Miller Crash Causes Changes to ODOT Policy on Rumble Strips

Photo By: Michael Patrick

The death of Debra Miller last August has prompted a change from the ODOT regarding the placement of rumble strips on Oklahoma highways:

The guidelines for highway rumble strips — those pavement ridges on the shoulder that alert drivers when they’ve drifted off the road — have been changed, due in part to the death of a Stillwater bicyclist in August.

That’s why rumble strips were installed along State Highway 51 from Stillwater to Interstate 35 earlier this month instead of last summer when the highway was resurfaced, Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, said.

via Rumble strips changed to improve safety for drivers, bikers » Local News » Stillwater NewsPress.

The new policy is to place 6 inch rumble strips on all new/repaved shoulders wider than 36 inches. These rumble strips will be 6 inches from the outside lane marker. Additionally, there is a 5 foot break in the rumble strip every 15 feet to allow cyclists to leave and enter the shoulder area.

I think the heart of the ODOT is in the right place, but this 36 inch policy has me a little concerned. It the strip is 6 inches from the outside marker and is 6 inches wide, that means that the bicycle is placed in a two food wide riding area which is a bit narrow for me especially considering how much debris can pile up on rural highways. That could lead to a lot of crossing back and forth across the rumble strip area and probably not always in the area of the gaps. However, I do know that I have often gained comfort from having a rumble strip on the side of me while riding on the highway.

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