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:
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.