On Dec. 16 the Federal Highway Administration released an update to it’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Included in the update was a slew of early Christmas goodies for cyclists. I ran across the news on the and blogs.

Among the changes were improvements to signage related to bike traffic. Shared lane markings (a.k.a. sharrows) along with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs were added. I got to experience both of these while riding around San Francisco this summer. I really like them both. They reinforce a cyclist’s rights on the road. I believe that this will help ease conflicts between cyclists and motorists while boosting cyclists’ confidence.

Another exciting addition to the signage repertoire were U.S. Bicycle Route signs. These signs are to be erected on the 50,000 mile bike route network created by the Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. My experience with such signs has been mixed. Some areas seem to have better signage than others. Generaly there were more in urban areas which left me to wonder and worry about the lack of signs in rural areas. Hopefully this update will increase the signage in the areas where it is lacking.

I’m betting that I won’t see much of an improvement around Bellingham but these new guidelines give me hope.