April 24, 2015
Last week, as you may have read in my GeoPoints post Adventure Cycling issued an unusual call-to-action, asking people to contact the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and protest impending rumble strip applications on segments of our Northern Tier and TransAm cycling routes.
While we fully understand the value and importance of rumble strips when applied appropriately, these proposed rumbles would force cyclists into high speed travel lanes with trucks and other motor traffic. MDT has promised to use a strategic approach to rumble strip applications, especially along known bicycle routes, but these projects do not have sufficient data to prove there is no added risk to cyclists’ safety. For months, we have communicated respectfully with MDT about these segments and have recommended improvements to the department’s rumble strip guidance, yet we still find ourselves with rumble strips that put cyclists' lives at risk about to be installed on two of our most popular routes – with very questionable justification. They also violate the Federal Highway Administration’s official guidance for rumble strip applications, which recommends a four-foot minimum shoulder width. We are urging MDT to take cyclists' safety seriously and follow this national standard by refraining from installing rumble strips on shoulders with four feet or less of shoulder width.
To date, despite many emails and other communications from all over Montana (and the world), MDT has not responded. (If you hear from them, let us know). We urge you to keep contacting them through this action page – and please share these links with friends and fellow cyclists.
We appreciate your efforts, and also your feedback. In particular, we have heard from several respondents that our illustration, which features the phrase “Say No to Rumble Strips”, suggests that Adventure Cycling is opposed to all rumble strips. As noted in our communications to MDT and the public, that is certainly not the case; rumble strips can be a very effective safety tool for motorists and cyclists when properly applied. However, we understand the confusion and have altered the graphic to read “Wrong Way on Rumble Strips.” Thanks for the feedback and helping us to make clear our position that there is right way and wrong way to use rumble strips.
We look forward to hearing from MDT soon; please keep contacting them and letting them know that if they are truly interested in safe highways for all users, they will rescind their plans for rumble strips on the TransAm and Northern Tier routes.
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This week GEOPOINTS BULLETIN, was written in collaboration with the travel initiatives staff. Geopoints is usually written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.