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.