Although "shared roadway" is a term used by MUTCD to mean "a roadway that is officially designated and marked as a bicycle route, but which is open to motor vehicle travel and upon which no bicycle lane is designated," the general concepts covered by this category of countermeasures are geared toward providing safe, smooth surfaces, good visibility, and appropriate, safe and easy access for bicyclists on all roadways that bicyclists are allowed to use. The countermeasures described in this category are among perhaps the most important factors in providing a safe and accessible street and path network for bicyclists since the vast majority of travel-ways used by most bicyclists will be roadways shared with motorists. Appropriate use of this group of tools helps to manage traffic and vehicle speeds suitable to the roadway type and area the roadway serves, outcomes that benefit bicyclists and other road users.
The countermeasures discussed under Shared Roadway will remain applicable in most riding circumstances, even for specialized bicyclist facilities such as bike lanes. Lighting, attention to surfaces and other countermeasures are also important with respect to shared-use pathways. Attention to all of these measures will help to ensure that bicyclists have safe places to ride.
Shared Roadway tools are most effectively incorporated at the planning and design stage for streets being constructed or re-constructed, with consideration to all road users. Good design can prevent problems later on and reduce maintenance issues and costs. Some improvements can be made, such as lighting, parking redesign, or maintenance upgrades that improve surface conditions to existing roadways, but are typically more difficult to implement as retrofit measures. Providing safe access to and space on bridges and overpasses and through tunnels and underpasses may be particularly challenging to implement as retrofit measures.
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