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  1. #1
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    If bikes were allowed to use freeways, would that give cycling culture a boost?

    There are some urban areas where the freeway is the only direct route to get through certain barriers such as railroad yards, culdesaacy suburban developments, over other freeways, and over railyard areas.

    Freeways are also the most well known routes and people site them constantly when giving directions to places. They are usually the simplest way to get from one big city to another.

    They are also the fastest route to get through any area and sometimes can be safer than congested arterial streets with no bike lanes.

    If pedestrians and cyclists were all of a sudden allowed to use the America's freeway system in every state and city, what affect would that have on bike culture? Would pedestrians and cyclists not be able to handle it and get killed left and right when trying to use these facilities? Would they even choose to use these facilities? Would there be numerous pileups?

    It seems interesting that America believes so much in freedom, and this was one of our founding principles back when the nation was first created, but now we've made it so hard to get places that it essentially requires us to use a car, drivers licenses, and license plates to do so.

    Cars are basically treated as higher respected transportation over bicycles when they are given these special free-flowing facilities to get anywhere in the U.S. whereas bicycles are not given this.

    I personally believe that allowing pedestrians and bikes to legally use all freeways would create a huge boost for cycling culture and it would really help kill car culture. I know more people would die as a result of it from accidents, but think of how much healthier our nation would be if biking was seen as fully supported by the state and cyclists were allowed to use every road? It would also encourage the states to build safer freeways and lower the speed limits on freeways if they knew that pedestrians and cyclists were allowed to use them.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sledbikes's Avatar
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    youre more than welcome to just dont go *****ing to the government when you get nailed with one of these from a truck doing 70mph
    riding and pimpin again

  3. #3
    umd
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    Bikes are allowed on many freeways around here...

  4. #4
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Why do you assume that freeways would be deadly to cyclist. several western states have sections of freeways open to cyclist without the huge imagined death rates .

    Hawaii only has three short freeways (all on Oahu) opening 2 well designed freeways to cyclist would only improve cycling safety in Hawaii. The original freeway was poorly designed, even for motor traffic and would detract from cyclist safety.

  5. #5
    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    I don't think so, but not because of safety.

    If you live outside a major metropolitan area, traffic is going to be pretty quick, 60-80 miles an hour depending on the location of the country. That would turn 10 minutes of driving into 50 minutes of biking. Most people wouldn't turn to biking as a legitimate form of transportation under those circumstances.

    If you live inside a major metropolitan area, chances are that bike infrastructure exists, and legalizing the freeway use would be moot. (Excluding, of course, Atlanta which seems to have no infrastructure =P) For instance I could bike the freeway here to church... but the bike trail runs parallel to it.

    I don't have experience riding on freeways so I can't comment on their safety. I'm sure they vary widely in that regard, though.

  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I wouldn't mind riding on rural freeways, but I wouldn't do an urban one. Merges are just too frequent and congested on urban freeways for my comfort.

    Curious--what do you do if there's a stopped car blocking the breakdown lane on a freeway?


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  7. #7
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I wouldn't mind riding on rural freeways, but I wouldn't do an urban one. Merges are just too frequent and congested on urban freeways for my comfort.

    Curious--what do you do if there's a stopped car blocking the breakdown lane on a freeway?
    In Arizona we use Interstates because that is the only route. Really sucks when there is construction. Take the lane and use a mirror or pick the bike up and walk around the blockage.

    Urban Freeways will never work as the on/off ramps would require you to go up and back down. Of course stopping for the light your going to get. Merging through the ramps on a rural interstate is hard enough with traffic going 75 mph. Very good lesson how fast one approaches you though.

  8. #8
    This steel horse I ride Skones MickLoud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    If you live outside a major metropolitan area, traffic is going to be pretty quick, 60-80 miles an hour depending on the location of the country. That would turn 10 minutes of driving into 50 minutes of biking. Most people wouldn't turn to biking as a legitimate form of transportation under those circumstances.
    Are you in Arlington, Va? If so, I'd say that those figures are reversed. Anywhere that you can get to in 10 minutes by bicycle will take you 50 by car in Northern Virginia.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skones MickLoud View Post
    Are you in Arlington, Va? If so, I'd say that those figures are reversed. Anywhere that you can get to in 10 minutes by bicycle will take you 50 by car in Northern Virginia.
    Which is why I said outside a major metropolitan area.

    I was thinking rural America or even some really for outlying suburbs.

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I routinely (legally) use the shoulder of I-5 between Gilman and Roselle, because that is the only direct route from Sorrento Valley to UCSD. I enter on one ramp and exit on the next ramp, without having to deal with any admittedly very dangerous weaves, merges, or diverges on the freeway itself. The shoulder is 8 feet wide, marked by a fog line, and well-maintained.

    I have long argued that we should open a parallel stretch of I-805, from Mira Mesa Bl. to La Jolla Village Dr., because that is the only direct route between Sorrento Mesa and University Towne Center. I would propose restricting bicycles to enter on the last available southbound ramp and to exit at the first available opportunity -- likewise for northbound cyclists. Again, this would eliminate the one big safety issue, having to deal with merges, diverges, and weaves.

    Bicyclists also have the right to use the I-5 shoulder enroute between San Diego and Orange Counties, because the only alternate route, an arguably far more pleasant ride through Camp Pendleton, is not always open for us.

