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Old 06-02-14, 06:37 PM   #1
mrtuttle04
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MUP or 4-Lane

Which would you rather ride on a busy MUP or a busy 4-lane road. This is a choice I face on one of the routes I ride regularly.
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Old 06-02-14, 07:12 PM   #2
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Which would you rather ride on a busy MUP or a busy 4-lane road. This is a choice I face on one of the routes I ride regularly.
Each has advantages and drawbacks compared to the other. The decision would depend on the details. Ride each for a week or so, and decide.
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Old 06-02-14, 07:14 PM   #3
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If there was a shoulder, the 4-laner. MUPs are worse than sidewalks to me
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Old 06-02-14, 07:33 PM   #4
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I answered that one last week for myself. I needed to pick up some boards at a hardware store a couple of miles away. If I would have stayed on the bike path, I could have gotten within five blocks of the store. However, this sidepath-style bike path not only has several intersections, but one must yield to vehicles that are overtaking you and turning across your path. In addition to that, at several of the intersections they have moved the path route so that it is thirty feet up the cross street, so you can't even see the vehicles you are supposed to yield to. I chose to simply take the right lane the whole way. This was by far the safest and most pleasant way to go.

Two things to note. I was in California at the time. Had I been home in Oregon, which has a mandatory side-path law, I would not have been legally allowed to ride on the roadway. Also, those last five blocks will be undergoing a road diet this summer, so next time I won't be taking the lane for the entire trip since the that section of road will change from two lanes each way to bike lanes on both sides, one travel lane each way and a two-way left turn lane in the middle.
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Old 06-02-14, 07:35 PM   #5
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Depends how busy the 4-lane road is. Safety is always #1 . If 4 lane road is dangerous at certain times of the day, I would avoid it, suck it up and go on the MUP. In my area, the MUP is only busy on the weekends. During the weekdays, it's pretty much dead other than a few joggers here and there.
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Old 06-03-14, 06:23 AM   #6
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Safety is always a tradeoff with desire, necessity, practicality, and expedience, otherwise you'd just stay home and ride your trainer in the basement. As others have said, the choice between the highway or mup would depend on a many specific factors and how you would weigh each one.
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Old 06-03-14, 07:34 AM   #7
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If judging by my locale, the busy 4 lane road......our local MUPs have poor lines of sight with peds that are unpredictable in their lane positioning on the MUP. As bad as the local motorists are, they are better at telegraphing their punches.
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Old 06-03-14, 07:43 AM   #8
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I chose the MUP this weekend. Busy 4-lane to Lowe's or busy MUP to Home Depot. The 4-lane features highway ramps, some conflict choke points, high speed, hills - exciting. The MUP is a mile or two longer, slow but no stoplights. I was feeling laid back and went to Home Depot. It's usually a toss-up, nice to have a choice and we can follow our instincts.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:13 AM   #9
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...... or busy MUP to Home Depot.
....at least your MUP goes to a business district of sorts, rather than like ours that intersect with remote scenic outlooks. To even get to our MUPs, I have to negotiate several miles of busy roads and passing by several business districts in the process.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:22 AM   #10
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....at least your MUP goes to a business district of sorts, rather than like ours that intersect with remote scenic outlooks. To even get to our MUPs, I have to negotiate several miles of busy roads and passing by several business districts in the process.
When I moved last summer, the trail-head next to the apartment buildings was one factor so I tend to use the MUP more than otherwise would be the case. It not only exits to several business areas but also ends close to work.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:25 AM   #11
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When I moved last summer, the trail-head next to the apartment buildings was one factor so I tend to use the MUP more than otherwise would be the case. It not only exits to several business areas but also ends close to work.
A good "move" on your part.
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Old 06-03-14, 08:38 AM   #12
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Whichever option on which you feel safer. If it's prime jogging time and weather, I'd probably choose the road. Otherwise, I'd stick to the MUP.
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Old 06-03-14, 09:00 AM   #13
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Time and day are significant factors, my start times at work change depending on day and work load. I don't use the local MUT for my commute, but 2/3 of it is on 4 lane roads, sometimes I take the lane in the sections with no bike lane, sometimes I use the sidewalk. It all depends on how heavy traffic is.
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Old 06-03-14, 10:16 AM   #14
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I'm extremely skilled at riding in heavy traffic on bad roads. But just because I can do it to doesn't mean I want to. As FB says, it depends on the details, but a path can be nice if it's safe and quiet and gets me where I'm going. I don't mind most idiots on paths, because the worst case scenario isn't so bad. I might collide with a bike or a body, but I'll probably survive that. I'm also good at predicting other people, so I'm pretty ready for most things. I haven't been at fault in a collision in a very long time.
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Old 06-03-14, 10:24 AM   #15
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Depends on the user mix on each. And sometimes just how busy for the roadway. Busy streets get worse and worse until they suddenly get much better for cyclists. E.g. clogged to the point where cars cannot go fast.

Also it can be that one is better for 95% plus of the route, but one or 2 cross streets trump everything. That one can go either way. I've seen MUPs that are nice except for small sections where pedestrian traffic crosses and merges in unpredictable ways. Fortunately the worst spot is on a beach bike path and being reduced to a pedestrian on wheels is much less aggravating when the scenery is nice (and there is far less temptation to try to get through too fast).

OH and of course it makes a difference why you are riding. Commuting to work is different from just out for a spin. And if late for the former it becomes a no brainer unless the signal timing is exceptionally strange.
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Old 06-03-14, 11:30 AM   #16
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Depends on the user mix on each. And sometimes just how busy for the roadway. Busy streets get worse and worse until they suddenly get much better for cyclists. E.g. clogged to the point where cars cannot go fast.

Also it can be that one is better for 95% plus of the route, but one or 2 cross streets trump everything. That one can go either way. I've seen MUPs that are nice except for small sections where pedestrian traffic crosses and merges in unpredictable ways. Fortunately the worst spot is on a beach bike path and being reduced to a pedestrian on wheels is much less aggravating when the scenery is nice (and there is far less temptation to try to get through too fast).

OH and of course it makes a difference why you are riding. Commuting to work is different from just out for a spin. And if late for the former it becomes a no brainer unless the signal timing is exceptionally strange.
Pretty much this. My commute is 3 miles of neighborhood streets (most with a bike lane), 4 miles of MUP, 2 more miles of neighborhoods, and 2 miles of 4 lane highway with a pretty narrow, but usable (and usually rather gravel strewn) shoulder.

The MUP is pretty crowded on nice days, and there are a few blind corners that also happen to be under very dark bridges that I have learned to slow way down as I'm approaching. I occasionally have issues with the local traffic in the area by the school I pass by (usually parents not paying attention as they are looking to pick up their kids, and randomly stop in the road/bike lane...).

I might try the highway most of the way home some time, as it's got a good shoulder, sharrows or bikelanes the whole way, and there's only about 3 miles of it that's 55 mph, then it quickly drops to 40 mph or less.
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Old 06-03-14, 11:46 AM   #17
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Since I have a balance issue. The 15mph speed limit on a MUP, is not good for me. So I ride on the road, where I can ride faster. The speed limit on the roads around the county, are 15-45mph.
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Old 06-04-14, 07:56 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone for your response. Most of the Pittsburgh Hertage Trail (40 miles of MUP) have adjacent two and four lane roads. I do make my decision on which to ride on a day-to-day basis. However, since a pedestrian ran me off the trail into a poll last fall, I tend to ride the roads more often. Also, this year, I have worked up to the point where I can maintain over 15 mph so staying on the roads reslove the speadding issue.
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