My article “Bicycles May Use Full Lane”; It’s About Time! in our last issue ellicited a lot of comments and feedback expressing a variety of opinion on the safety of riding single-file, two-abreast, taking the entire lane, etc. (You can read all the comments at the bottom of that article. Just click the link and scroll down.)
I also received an email from reader Joe Stafford, who is the executive director of the Bicycle Access Council in Pennsylvania. Joe wrote to provide some additional information and background on the move to Bikes May Use Full Lane (BMUFL) signage in the U.S., and to share some information about specific leglislation he has helped enact in his state to promote cycling safety and advocacy.
Here’s what Joe wrote:
“Enjoyed the latest issue that lead with the BMUFL use displacing the Share-the-Road sign. Here’s a little more background as a follow-up.
“First, no sign is arbitrary on a roadway. The BMUFL sign was approved in 2009 by the Federal Highway Administration and included in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. That allowed state DOTs and municipalities to install BMUFL signs. What you wrote is true—it’s driver interpretation of “who-should-be-sharing-with whom” that leads to the yellow “warning” sign ineffectiveness.
“Part of the problem advocates have is weak, and indifferent, knowledge of state Vehicle Codes. BMUFL signs have to have a “warrant” to be placed based on a traffic study and proper documentation. Check with your state DOT Bike/Ped Coordinator on how that is supposed to work.
“Second, I am the sole author of a Pennsylvania Vehicle Code amendment that became effective in 2012 that essentially allows BMUFL on EVERY two-lane, two-way roadway in Pennsylvania. The bicycle safety legislation I wrote had several elements to it—BMUFL (as described); bicyclists cannot be cited for impeding traffic if moving less than prevailing speed; motorists may cross a centerline in a No Passing zone (when safe to do so) to overtake a bicyclist; and the overtaking requirement is FOUR feet. Check out Act 3 of 2012 (formerly House Bill 170).
“Lastly, As a follow-up, in 2012 I initiated a Share-the-Road license plate campaign. It took nearly four years to get through the legislature, but it just became available this month. I’ve taken some heat from fellow advocates who said it shouldn’t be called a share-the-road plate. Okay, what do you call it?
“For your Pennsylvania subscribers, let them web search PennDOT Form MV-917. Cost of the plate is $40. Here is the final design in PA—it just became available.”