    My first choice is a physically separate bicycle freeway parallel to the restricted access motorway, such as we have parallel to SR-56 in Carmel Valley (the one in the northern portion of the City of San Diego, not the one on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula), but these are expensive to build, and the right-of-way simply is not always there. My second choice is to open all of the shoulders / breakdown lanes, even with the requirement that we exit and re-enter at each offramp.

    To me, the greatest single access issue is the typical freeway bridge over a bay or river, such as the Coronado bridge or the various trans-bay bridges in the greater San Francisco area. There are no direct alternate routes for these.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  11. #11
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Bikes are allowed on many freeways around here...
    Yeah, and it creeps me out. On the other hand, it's good for training because I find myself riding rather fast just so I can get the hell off sooner!
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

  12. #12
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    I don't know if I'm ever going to want to spend much time on a freeway. I think I'll just live in places with good cycling infrastructure.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    You can go on a pretty long stretch of freeway in the Camp Pendleton area north of San Diego, if you don't want to go through the base. I don't think it's any less safe where I bike on La Costa Avenue, where the speed limit is 50, but just about everyone is going 65, and there is barely a 3 foot wide bike lane.

  14. #14
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tadawdy View Post
    i don't know if i'm ever going to want to spend much time on a freeway. I think i'll just live in places with good cycling infrastructure.
    +1
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  15. #15
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    No desire to ride them around here. Shoulder is strewn with debris and many have rumble strips cut all the way across the shoulder.

  16. #16
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    It seems interesting that America believes so much in freedom

    1) While technically public, most people your behavior on a freeway can be limited by the operator, usually the government. Presence on a freeway is considered some combination of a right and a privilege.

    2) If absolute freedom is what you really want then the highways should be privately owned and operated without those silly government rules.

    3) Any nation that tolerates no fly lists does not believe in "freedom".
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  17. #17
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    If you want to ride on the freeways in your area then get a group of people and start doing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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  18. #18
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    $10/gal gas will be a boost for cycling culture.
    The freeways will have more room then.
    When fuel prices drop, cycling culture takes a hit.

  19. #19
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    No desire to ride them around here. Shoulder is strewn with debris and many have rumble strips cut all the way across the shoulder.
    Shoulder rumble strips are a huge problem on many non-freeway roads, as well.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  20. #20
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    ... I don't think it's any less safe where I bike on La Costa Avenue, where the speed limit is 50, but just about everyone is going 65, and there is barely a 3 foot wide bike lane.
    We're nearly neighbors, Chaco. PM me if you want to ride sometime -- I have been cycling with the YMCA's MasterFit group on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and with various MeetUp groups at other times.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  21. #21
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    I routinely (legally) use the shoulder of I-5 between Gilman and Roselle, because that is the only direct route from Sorrento Valley to UCSD. I enter on one ramp and exit on the next ramp, without having to deal with any admittedly very dangerous weaves, merges, or diverges on the freeway itself. The shoulder is 8 feet wide, marked by a fog line, and well-maintained.

    I have long argued that we should open a parallel stretch of I-805, from Mira Mesa Bl. to La Jolla Village Dr., because that is the only direct route between Sorrento Mesa and University Towne Center. I would propose restricting bicycles to enter on the last available southbound ramp and to exit at the first available opportunity -- likewise for northbound cyclists. Again, this would eliminate the one big safety issue, having to deal with merges, diverges, and weaves.

    Bicyclists also have the right to use the I-5 shoulder enroute between San Diego and Orange Counties, because the only alternate route, an arguably far more pleasant ride through Camp Pendleton, is not always open for us.

    My first choice is a physically separate bicycle freeway parallel to the restricted access motorway, such as we have parallel to SR-56 in Carmel Valley (the one in the northern portion of the City of San Diego, not the one on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula), but these are expensive to build, and the right-of-way simply is not always there. My second choice is to open all of the shoulders / breakdown lanes, even with the requirement that we exit and re-enter at each offramp.

    To me, the greatest single access issue is the typical freeway bridge over a bay or river, such as the Coronado bridge or the various trans-bay bridges in the greater San Francisco area. There are no direct alternate routes for these.
    I just finished up at UCSD last August and used all of the routes you mentioned at one point or another. I would rather have some sort of elevated or otherwise protected bicycle highway but I would use the freeways if I was allowed to in come places.

  22. #22
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    I would never. Ever. EVER ride my bike on I-95 here in good old central NJ, where people swerve in and out of merges with a cell phone in one hand and a coffee in another. The general flow of traffic is around 85 mph, though the posted speed limit is 60 mph

  23. #23
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/22/p1030472rqr.jpg
    I80 outside Rocksprings, WY Eastbound

    Perfect road. (earplugs)

    I15 northbound Cedar City Utah
    Last edited by wheel; 08-09-09 at 10:45 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    In my part of Cali, all roads, including freeways, are open to bicycle traffic. Speeding traffic is not a huge concerning factor since our local highway patrol is thick as a den of thieves, thanks to extra monies allotted to patrol our area.

  25. #25
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    Sorry when I think of Freeway, I think of...




    I'm barely caught dead driving on that god forsaken road, much less cycling, rofl

    cuz I'd totally ride on what you posted, wheel.

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