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Old 11-02-08, 07:56 AM   #1
patclem
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Rumble Strips Rollout in Tennessee

Folks, the State of Tennessee has recently begun aggressively installing rumble strips on state highways, much to the disappointment of bicyclists. And I'm not talking about roads with 4-6' shoulders - that would be GREAT. I'm talking perfectly rideable 2' shoulders, busy roads, deep ditches to the right. These are great connectors to great low-traffic riding roads, and very good bicycle touring roads if you're trying to move fast. Others are commuting routes between suburbs and popular dense work locations. The rumble strips are forcing bicyclists into the roadway, which I know is perfectly within our rights to be in the road, but not somewhere we like to be.

It appears bicycle facilities are only being considered when the road is a designated "bike route". Our bike routes across the state sort of start and stop in irregular intervals, based on traffic volumes and shoulder width. So, any road that's marginally safe causes the "bike route" designation to be dropped in the strangest places. Here is the basic idea on the bike routes designation:
http://www.bikechattanooga.org/Tenne...icycleMap.html
At a minimum, the state should seek input from the bicycling community, really, on any construction project including the installation of rumble strips. And they used to, but the TN State Bike/Ped coordinator is vacant, and has been for some time. (given the economy, it will likely go unfilled...)

OK, I digress. What I'm looking for is alternatives to present to our TDOT. We have the AASHTO guidelines, which really don't apply to a 2' shoulder, or they advise not to install rumble strips on the road at all.
Does anyone know of effective alternatives to the milled style rumble strips, such as bumps in the painted white stripe? That would preserve the passage on the narrow shoulder.

We're still going to ride on these roads, but out in the lane now. Is it reasonable to ask for "Bicycle Sharing Roadway" signs to be placed when rumble strips are installed? I assume if the cost of signs versus the installation of rumble strips is insignificant, they might take us up on it. Maybe "Watch for Bicycles" signs? Does anyone know what signs cost each, including installation?
Lastly, I'm avoiding the negative rant that the state should implement "Sleepy Driver Awareness" programs warning of the hazards of driving while sleepy, or on the cell phone, or all the other stupid things drivers do. I'm stopping here before I work myself up into a lather.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-02-08, 10:18 AM   #2
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google search on sign costs gives this http://www.trafficsign.us/signcost.html

or about $450 - 500 per sign.

I've heard that riding on rumble strips can be therapeutic on long rides - maybe they're just trying to help?

good luck!
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Old 11-02-08, 10:31 AM   #3
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About the alternative: In the Netherlands we have similar things, but integrated in the white stripes on the road. I cannot find any article on it, but I remember them being broken at regular intervals causing the noise.

Also, a less friendly alternative are those little plastic posts. They're quite feeble and are easily run down by a car with a minimum of damage, but hell, they wake you up! Also, cyclists can easily slalom through them.
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Old 11-02-08, 10:52 AM   #4
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build some hexagonal wheels then you can ride in the rumble strips smoothly
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Old 11-02-08, 08:21 PM   #5
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Rumble strips along highways here in Canada tend to be not much wider than the painted line demarcating the shoulder, so they don't reduce the amount of shoulder available, and they keep cagers from drifting onto the shoulder. If done right rumble strips are win win.
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Old 11-02-08, 08:37 PM   #6
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Why don't they place the rumble strips down the center of each lane? If a motorist drifts right, his left wheels will engage the rumble strip, but the shoulder and the fog line, where bicyclists are most likely to be, remain smooth and pristine. This seems like a true win-win to me.
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Old 11-02-08, 08:49 PM   #7
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I guess you'll just have to buy a mountain bike. Rumble strips are horrible on a road bike.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E View Post
Why don't they place the rumble strips down the center of each lane? If a motorist drifts right, his left wheels will engage the rumble strip, but the shoulder and the fog line, where bicyclists are most likely to be, remain smooth and pristine. This seems like a true win-win to me.
Motorcyclists and cyclists who are using the roadway (in lieu of the narrow shoulder) would really hate this idea.

While rumble strips have been shown to reduce the number of drift-off-the-road type accidents for motorists and are often applauded by cyclists for this reason, rumble strips have never been shown to do anything for cyclists safety on these same roads. The only things I've seen rumble strips capable of doing for cyclists is providing a even denser patch of debris to the right of the rumble strip as motorists so infrequently drive there.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies. I sure wish the strips were as wide as the painted line specifically on the roads that are being ruined, either through the way they're milled or pressed, or through the paint texture method. This is also the way they mill them in Mississippi (the shoulders are non-existent on many roads in MS.)

To convince our DOT to change their foot-wide method, I need to find the test results on the effectiveness of the paint or narrow milled methods.

John E, if you mill the center line, cars will tend to cut closer to cyclists while passing, to avoid the center line strips. Though tested and present in some places, it's probably a bad idea.

I like the Thunderhead site. Very cool.

Thanks again for the replies. Still researching...
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Old 11-03-08, 07:27 AM   #10
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We just had this topic pop up on the TCRC message board. Up here in the tri cities area, it is hit and miss as to where the rumble strips have been installed. I road up to Roan mountain state park from Johnson City on 19E and found numerous areas where there was no shoulder and rumble strips. Luckily traffic was very accomodating, but it could easily make for treacherous conditions.

I am contacting my state representative to see what accomodations can be made for the cycling community. The least we can ask for is regulary sweep downs of the shoulder areas and crossover zones with no rumble strips where shoulders end.
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Old 11-03-08, 07:42 AM   #11
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Botts Dots on the white line.
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