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  1. #1
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    Do you ever wish that you could just ride on the freeway?

    I was cruising down a local freeway last night and was thinking about how awesome it would be if freeways in California had a separate bike lane for freeways off to the side..

    Wouldn't have to worry about stupid stoplights, pedestrians, potholes, all of that crap..

    Obviously, it would be dangerous to do with cars flying by you going 80 mph, but If that wasn't the case. I think it would be kind of fun.

    not sure on the legality of doing it, but just a thought.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    It is very noisy, but the draft is nice.
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  3. #3
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    I used to do it in California.

    Part of my commute was on I-5 in San Diego. It was a steep downhill section in the morning, and I frequently would find a Highway Patrol car following me. I would explain the applicable law to the officer and promise them that they would find a "bikes must exit" sign at the next exit. They would escort me down the hill and I would wave to them as we passed the sign. Strangely, crawling up the same hill in the evening never got one concerned CHP officer to stop and talk with me.

    I've also done it while bicycle touring between Ventura and Santa Barbara.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  4. #4
    surfrider
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    If its an interstate hwy (I-15, I-5), you can use them if there is no other reasonable means to travel between two points (Federal highway regulations allow this on federally funded highways). I went from Los Angeles are to Las Vegas in 1998 and used I-15 out in he desert. Lots of trash on the shoulder. ig trucks are not the problem; while they make quite a wind draft when they go by, they are pretty easy to deal with compared to the morons in passenger vehicles heading to Las Vegas. It would definately be do-able in the Central Valley along most parts of I-5 (nice wide shoulders and widely-spaced off ramps), but there's no way I'd want to try it in major metro areas like the Los Angeles basin!

  5. #5
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    I used to do it in California.

    Part of my commute was on I-5 in San Diego. It was a steep downhill section in the morning, and I frequently would find a Highway Patrol car following me. I would explain the applicable law to the officer and promise them that they would find a "bikes must exit" sign at the next exit. They would escort me down the hill and I would wave to them as we passed the sign. Strangely, crawling up the same hill in the evening never got one concerned CHP officer to stop and talk with me.

    I've also done it while bicycle touring between Ventura and Santa Barbara.
    Wait so it IS legal in california..?

    Riding on the side of the freeway? I also live in san diego.. and live right next to the I-5... heh

  6. #6
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FujiKid View Post
    Wait so it IS legal in california..?

    Riding on the side of the freeway? I also live in san diego.. and live right next to the I-5... heh
    You can ride on the 5 freeway instead of going through Camp Pendleton. I've ridden that section a couple of times. It seems like a good idea until you find out how much garbage is on the shoulder of the road and get buzzed by angry car drivers or big trucks.
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  7. #7
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I've been on the freeways in atleast 3 section of California.

  8. #8
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FujiKid View Post
    Wait so it IS legal in california..?

    Riding on the side of the freeway? I also live in san diego.. and live right next to the I-5... heh
    In places. I believe the standard is that if any alternate route is farther than 5 miles in length MINIMUM, then you can take the freeway. In my case it was from Genessee to Sorrento Valley Road, because the only city street routes required riding up to Torrey Pines Road, then to Carmel Valley Rd. and then back down Sorrento Valley Rd. The other alternative was Up Genessee to Miramar to Camino Santa Fe, to Carroll, to Carroll Canyon, Mira Mesa to Sorrento Valley Rd.

    That is also why you can ride the freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara, for parts there simply is no alternative.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    In many parts of the world, riding on the main highways is legal ... and a good option for cyclists. I've ridden main highways in 5 states in Canada, and several places in Australia, including quite close to where I live now. They're usually quite nice because they have wide shoulders.

    But if you want to get away from stop lights and pedestrians, why not ride on a smaller highway out in the country?

  10. #10
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    That is also why you can ride the freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara, for parts there simply is no alternative.
    +1. If there's no good parallel alternative, you can ride on the freeway shoulder. I've ridden many of those roads: I-15 between Escondido and northern San Diego (Rancho Bernardo) is a marked bike route, as is I-5 through Camp Pendleton, and Highway 101 from Ventura to Santa Barbara. Now that I live on the border between Oregon and Washington, I'm near I-84 through the Columbia Gorge. No alternatives there, either.

