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  1. #1
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    How would you deal with this interchange?

    The most dangerous portion of my commute is a short stretch of on-ramps and off-ramps. I'm interested in seeing, if you encountered them, what you would do.

    This is the spot: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=weymou...01563&t=k&z=18

    I go either direction (to and from work), but it's busiest in the afternoon when I'm heading northbound (from the bottom to the top of the map). What I've been doing, which has worked but I'm always looking to be safer, has been to ride on the shoulder (it's nice quality) up to a bit before the onramp. If you look furthur down on the map, you'll see a big intersection. It's all downhill from that intersection to the on-ramp. As I approach it, I put my hand out, palm facing backwards in a "Don't pass" type of gesture and move out into the lane. Once I get free from the ramp I move back onto the shoulder. I do it for the next onramp you see as well.

    If you were to encounter this, what would your course of action be?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    MA must be vastly different. Around here, you just don't see a bicycle on an on-ramp. Dangerous to ride on. Cars don't expect to see bikes on these sharp turns and usually take them too fast, and too late to see a bike. Any alternative route?
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  3. #3
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    That's not a "Don't pass" signal, it's a "Left turn" signal letting motorists know that you are moving left into the lane. Sounds like you have a good handle on this situation.
    You are never on a ramp; you are on the highway passing by on- and off-ramps.
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    Yeah, sorry for the confusion MNBikeguy. I'm not using the onramps, just passing them (but cars are using them and entering them at ~35-40 mph).

    Thanks for the thoughts, JanMM. I imagined with my palm toward them it signaled different intent, but I suppose that would be hard to notice from a car. I guess as long as the "I'm going to do something crazy, back off for a second" idea got to them, it's good enough.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    I would not go through that interchange.

    I would ride on either of the roads to the east or west, Front St or Middle St look nicer.

    If I *had* to go through the interchange, I would ride the shoulder, approach the ramp. If no traffic is approaching the ramp or traveling up it, I would cross it at a 90 degree. Then proceed on the shoulder to the next ramp.
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  6. #6
    Flying and Riding sam21fire's Avatar
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    On long tours out west riding on the freeways is often the only practical option. Riding past on/off ramps there is similar to how mikeybikes describes it...close to 90 degrees and get it done quick.

  7. #7
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    I would not go through that interchange.

    I would ride on either of the roads to the east or west, Front St or Middle St look nicer.

    If I *had* to go through the interchange, I would ride the shoulder, approach the ramp. If no traffic is approaching the ramp or traveling up it, I would cross it at a 90 degree. Then proceed on the shoulder to the next ramp.
    I would go through that intersection if I had to, but Front St gives a nice alternative. Have you tried that?
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  8. #8
    Bikus Commuterus CFXMarauder's Avatar
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    Front or middle St would be my choice..The overfly caught a traffic accident.lol..

  9. #9
    Senior Member twinquad's Avatar
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    I'm voting for Front St. I guess the left turn from Main to West could be a little hairy, so here's your guide to hairy left turns.
    Last edited by twinquad; 07-06-11 at 08:56 AM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unreasonable View Post
    As I approach it, I put my hand out, palm facing backwards in a "Don't pass" type of gesture and move out into the lane. Once I get free from the ramp I move back onto the shoulder. I do it for the next onramp you see as well.

    If you were to encounter this, what would your course of action be?
    I would do the same thing you are doing, merging into the lane in advance of the interchange when a gap allows or drivers slow to give me space. If riding it at night, I'd use a very bright blinky and additional reflectors to assist with visibility.

    Check out http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/...c-interchange/ for similar examples and relevant discussion.

    I ride through this interchange fairly often:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Tryon+...97641&t=h&z=17

    The ramp configuration is different from yours, so I'm able to merge into the joining lanes and get to the right of faster traffic without too much difficulty. The joining lane followed by an immediate diverging lane that you are experiencing is less pleasant and really requires controlling the through lane. Some communities design the joining lanes with tighter turn radii to slow traffic, which can improve conditions for bicyclists.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 07-06-11 at 09:28 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    If I *had* to go through the interchange, I would ride the shoulder, approach the ramp. If no traffic is approaching the ramp or traveling up it, I would cross it at a 90 degree. Then proceed on the shoulder to the next ramp.
    Agree with this. As long as there is no one coming, this is the least dangerous option.

