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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: What would you do?
Take the Detours on the "safer" routes 22 51.16%
Take the lane in all three examples 3 6.98%
Take the lane in 1, but not 2 or 3 0 0%
Take the lane in 2, but not 1 or 3 0 0%
Take the lane in 3, but not 1 or 2 9 20.93%
Take the lane in 1 and 2, but not 3 3 6.98%
Take the lane in 1 and 3, but not 2 1 2.33%
Take the lane in 2 and 3, but not 1 2 4.65%
Other 3 6.98%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-06-06, 07:50 AM   #1
genec
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Poll: Where would you ride... what choice would you make?

What choice would you make?

Given in the following examples that every main road is a 50MPH road. In every case, to take the main route given you will have to take and hold the lane for the half mile to mile it takes to get to “the other side.”

What would you do?

The first example is a construction zone… it is uphill on a major arterial, there is only one narrow lane going each way. The traffic tends to be heavy. Your cycling speed uphill would be about 10MPH. The edge of the road is a K rail concrete barrier… there is no shoulder, nor bike lane. The city has offered an alternative for cyclists… rather than take the 50MPH arterial, you can ride a “safer” detour. The speed limit on the detour is 35MPH with a 4 foot shoulder or a bike lane. But the detour takes you a mile out of your way.

The second example is a 50 MPH slight uphill arterial, 3 lanes either way. The traffic tends to be heavy. Your cycling speed up this hill would be about 15MPH. There is no shoulder… you will have to take one of the lanes. The road passes a wide sweeping freeway on ramp and an off ramp, both of which you will have to cross. Traffic typically moves at freeway speeds on the on and off ramps while merging with traffic on the arterial. The sight lines are short… maybe 200 feet where the curving ramps meet the arterial.

The city has offered a detour. Your destination at the decision point is about a ½ mile away and just visible on the straight arterial… past the on and off ramps. The detour will take you about a ½ mile out of your way… and then you cut back on a perpendicular road… for a total “safe” route of about ¾ of a mile. The detour is a 35MPH road with a wide shoulder.

The third example. 50MPH country freeway, one lane either way. No shoulders. Your cycling speed would be about 20+MPH. The traffic tends to be heavy. The city has offered an alternative route. A narrow 8 foot wide sidepath has been given that is separated from the main road by K rail barriers. You will have to slow down to about 10 MPH to use the sidepath… and cross the hiway at either end of the sidepath at a light controlled intersection. There are no intersections on the sidepath… but there may be pedestrians on it.
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Old 10-06-06, 08:06 AM   #2
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can i take helemt heads RV?

what's wrong with a half mile or mile detour if it keeps a bicyclist safer? i ride those types of conditions without possible detours every time i ride across the Hood Canal Bridge. why do i have to ride the mup at 10? will my bike fall apart if i ride it doing 17? do you worry the third scenario will lead to bikes being 'banned' on that road? all that talk is pretty empty.

taking the lane in front of traffic doing 50 for any length of time requires steely headed bicycling skills AND a thick skin. sure, the cars slow, then move around and pass you, some closer than others, and it is an exercise in cool headed determination. sure it is legal and possible; smart, not necessarily. expically if there is a readily available and safer, calmer alternative.

that is NOT where i want the majority of bicyclists riding; just the ballsy ones.

getting rid of the safer detour routes, or failing to improve the roadways in question with wide shoulders or bike lanes is NOT the awnser.
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Old 10-06-06, 09:21 AM   #3
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Just as it isn't worth it for motorists to threaten a bicyclist's life just to save a couple of seconds of time, it isn't worth it for me to put my own life in danger just to save a couple of minutes of time. I'll take the detour.
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Old 10-06-06, 10:03 AM   #4
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I'd take the detours in 1 and 2, but stick to the road in 3, which is pretty typical of many of the roads I ride.
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Old 10-06-06, 10:14 AM   #5
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I would take the detours. In fact, I had to do a combo of 1 and 3 last night.
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Old 10-06-06, 11:41 AM   #6
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I'm with the majority. You are reducing motorists' speed quite a bit for quite a while. I would feel "in the way" and wouldn't risk drawing someone's ire/bumper.

(Still working to comprehend the "The city has offered an alternative for cyclists" statements. Amazing/great!)
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Old 10-06-06, 11:55 AM   #7
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I will not use a path that restricts me to 10 mph. I can barely handle the Platte river trail, which has a speed limit of 15 mph, and a 'we will ticket' speed of 20 mph. I usually ride it at 17-19 mph, and slow for the problem areas.

