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Bicycle Facilities and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

Background

The Federal Highway Administration receives occasional inquiries about what bicycle facilities, signs, and markings are permitted in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The table below lists various bicycle-related signs, markings, signals, and other treatments and identifies their status (e.g., can be implemented, currently experimental) in the 2009 version of the MUTCD.

If you have MUTCD-related questions, please contact: Kevin Dunn, MUTCD Team.

Description of Bicycle Facilities Status in the FHWA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Are FHWA Experiments in Progress?
Updated Status Information
Buffered bike lanes Can still be implemented at present time if pavement markings and/or crashworthy channelizing devices for bicycles that are compliant with the MUTCD are used. Buffered bike lanes are not experimental. "Yes" is shown in the "Are FHWA Experiments in Progress?" column below because the buffered bike lane(s) in these experiments are testing non-compliant pavement markings.  
Green colored pavement limited to behind the shared lane marking The FHWA has discontinued the approval of new experiments using this treatment. Agencies that have received prior approval to experiment may continue to operate under the terms of the original experimental approval for the duration of the agreed upon timeframe.  
Green colored pavement to communicate a longitudinal direction in conjunction with shared lane markings where no bike lane markings are used The FHWA has discontinued the approval of new experiments using this treatment. Agencies that have received prior approval to experiment may continue to operate under the terms of the original experimental approval for the duration of the agreed upon timeframe.  
Two-stage left turn queue box in any use other than for a jughandle turn at a T-intersection Previous versions of this Table stated that two-stage left turn queue boxes could be implemented at the present time if signs and markings that are compliant with the MUTCD are used. This was an incorrect entry in the Table. The installation of two-stage left turn queue boxes is experimental except for those that facilitate a jughandle turn at a T-intersection.

In order to consider the two-stage left turn queue box for adoption into a future edition of the MUTCD, agencies that may have already implemented a two-stage left turn queue box are requested to contact their FHWA Division Office with any information, observations, or data that might be useful in determining future provisions regarding its design or use. Examples of these metrics could include compliance with the no turn on red prohibition(s), user comprehension, vehicle encroachment, crash data, etc. Agencies that desire to install two-stage left turn queue boxes at new locations require approval to experiment.
Yes
Two-stage left turn queue box to facilitate a jughandle turn at a T-intersection Can be implemented at present time if signs and pavement markings that are compliant with the MUTCD are used  
Signs and Markings
Bike Lanes
Conventional bike lanes Can be implemented at present time  
Continuation of bike lanes up to intersections Can be implemented at present time  
Dashed bike lanes through intersections Can be implemented at present time  
Use of green pavement markings for bike lanes and cycle tracks within intersections Interim approval has been granted. Requests to use green colored pavement need to comply with the provisions of Paragraphs 14 through 22 of Section 1A.10 Yes
Green bike lanes at conflict points such as heavy turning and merging locations Interim approval has been granted. Requests to use green colored pavement need to comply with the provisions of Paragraphs 14 through 22 of Section 1A.10 Yes
Green bike lanes or green behind bike lane symbols and standard arrows Interim approval has been granted. Requests to use green colored pavement need to comply with the provisions of Paragraphs 14 through 22 of Section 1A.10 Yes
Counter-flow bike lanes Can be implemented at present time if signs and pavement markings that are compliant with the MUTCD are used  
Combined bike lane/turn lane Can be implemented at the present time if Shared Lane Markings are used instead of bike lane markings  
Dashed bike lanes on narrow roadways (advisory bike lanes) This treatment is currently experimental Yes
Buffered bike lanes Can be implemented at present time if pavement markings and/or crashworthy channelizing devices for bicycles that are compliant with the MUTCD are used Yes
Bike lanes between traffic lanes on approaches to lane drop conditions Can be implemented at present time  
Bike lanes on left-hand side of one-way streets Can be implemented at present time  
Cycle Tracks
Protected cycle tracks, both one-way and two-way bicycle facilities Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  
Raised cycle tracks, both one-way and two-way bicycle facilities Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  
Merging cycle track users with turn lanes in advance of high volume turn locations, allowing bicyclists to make a through movement at the intersection in order to reduce conflicts with the turning traffic Can be implemented at present time if signs and pavement markings that are compliant with the MUTCD are used  
Truncated cycle track (ramp down to bike lane or shared right-turn lane) Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  
Other Signs and Markings
Shared lane markings Can be implemented at present time  
Bike boxes with advanced stop lines for motor vehicles and no-turn-on-red restrictions on the approach Currently is experimental; more research data is needed before a final decision can be made regarding this application Yes
Bike route wayfinding and marking system Can be implemented at present time if signs and pavement markings that are compliant with the MUTCD are used, but currently is experimental if a non-compliant sign or marking is used Yes
Rotated bicycle symbols in bike lanes at intersections and driveways oriented towards turning or entering motorists Can be implemented at present time  
Defining orange pavement markings for temporary traffic control usage to draw attention to the changed conditions, including for bike lanes, pedestrian crosswalks, yield markings, etc. Not allowed by the MUTCD; no experiments are being accepted regarding this treatment  
Defining unique, high-visibility pavement markings for bicycles and pedestrians (similar to Swiss usage of yellow for bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks) Not allowed by the MUTCD; no experiments are being accepted regarding this treatment  
Active warning beacon for a bike boulevard Can be implemented at present time  
Signals
Bicycle signal faces Interim approval has been granted. Requests to use bicycle signal faces need to comply with the provisions of Paragraphs 14 through 22 of Section 1A.10  
Signal detection for bicycles Can be implemented at present time  
Right-turn-on-red motor vehicle restrictions Can be implemented at present time  
Other Treatments
Separation of travel modes on shared-use paths Can be implemented at present time  
Railing separating bicyclists and pedestrians at cycle tracks approaching signalized intersections Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  
Convex mirrors at signalized intersections to reduce "right hook" type crashes Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  
Bike routes on lower volume parallel roadways Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  
Median or refuge islands for bikeway crossings Not a traffic control device, so no MUTCD restriction on its use  

Disclaimer: Inclusion on this list does not constitute FHWA endorsement. The purpose of this list is to describe the status in the MUTCD of different bicycle-related treatments. Practitioners should consult any applicable design policies, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, and State laws of the State within which the treatment is contemplated for use. The design and implementation of traffic control devices requires careful consideration of the roadway environment to ensure the safety of all road users.

Web Resources:

Additional Information:

If you need additional information, please contact:

Kevin Dunn (for MUTCD questions)
MUTCD Team - Part 9
Federal Highway Administration

Dan Goodman (for other bicycle and pedestrian questions)
Livability Team
Federal Highway Administration

Updated: 02/28/2014
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