  12. #12
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    If I *had* to go through the interchange, I would ride the shoulder, approach the ramp. If no traffic is approaching the ramp or traveling up it, I would cross it at a 90 degree. Then proceed on the shoulder to the next ramp.
    ^^This. I've crossed lots of such interchanges whilst touring. I stay on the shoulder and cross the on and off ramps at an angle where I see the upcoming traffic without having to turn my head too far (I'd guess it's more like 45 degrees) but which gets me across QUICKLY.
    This can even entail stopping and waiting for a gap in the traffic - more often at the off ramp. The cars on the on ramp are more aware of my VERY distinct right arm signal indicating I want to cross the on ramp lane as they generally are more focused on checking the traffic on the highway.

    If there is little to no traffic I'll just bomb across being VERY aware of what's behind me or coming up from the side.

    Nope I don't take the lane on this kind of road. Maybe if you're hammering along at 30 mph + that would change things...

  13. #13
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    I would not signal going over that interchange. As another poster pointed out, signalling with your left arm straight out is indication of a lane change or a left turn. You are not doing either.

    I also would not stop and try to cross at a 90 deg angle. If the traffic is anything like it is in my city, you can end up standing there for a long time before the traffic is clear. It also creates the expectation in some motorist's mind that cyclists are supposed to stop and wait for them to get on the highway.

    I would stay on the shoulder but would get closer to the line as you get closer to the ramps. Then go straight across the ramp just like any other vehicle going straight would do. It would be unreasonable for a motorist to think you are going to enter the freeway since bicycles are strictly prohibited. Common sense should tell them that you are going straight. Since many people lack common sense, be on the look out for right hooks.

  14. #14
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    Front, Middle, Summer... Is there some compelling reason why you travel this road through there? I would avoid that intersection, seeing as there appear to be other, safer, options.
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
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  15. #15
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    I also would not stop and try to cross at a 90 deg angle...

    ... Since many people lack common sense, be on the look out for right hooks.
    I agree, up to a certain point. However, when traffic is too fast and intense the cars won't be expecting a bicycle coming from the hard shoulder to cross their lane, and won't be able to slow down.

    In these situations I don't care if they "should" slow down. I'd rather be sure I'm not gonna be hit. If this means stopping and waiting for a safe gap, so be it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesworld View Post
    Front, Middle, Summer... Is there some compelling reason why you travel this road through there? I would avoid that intersection, seeing as there appear to be other, safer, options.
    To those asking, the reason I wasn't using the roundabout routes were just that. I'm lazy and like a straight shot.

    The interchange doesn't scare me, so I'm not looking to avoid it at all costs, I was just seeing what others would do to deal with it. I'll probably try riding some of those quieter roads as well though, just to see how it feels.

  17. #17
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unreasonable View Post
    To those asking, the reason I wasn't using the roundabout routes were just that. I'm lazy and like a straight shot.

    The interchange doesn't scare me, so I'm not looking to avoid it at all costs, I was just seeing what others would do to deal with it. I'll probably try riding some of those quieter roads as well though, just to see how it feels.
    I feel ya. I'm lazy too, but that intersection scares the crap out of me
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
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  18. #18
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesworld View Post
    I feel ya. I'm lazy too, but that intersection scares the crap out of me

    There are much worse. Here is the freeway overpass that I go over twice every day that I commute:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=sacram...04474&t=k&z=18

    What makes it dangerous is the dedicated freeway on-ramp lanes. If you are on the shoulder then you must cross the lane to stay on the road because the right lane enters the freeway. If you get stuck on the side of the road waiting for traffic, you can be there for 15 minutes waiting for it to clear during rush hour because two lanes have to be clear, not just one.

    Even with 3 lanes going in each direction and a bicycle lane, some drivers still can't help but creep into the bicycle lane and buzz by.

  19. #19
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoDoug View Post
    There are much worse. Here is the freeway overpass that I go over twice every day that I commute:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=sacram...04474&t=k&z=18

    What makes it dangerous is the dedicated freeway on-ramp lanes. If you are on the shoulder then you must cross the lane to stay on the road because the right lane enters the freeway. If you get stuck on the side of the road waiting for traffic, you can be there for 15 minutes waiting for it to clear during rush hour because two lanes have to be clear, not just one.