I choose not to interfere with the motorists, if possible, but if there is no reasonable alternative, I'll take a lane, and they can go around. If I can choose an alternate route that doesn't take me 5 miles out of the way, and has less traffic, or a wider route, I'll choose the alternate route.
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Old 10-06-06, 12:16 PM   #8
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I answered, "Take the lane in 2 and 3, but not 1". I'd much rather ride the high-traffic road for a half a mile then have to exit and re-enter such a road. That is more difficult and more dangerous. I would detour around a construction area though. They can really slow you down and you have to sit there breathing in fumes. And given that it's on an uphill too, you might have do a lot of uphill stopping and starting, A total pain.
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Old 10-06-06, 01:07 PM   #9
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I'd take the detours on 1 and 2, and I'd stick with the road in 3.
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Old 10-06-06, 03:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Given in the following examples that every main road is a 50MPH road. In every case, to take the main route given you will have to take and hold the lane for the half mile to mile it takes to get to “the other side.”
I can't imagine a 50+mph road where there is no way for motorists to pass cyclists.

Even in a 9 foot wide lane with k-rails on both sides, drivers of standard width vehicles (cars) can slow down to within 10 mph or so of the cyclist's speed, and pass a cooperative cyclist safely.
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Old 10-06-06, 03:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
... Even in a 9 foot wide lane with k-rails on both sides, drivers of standard width vehicles (cars) can slow down to within 10 mph or so of the cyclist's speed, and pass a cooperative cyclist safely.
You certainly won't have 3 feet of clearance. ...
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Old 10-06-06, 03:35 PM   #12
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Gene, I screwed up and voted for "take the lane in 1 and 2, not 3." I meant to vote "take the lane in 3, not 1 and 2." Sorry about that ...
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Old 10-06-06, 03:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
You certainly won't have 3 feet of clearance. ...
Right, which is why you control the lane until they're moving about your speed, and then move aside.

I'm comfortable passing or being passed with less than 3' of clearance if the relative speeds are under 10 mph and the absolute speeds are not much higher.
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Old 10-06-06, 03:48 PM   #14
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As a general rule, I stick with the cars and don't use 'special' accomodations.

I would ride the road in all three instances. In example one, if there is a construction zone and heavy traffic, speeds are usually lower than posted with lots of stop and go which I don't find threatening. If it's bumper-to-bumper, once you get the first car behind you slowed, the rest have to slow.

In the second example, with three same-direction lanes again, there is plenty of opportunity for cars to merge over and pass.

In example 3 I don't use paths....
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Old 10-06-06, 04:09 PM   #15
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Why in the world would I make a decision based on how I ride when sitting in my office chair staring at a computer screen? I am an experienced cyclist, and I trust that experience when I am riding. However, I can talk myself and others in circles from my comfortable office chair. Frequently, situations which look scary when they are thought about are not all that interesting from the saddle of a bike. Other times, bravado when sitting in the office chair turns to annoyance at the difficulty of the situation when you are in the saddle, tired and hungry at the end of a day's work.

So: I guess it depends on subtle indicators which I cannot name, only know from experience, and my mood at the time to dictate how I would choose a route. Say it is morning on a Monday, I am feeling peppy, and feel I can hold 20 mph on your uphill option for the half mile. Perhaps I won't trouble myself with the detour, prefering the more direct route. Perhaps it is Friday afternoon, I just want to get home and cars are doing the typical Friday crazy stuff; maybe I don't want to bother and will take the detour. I've even been known to purposefully take a path.

One of the things that experience has taught me in recent years is to not be so rigid with my cycling choices. The combination of relatively fast, personal transportation and flexibility exceeding even that of a car, are the reasons why cycling is fun. The dangers so frequently cited here are only theoretical. To take a sidepath merely means that you need to go slow. To take a detour taking you a mile out of your way might be a way of finding a new commute route which might be faster or involve less hassle and stress. The detour might actually make your route shorter; I had this experience where I was commuting down the main road for a while, then found that a quiet detour into an out of the way commercial area with a two lane road not only was far more pleasant, but also cut a mile or so out of my commute.

