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Old 02-03-03, 05:39 PM   #1
Ralph
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Bikes on big bridges?

Who rides across fairly large bridges on their bikes? How do they accomodate you - pedestrian walkways, special lanes, etc.?

The bridges between Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are almost totally inaccessible to bicycles. I am trying to get ideas of what could be done about this. The approaches are also pretty inaccessible, being mostly limited access highways, so it is an uphill battle, but certainly a worthy one.

Thank you.

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Old 02-03-03, 06:42 PM   #2
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Some of the bridges in the bay area are very accomodating of biikes. Personally I have ridden my bike across the Dumbarton bridge and the Golden Gate bridge.

The Dumbarton bridge has one lane (protected by a short concrete wall) for both directions of bike traffic. This also houses pedestrians, so caution is advised. There is not much room to work here with a flat either.

The Golden Gate has two sides, on is usually open for bikes only, and the other is open for pedestrians. The bikes here are also protected from the cars, but not well from each other. Caution here is also advised.

I know with the addition of the new span of the Oakland Bay Bridge there was talk of adding a bike lane. I am not sure what the end results of this were. Anyone have any additional knowledge on the subject?

I think all bridges need to accomodate cyclists and pedestrians.
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Old 02-03-03, 06:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ralph
The bridges between Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are almost totally inaccesible to bicycles. I am trying to get ideas of what could be done about this. The approaches are also pretty inaccessible, being mostly limited access highways, so it is an uphill battle, but certainly a worthy one.
I guess we're pretty lucky here in the Seattle area in that all of the big bridges tend be relatively bike-friendly. The I-90 floating bridge across Lake. Washington has been in my experience the friendliest with a wide multi-use path running alongside. However we do have a few bridges which don't have special provisions. The 520 bridge that parallels the I-90 bridge to the north is one such example and I would never attempt to ride it (bikes are probably prohibitted on there anyways). If I myself in that area and need to cross, I'll swing a couple of miles north to the top of the lake or south to the I-90 bridge.

A bridge that I do end up riding from time to time (when I get out that way) that has no real seperate cycling path (it does have a sidewalk but it's quite narrow and pedestrians can be a problem) is the Hood Canal Bridge. The traffic across that particular bridge while heavy at times isn't awefully fast and it's two lanes but they're quite wide lanes all the way across. I ride as close to the right as possible (especially since there's a concrete strip there instead of just plain metal grate) and as long as you maintain a consistant line and speed, the drivers don't seem to have much a problem with you. I have never crossed it at night or during the winters though. There can be high crosswinds so that's another thing to be careful of.

One of the most enjoyable bridges to ride around here (okay so it's not exactly close to me but it's in the area) is actually quite short. It's the Deception Pass Bridge. The view is simply breathtaking. Some people ride the sidewalk but there's often way too many pedestrians for that. Admittedly many people take their time walking their bikes across to take in the view.

Curiously enough, I haven't had the chance (or given myself the chance) to ride the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Anyone care to share their experience?

I've ridden across the Golden Gate Bridge but that was a no-brainer due to the large sidepaths. The one bridge I haven't ridden despite having spent quite a bit of time living in Michigan is the Mackinac. Normally bicycles are not allowed on the bridge except for a few major cycling events (DALMAC)... sadly, none of which I got around to attending. However, the bridge authority has a transport service for bikes (as well as snowmobiles in the winter) for a small fee and I'm not actually sure how it works... perhaps someone from the area could chime in.
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Old 02-03-03, 07:12 PM   #4
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Hi, Ralph. We talked about this in your introductory thread. I emailed http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/ about the bridge problem. I didn't get a response. I'll have to try again.

Take a look at this though. http://www.transalt.org/bridges/index.html

I mean if New Yorkers can bike over the Geoge Washington, I think we ought to be able to bike over the Walt Whitman. The problem as you say is that our bridges weren't designed to accomodate anything other than cars and it would be difficult to get that changed now. But even on the Ben Franklin the pedestrian path is frequently closed and is locked up at night.

