you want signs that tell people how far a place is away in terms of minutes? Or wayfinding on the pavement to keep people on bike routes?
Read up and prepare comments:
- Here is the League’s background on the MUTCD
- America Walks has some excellent suggestions about making comments
- The National Association of City Transportation Officials has a great overview of problematic areas in the proposed MUTCD
- There are several webinars if you’d like to dig in from FHWA, and APBP.
Watch for an Action Alert from the League on the MUTCD!
Ahead of our action campaign, we sent the following letter was a public comment noting our firm belief that the next MUTCD adopted must provide proactive safety guidance so that the United States can make progress on equity, sustainability, and traffic safety goals. Read the letter the League submitted below.