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March 25, 2014

Bicycle signals added to MUTCD

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued interim approval for the optional use of bicycle signals as a traffic control device.  An FHWA memorandum dated December 24, 2013 grants the approval, gives background, and offers guidance and standards for bicycle signal design, installation, and operations, that – pending official rulemaking – will be included in the next edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

No new traffic signal warrants are associated with this interim approval.  The memorandum states that retrofitting existing traffic signals with bicycle signals is analogous to retrofitting existing traffic signals with pedestrian signals and therefore does not require an engineering study.  Instead, engineering judgment is to be exercised in determining the need for and advantages of bicycle signals at a specific location.

Prior to the decision granting interim approval, bicycle signals were considered "experimental," requiring communities wishing to install them to undertake extensive and costly engineering studies.

Questions concerning the interim approval should be directed to Kevin Dunn at kevin.dunn@dot.gov.