If you're trying to bike commute across the Delaware, I'm wondering if you may be able to take NJtransit over the bridge. Many of the busses are equiped with bike racks and the ones that aren't should be able to carry your bike in the large luggage compartments. This may be your only way to "bike" over the river.
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Old 02-03-03, 08:45 PM   #5
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Good idea, thbirks. I don't remember ever seeing a NJ Transit bus on the Commo Barry, but I e-mailed and asked them.

It looks like they concentrate on downtown Philly and Wilmington, DE. It does sound promising in that they say all South Jersey buses can take bikes. So maybe there's hope.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:02 PM   #6
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I just ride on the road, the same as I do everywhere else. I'm yet to have any problems.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:16 PM   #7
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I just ride on the road, the same as I do everywhere else. I'm yet to have any problems.
Here in the states, most big bridges (at least all the ones I have seen) are multi-lane freeways/tollways. Bikes are usually prohibited from using these roads unless there are special circumstances. Using the road would probably get you killed if not arrested.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:31 PM   #8
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"Using the road would probably get you killed if not arrested."


More than likely both
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Old 02-03-03, 09:35 PM   #9
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I ride on the Jacques Cartier bridge between Montreal and the South Shore. Bikes have to use the sidewalk, which is separated from the motor traffic. When they redecked the bridge over the past two summers, they widened the path on the west side to about 8 or 9 ft, this makes it easy to deal with bikes coming in the opposite direction. However the approach path on the south end of the bridge is only about 4 ft wide between a chainlink fence and a tall crash barrier.

I spent 10 weeks in NYC 19 yrs ago and rode over the Queens bridge and the Brooklyn bridge several times. I just took my place in the traffic (not rush hour). I felt a bit nervous but didnt receive any unpleasantness from the motorists.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:39 PM   #10
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Now if I had just $1 every time someone said riding on the road would get me killed, I'd be a very wealthy man.

FYI, I have in the past tried to use bikepaths along side these multi-lane bridges you describe, but inevitably I found the road to be superior in every aspect (including the safety one). In my opinion, I'm better off on the road with the cars and the extra room it provides, than trying to squeeze past pedestrians and negotiating exit/re-entry points in a space that really isn't nearly wide enough.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:49 PM   #11
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As Sailguy stated many of these bridges prohibit bicycles in traffic lanes. As for crossing over the Delaware river. There is only one bridge under the Delaware River Port Authority than accomodates bicycles or pedestrians. This is the Ben Franklin bridge. I once tried to use the traffic lane on my bike when the walkway was closed and I was immediately stopped by a police officer sitting next to the bridge. This was probably a good thing as the bridge has no place for a bike in the traffic lanes and the traffic is unforgiving.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:59 PM   #12
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Its dangerous enough driving a car over the bridges around here. I have dodged my share of accidents in my non-commute crossings.

Some of the things you have to contend with are that none of the bridges have any shoulders. When not stopped due to traffic, the pace is about 65-85 mph. The Bay Bridge has about 5 or six lanes on the bottom deck, and the same on the top deck, and no shoulders for about four miles. The Golden Gate bridge (2.5 miles) has various lanes in any direction depending on the time-of-day. (I even believe the outer edge of the road has a hole in it that drops down into the water. (a kid fell through it several years back)).

I have not been on the San Mateo bridge since the new lane was added, but there was no shoulder, and narrow lanes. This also is about five miles before the lanes widen.

I know the bay bridge has a shuttle that you can pile your bikes into to cross, but there is no way to currently ride across it.
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Old 02-03-03, 10:40 PM   #13
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Montreal is a good area, there are cyclable ways to get off the Island. I have never really seen it as a problem. Most of them are dedicated bike paths adjoining or completely independant from a roadway.
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Old 02-04-03, 04:22 AM   #14
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Originally posted by thbirks
As Sailguy stated many of these bridges prohibit bicycles in traffic lanes.
Point taken about the legislative side of things. Short of writing letters asking to repeal these fascist laws, there's not a lot you can do about it. However, the main thrust of my rant (something I still stand by) was that I get a little tired of hearing this "You're gonna die! You're gonna die!" crap every time cycling in traffic is brought up. Over 100,000km in all kinds of situations and I'm still waiting for it to happen.

