‘Motor vehicles only” freeway signs recalled

The in basket: After reading the recent Road Warrior column saying bicycles are permitted on freeways, Michael Schuyler wrote, “I remember quite clearly that at every freeway entrance in the’60s there used to be a sign that said, ‘Motorized vehicles only.’ What changed and when? Was it simply a policy change or was it a change in the law? I saw these signs on the interstate, for sure, but can’t recall if they were also on state freeways.”

The out basket: I recall those signs too, though I didn’t  until Michael jogged my memory.

State officials couldn’t pinpoint what changed, so I went to Lloyd Brown, director of communications with the

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Lloyd used to work for our state’s transportation department.

He had one of their staff look into it and librarian/historian Bob Cullen sent the following”

“The Federal Highway Act of 1973 established the Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways program.  Those provisions have been revised and even expanded upon several times since in other major pieces of federal legislation, notably the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991.

“However, in answer to the specific question, there have not been any laws at the federal level providing a nationwide authorization or prohibition with respect to riding bicycles on freeways.  As described in section ‘Bicycles on Freeways’ on web page for the Federal Highway Administration’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/freeways.cfm#bicycles):

‘There are no federal laws or regulations that prohibit bicycle use on interstate highways or other freeways. Although a state may prohibit bicycles on freeways, prohibition is not a federal requirement. Most western states allow bicycles to use interstate highways or other freeways. Many of these states restrict bicycle use in urban or other congested areas.

“In some locations, the interstate highway or other freeway may be the only reasonable route, or may be preferred compared to other steep, narrow, or winding routes. A state should consider safety and traffic concerns along the freeway and along alternative routes when considering whether or not to allow bicyclists to use freeways.”

In other words, the federal government leaves it up to each individual state to decide whether bicyclists can travel along freeways. States still have the initiating role in any assessment of whether bicycles can even be used on those particular segments of highway.”

One thought on “‘Motor vehicles only” freeway signs recalled

  1. I am all for people getting out and riding their bikes. It does the body good. But for the love of Pete, can you please just follow the laws. If a car breaks the law by say running a red light for example and they get hit in the cross way, they are protected for the most part. When a bicyclist does the same thing, you have better odds playing Russian Roulette. When a car speeds down a hill as another example, and a pedestrian steps out in front of them, the results are bad, but the driver of the car has a better chance of survival. If the pedestrian gets hit by the bike because they stepped in front of them as they speed down the hill, the results can be just as deadly, but now you have a damaged bike and rider. Problem with pedestrians is that they just step out in front of everything, because the law gives them permission to do it. Everyone has to yield to pedestrians, even though not everyone does. So it can be bad for those who ride bikes.
    Now as for someone who works out on the highways and freeways and interstates and even the side roads. I can say that riding a bike on the freeways or interstates is just not the smartest thing in the world. At any given time a vehicle on any road, can lose control of their vehicle. I have seen tires and blow and even tires come completely off and those vehicles lose it and hit the walls or a ditch. Now this can happen anywhere. But the difference between a vehicle losing control on the urban road or the highway is the speed of the vehicles. A bicyclist has a better chance of survival in an accident when the speed of cars is not going 50+mph. As compared to the slower speeds in town and on back roads. The other problem I see with bikes on the highways is the idiot riders out there who ride their bikes next to the fog line. I think that can cause a panic with most drivers out there. Especially when a car is comes around a curve at dusk or dawn and the sun hits their face and there is a bike rider riding right next to the highway edge. That could cause a chain reaction that can get someone killed.
    I just dont understand why someone who rides a bike would really want to play with their lives like that by putting themselves in greater danger by riding on a roadway where the speed of cars exceeds anything that a bike can do. I dont understand why the law allows them to ride on the speedways. But hey it for the same for the joggers I see out there on Hwy 3/16. Why do they do it and why they are allowed.

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