Your Help is Needed to Open I-40 in California to Cyclists to ride Route 66

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Support Bicycle Route 66
Friends of Adventure Cycling,We need your help to complete Bicycle Route 66, the legendary Mother Road between Chicago and Santa Monica, which Adventure Cycling has been working hard to create for the last five years.

We need the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to provide legal access to I-40 between Needles and Barstow, California. Presently bicycles are prohibited on this 144-mile section of freeway. The only other option — the National Trails Highway — is currently closed and, in some sections, unsuitable for bicycling.

Without I-40 access, cyclists will have to end their trip early (at the California border) or risk being ticketed by illegally riding I-40. We are now putting the final touches on the layout and design of the Bicycle Route 66 maps, which are going to print in early February and available in March.

That’s why we need your help now to solve this issue!

How Can You Help?

  1. Please email Malcolm Dougherty, Director of Caltrans; Basem Muallem, the Director of District 8; and Catalino Pining III, Deputy District Director. Click here for a sample letter and email addresses.
  2. Spread the word by forwarding this email to friends who support bicycle tourism along Route 66. Click here to forward this email.
  3. Post on Facebook! Here is a sample message you can post:Please act now to help complete Adventure Cycling’s Bicycle Route 66. Ask Caltrans to allow cyclists on I-40 to provide bike travelers with a legal way to bicycle between Needles and Barstow California.
  4. TWEET! Here are a few sample messages you can tweet:Support Bicycle Route 66 in California! #caltrans #acaBR66

    Want to ride Bicycle Route 66? Access denied between Needles & Barstow! Contact #caltrans #acaBR66

Support Bicycle Route 66

Background on the Issue

Why are we requesting access to I-40? Normally, we don’t route cyclists on interstates if an alternate road is available; however, the only other way through this section is the National Trails Highway, which is closed due to damage from flooding. Furthermore, the road is not suitable for bicycling, as there are large gaps in the pavement, potholes and sandbanks posing serious safety hazards. I-40 is a rural freeway with eight-foot shoulders and relatively low traffic counts.

We have communicated with Caltrans for almost a year; however District 8, which is responsible for I-40, continues to deny bicycle access and we have received little support at the state level. We are told that Caltrans legally and procedurally has no obligation to give bicycles access to interstates, regardless of the fact that cyclists currently have no legal route. However, Caltrans is on record stating their commitment to multi-modal travel, especially bicycling.

Additionally, we have the support of the California Bicycle Advisory Committee and the California Association of Bicycle Organizations. Despite letters on our behalf, Caltrans still refuses to engage. Now we are reaching out to you.


20150127_Route66_SM.pngFor more information on the issue:

  • Read our blog post highlighting issues along Bicycle Route 66 in California

See first-hand the road conditions on the National Trails Highway

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