It's this irrational fear that leads to cyclists being banned from many roadways in the first place.
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Old 02-04-03, 04:43 AM   #15
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I mean if New Yorkers can bike over the Geoge Washington, I think we ought to be able to bike over the Walt Whitman. The problem as you say is that our bridges weren't designed to accomodate anything other than cars and it would be difficult to get that changed now. But even on the Ben Franklin the pedestrian path is frequently closed and is locked up at night.

Strange....very strange!
America land of the free...... as long as you use an automoble.
reading some of these posts I FIND IT INCREDIBLE. that some of the rivers are un-crossable on foot or cycle.
I cannot think of any bridge crossings in the U.k. that are inacsessable to walkers or cyclists.
The Tyne in my area at the main city Newcastle is famous the world over for its bridges. Some of which over recent years with the increased volume of traffic, although not restricted have become very uncomfortable for anything other than motorized trans`t .
With that in mind, a dedicated pedestrian and seperate cycle way bridge was constructed, this turned out to be a modern work of art, winning prestigeous archi`al awards throughout Europe .
Known as the "blinking eye"bridge, costing £9 Million . So despite much critisism on the expenditure, especially by the, (can`t you guess) motoring fraternity. It now stands together with "the Angel of the North" as a symbol of the N.E. England.

Maybe a few of your U.S. cities should take a look at this example.
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Old 02-04-03, 05:01 AM   #16
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Originally posted by Chris L
Over 100,000km in all kinds of situations and I'm still waiting for it to happen.

Of course, dude, it only has to happen once.

I can't speak much for big city bridges, since I avoid big cities like that plague that they are. But country bridges can be annoying if they are the old fashioned metal-mesh type; I call them 'tickle bridges' because of the noise they make when you ride over them. Your tires get caught in the grooves and it makes it feel like you have a flat. Yuck.


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Old 02-04-03, 05:23 AM   #17
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This is the bridge I cross each day. It's pretty high in the middle(the aircraft carriers can get underneath!!), and can be a bit windy which is why it gets closed to bikes at times.

There are marked cycle paths (15 mph max) both ways with footpaths, but people tend to wander over the cycle paths.


It does give you a good view but my wife insists it is steeper one way than the other- I'm not sure.

Unfortunately is also a bit of a magnet for suicides.
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Old 02-05-03, 06:30 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Ralph
Who rides across fairly large bridges on their bikes? How do they accomodate you - pedestrian walkways, special lanes, etc.?
There's a 1999 study, with recommendations, by John S. Allen of river crossings in St. Louis that you might find interesting. St. Louis is virtually surrounded by rivers. There are 10 existing bridges over the Mississippi and one proposed bridge. Of the existing bridges, 4 allow bicycle traffic. One of those is now strictly a bicycle/pedestrian bridge. One is an interstate. Missouri permits cyclists to use the approaches; Illinois does not, which is interesting.

Of the Mississipi River bridges that don't permit cyclists one, the Poplar St. Bridge (which Allen calls the I-70/Bernard Dickman Bridge) is dangerous enough in a car. A couple of the existing bridges are currently closed to automobiles and bicycles.

There's a proposal for a "New I-70 Bridge", which will be an addition, not a replacement. It's supposed to be a zillion lane interstate and bicycles will be prohibited.