I have the confindence I need to ride in any situation. But I don't use that confidence to decrease my options to only those involving heavily traveled arterials; I use that confidence to do away with the "as a general rule..." statements I use to make a few years ago. I can ride anywhere; so I ride where I choose at the moment.
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Old 10-06-06, 04:12 PM   #16
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For what it's worth, I have no difficulty riding such roads in such situations. I am merely saying that my choice will depend on my thinking from behind the bars in the moment; it would have very little relevence to me to make the choice sitting in front of the desk.
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Old 10-06-06, 04:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
The third example. 50MPH country freeway, one lane either way. No shoulders.
What is a "country freeway"? A freeway out in the country?

What freeway has only one lane either way?

What freeway is posted at only 50 MPH?

On what freeway without shoulders is a cyclist ever allowed?

Did you mean highway?
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Old 10-06-06, 04:39 PM   #18
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Too long! Break it down into three polls or so. My head hurts :0
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Old 10-07-06, 07:01 PM   #19
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FWIW Often for my ride home in the evening I’ll take longer more relaxed routes home so really my answer would be split 50/50 between the safe routes and just taking the lane in 3.
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Old 10-07-06, 08:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
What is a "country freeway"? A freeway out in the country?

Did you mean highway?
maybe they mean 'ruralish' four lane roads with highway speeds. or maybe they meant rural logging roads with 60MPH speed limits and 12 foot shoulders....

or, maybe, there's actually a gorilla playing basketball in the travel lanes and this is a trick poll.....
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Old 10-07-06, 09:39 PM   #21
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Assuming the detours (1 and 2) really are safer, I would most often take them. The time loss would be only a matter of moments. (If the detours were much further off-course, I would go ahead and take the lanes.)

On number 3, it seems that you would lose a lot of time if you took the side path, and I don't think it sounds much (if any) safer than the street described. I'd take the lane there.
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Old 10-07-06, 11:51 PM   #22
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Yep 40 mile is your 85 percent death card. After that kiss your ass good bye.

I would detour, but only if getting too and ridding on was safer in my opinion.
No sense dying trying to get to a safer route. Which I deal with.
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Old 10-08-06, 04:26 AM   #23
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I went with "Other", it just depends on what I wanted to do. If I were in a hurry, I would take the lane in all 3 examples. On the other hand, a mile or less on a bike is nothing. I would take the detour on days I wanted to ride slower. If these were regular commutes of mine, some days I would take the lane, some days I would take the detour and some days I would take the car.
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Old 10-08-06, 04:47 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
For what it's worth, I have no difficulty riding such roads in such situations. I am merely saying that my choice will depend on my thinking from behind the bars in the moment; it would have very little relevence to me to make the choice sitting in front of the desk.
I agree with Brian on this. But it's still an interesting hypo, so, making generalizations, I would probably take the road on 2 & 3 (cars can easily move over to get around me on 2, and 3 is just a standard country highway). The first one is a closer call. It would depend in part on how long I would be in the chute you described, road conditions, my schedule, etc.

Edit: For my daily commute, I have the choice of a 5 1/2 mile route that takes me down a three-lane (no BL), one-way 35 mph street (where cars sometimes go 40-45)* road, and a 7 1/2 mile route that's a darned good MUP along a river (and one that's usually nearly empty during morning commuting hours). I take the road more frequently because I just want to get to work, plus, the road is in mostly good condition and the slight downhill makes decent speed possible.

*I used to think that the ruthlessly timed lights kept cars at 35 mph, but that's frequently not the case.

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Old 10-09-06, 09:36 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
maybe they mean 'ruralish' four lane roads with highway speeds. or maybe they meant rural logging roads with 60MPH speed limits and 12 foot shoulders....

or, maybe, there's actually a gorilla playing basketball in the travel lanes and this is a trick poll.....
A four lane road offers you lots of options... and I think many of us would easily ride in the far right lane while motorists go around us.

No, by "county hiway" I mean a narrow somewhat irregular road, with no shoulders or shoulders that vary from inches wide to maybe a foot wide. With only a double yellow stripe at the center... no barrier or island divider. These are usually given farm hiway or state hiway numbers... These occur quite often in California, especially along the coast and in and around farm country area.

Even the fog line may not be in great shape, and the road surface may be irregular rather than nice a smooth and flat.

Here is a an example of one. This is at the narrow extreme.

http://www.madisoncounty.org/hiway/Fairvi2.jpg
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