    Even with 3 lanes going in each direction and a bicycle lane, some drivers still can't help but creep into the bicycle lane and buzz by.
    Wow. No thanks to that one too. I don't think I'd ride if I had to do that.
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
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  20. #20
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unreasonable View Post
    To those asking, the reason I wasn't using the roundabout routes were just that. I'm lazy and like a straight shot.

    The interchange doesn't scare me, so I'm not looking to avoid it at all costs, I was just seeing what others would do to deal with it. I'll probably try riding some of those quieter roads as well though, just to see how it feels.
    Well, I would bypass that mess. It doesn't look like it would cost all that much more in distance. But if you insist, then get a good mirror and check behind you religiously to try to avoid getting squished.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    Well, I would bypass that mess. It doesn't look like it would cost all that much more in distance. But if you insist, then get a good mirror and check behind you religiously to try to avoid getting squished.
    That seems like a good goal to have, so will do! I'm going to try out the other roads, just to see if it doesn't feel much different.

    And SactoDoug... that interchange is awful. I would probably pull into the rightmost lane heading straight and be very liberal in taking the lane.

  22. #22
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    I have to deal with this sometimes, and it's important to be able to think about such situations because if it comes up unexpectedly you won't be able to stop and think then.

    If I come upon the original poster's interchange, I would ride the shoulder until near the end and whenever there is a gap in traffic. (As someone else mentioned, a mirror is really helpful when dealing with high-speed traffic and looking for gaps.) Then I would move into the right side of the right lane and get back in the shoulder asap. I don't want to stop because then I have to accelerate quickly from zero which is hard. It also depends where most cars are headed; if I know few cars turn right I'd be more comfortable riding the shoulder until the end.

    Lanes like this are very wide, typically at least 13 feet (cars are 6.5, plus 3' buffer space, plus 4' cyclist space). I generally hate wide lanes because they encourage faster driving and unsafe passing/buzzing, but in this situation it also means that there is room for drivers to pass cyclists in the lane. So if you get someone doing that get ready for the right hook, but most drivers would slow down to let you go.

    In the Sacramento example, I guess I would control the right lane as soon as the road tapers, then move left and control that lane until I could get in the shoulder.

    Right-angle crossing is only useful in terms of improving visibility. The idea is you get away from the curve, to a spot where drivers would be looking in your direction. IMO this means you should cross on-ramps at the beginning, when drivers see you and aren't yet accelerating. For off-ramps be aware that most cars are looking for traffic in your direction, so get in/near the lane to be most visible; if you cross at a right angle just make sure it's at a spot where drivers can't yet see oncoming traffic (so they're looking at you).

  23. #23
    Acts 2:38 rex_kramer's Avatar
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    My morning fun:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.38435,-121.962858&spn=0.002577,0.004128&t=h&z=19&layer=t&lci=com.panoramio.all,com.google.webcams


    The most important thing to me is to make sure they see me (Radbot 1000, flasher and helmet lamp) and that's hardest when I make it to the apex of the overpass. Drivers may be looking back to get onto the freeway, while those coming off the freeway may be looking back to merge. The first part where the expressway breaks (southbound) to a side street and then to the double lane on-ramp is actually easy with all that runway -- it's easy to find a sizable gap. Still, people react in all sorts of weird ways and no cloverleaf should ever be looked at as routine. The worst overpasses, of course, are those that include drivers that cut you off because they can't be held up five extra seconds for a cyclist. Today's uber moron had no lights on (its still plenty dark at 5:30 am), didn't signal and cut me off within 40 feet of the northbound on-ramp.

    I deal with this so that I DON'T have to deal with all the skunks roaming my favorite trail in the morning.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Don't think I know of an interchange like that in this area where bicycles are legal.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  25. #25
    Senior Member SactoDoug's Avatar
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    Here is how I navigated that overpass yesterday. It isn't too difficult now that I figured out the best way to do it. And yes, I break a number of rules.

    In the morning:


    In the evening:
    Last edited by SactoDoug; 07-07-11 at 07:22 AM.

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