There are 5 bridges over the Missouri River. Two of them allow bicycles. About half of the 9 or so bridges over the Meramec River allow bicycles.
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Old 02-05-03, 07:11 AM   #19
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Is there enough left of that old Rt.66 bridge north of town for cyclists to use?
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Old 02-05-03, 07:32 AM   #20
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Is there enough left of that old Rt.66 bridge north of town for cyclists to use?
That's the one that's been converted to a bicycle/pedestrian bridge. The old "Chain of Rocks" Bridge. Scrap values were so low that they couldn't afford to tear it down.
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Old 02-05-03, 09:29 AM   #21
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The Chain of Rocks Bridge

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The continuous-truss structure is among the world's longest pedestrian and bicycle bridges... Constructed in 1929 as a toll bridge, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge became part of the now-historic Route 66 in 1936. The City of Madison, Ill., purchased it in 1939...

In 1989, a newly formed land trust dedicated to the development of linear parks, Trailnet Inc., envisioned a new use for the bridge – as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing. The $4 million restoration project began in 1997...

The view looking south is a confluence of past and present. In the distance, the modern St. Louis skyline rises as a backdrop to three water intake towers whose turn-of-the-century architectural style mimics that of gothic castles.
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Old 02-05-03, 12:27 PM   #22
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The other bridge that can be used to cross the Delaware River is the Tacony-Palmyra bridge. The approach on the Jersey side is pretty good. The Philly side is a little dicey, but is doable. I have not tried during a weekday rush hour, though. The walkway is pretty narrow and you are supposed to walk your bike, but I have ridden it. There is nothing south of the Ben Franklin, though, as none of the other bridges has a walkway.
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Old 02-05-03, 05:56 PM   #23
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(Quote]

Strange....very strange!
America land of the free...... as long as you use an automoble.
reading some of these posts I FIND IT INCREDIBLE. that some of the rivers are un-crossable on foot or cycle.
I cannot think of any bridge crossings in the U.k. that are inacsessable to walkers or cyclists.
It's quite frustrating. Sometimes it seems like they're trying to keep me from leaving New Jersey.

"However, the main thrust of my rant (something I still stand by) was that I get a little tired of hearing this "You're gonna die! You're gonna die!" crap every time cycling in traffic is brought up."ChrisL

Well, then I agree with your main thrust, but I think that if you could see the situation with these bridges you'd be pleased as could be to share a path with annoying pedestrians. I'll try and get a photo of the traffic lanes on the B.F. the next time I venture into Philly.

"The other bridge that can be used to cross the Delaware River is the Tacony-Palmyra bridge. The approach on the Jersey side is pretty good. The Philly side is a little dicey, but is doable. I have not tried during a weekday rush hour, though. The walkway is pretty narrow and you are supposed to walk your bike, but I have ridden it. There is nothing south of the Ben Franklin, though, as none of the other bridges has a walkway" dougc

Thanks Doug. I wasn't aware you could cross this bridge. I'm trying to plan a tour along the canal path to Easton, Pa. The Burlington-Bristol bridge would be the best crossing point but of course there's no access. I'm thinking of trying to hitch a ride across from a pickup driver. Of course hitch-hiking is illegal in NJ. Did someone say fascist?
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Old 02-05-03, 09:18 PM   #24
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Of course, dude, it only has to happen once.
True, but this applies to many other facets of life as well, including many more dangerous than riding in traffic which people undertake on a daily basis.

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Originally posted by thbirks
Well, then I agree with your main thrust, but I think that if you could see the situation with these bridges you'd be pleased as could be to share a path with annoying pedestrians. I'll try and get a photo of the traffic lanes on the B.F. the next time I venture into Philly.
Please do, because this argument is sounding so much like the one I hear about the Story Bridge in Brisbane or the Sundale bridge on the Gold Coast, both of which I have ridden numerous times and have never felt in any danger at all, and on both of which, the footpath/shared path/whatever politically correct name, is more dangerous than simply using the road.
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Old 02-06-03, 09:21 AM   #25
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The bridges between Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are almost totally inaccessible to bicycles
I suppose you know that one (and only one) bridge between NJ and Philly is accessable. It's teh Ben Franklin bridge. I cycled accrosed it last summer.

WHAT A BRIDGE!
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