    Every year Portland shuts down a couple freeway bridges across the Willamette for the Bridge Pedal. It's a blast riding on the freeways:



    Last edited by Jeff Wills; 04-29-11 at 08:09 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Every year Portland shuts down a couple freeway bridges across the Willamette for the Bridge Pedal. It's a blast riding on the freeways:

    ahhhhh such a awesome picture

  12. #12
    Senior Member MNBikeCommuter's Avatar
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    I got to do Bridge Pedal in '03 with a couple of cousins, a beautiful ride!

    The annual North Dakota CANDISC ride has a route that needs to ride on I94 for twenty miles. It seems to freak out a few people that it's legal!

  13. #13
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter View Post
    I got to do Bridge Pedal in '03 with a couple of cousins, a beautiful ride!

    The annual North Dakota CANDISC ride has a route that needs to ride on I94 for twenty miles. It seems to freak out a few people that it's legal!
    Cycle Oregon in 2003 started out in Baker City and went to Farewell Bend in eastern Oregon. A chunk of that was on I-84... I think 2,000 cyclists on the Interstate freaked some drivers out.
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  14. #14
    Nighttime Rider
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    I wish that's what rush hour REALLY looked like.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    There're are sections of I-80 around Reno NV where it's legal and that I rode regularly...

  16. #16
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    The small town where I lieve in the Texas Panhandle does not have city streets that are user friendly for cyclists. First off the paved streets are realitvely short before you hit dirt and gravel roads. Those, of course, are not very good when on a road bike with 3/4" wide tires. Next the cage drivers around here are not terribly coginzent of cyclists. They are to busy chatting with their friends, texting or just generally day-dreaming. There are also lots of dips and/or speed bumps in residential neighborhoods that are a royal PIA when on a bike.

    That leaves me with riding the shoulders of our local hiways as the best option if I want to get any serious mileage in at a respectable speed. While a bit on the scary side at first, our two and four-lane hiways provide virtually a non-stop ride on most of the routes I feel safe in using. I simply haul my bike out to one edge of town or the other with the car and depart from there. The southern route (from Frtich, Tx) allows me to ride nearly 40 miles on a wide two-lane with wide shoulders before encountering city traffic again on the northern edge of Amarillo. Since I am not likely to make many 80-mile rides, that is sufficient for my personal training purposes. That same route also has a couple of two-lane Farm-to-market roads branching off of it that provide a some change of scenery over just riding straight out and back. The FM roads are pretty much totally free of traffic on weekend mornings.

    My eastern route takes me toward the city of Borger on very wide shoulders of a four-lane where I don't encouter much traffic for the first 9 miles. Even then, if I choose a time after rush hour (or at least two hours before) the congestion is minimal. That route can take me as much as 32 miles one way should I follow it to the south side of Borger and then to the next town of Panhandle.

    I can even combine parts of the two main routes to ride a 75-mile loop that is about 60% hills and 40% flat ground. All in all, I have some fairly good choices of riding shoulders of hiways and relatively deserted FM roads most of which give a mix of hills and flat ground. The biggest challenge is getting days when the winds are not blasting along at 20 to 30mph or higher.
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  17. #17
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
    You can ride on the 5 freeway instead of going through Camp Pendleton. I've ridden that section a couple of times. It seems like a good idea until you find out how much garbage is on the shoulder of the road and get buzzed by angry car drivers or big trucks.
    Bingo! I had 2 flats along the freeway going into Santa Barbara. And the noise!! If there was another reasonable alternative, I would have taken it. I hate being anywhere near freeways. There is a very nice bike path going into the city near Pittsburgh. Nice except for the noise, it is along a freeway. I hate riding it but use once in a while because it is safer than the alternative road.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    But if you want to get away from stop lights and pedestrians, why not ride on a smaller highway out in the country?
    Because that wouldn't get me to or from work.

  19. #19
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    Not sure where you live but Fresno is putting on a ride May 21, 2011 and they are closing off 10 miles of hwy 168 for cyclist only. It is called Ca classic weekend.

  20. #20
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I've ridden a lot of freeway miles in Oregon and Washington. Most of the freeways in those two states are legal to ride except in/around cities, where you wouldn't want to ride them anyways because of increased traffic and more frequent exits. On/Off ramps and narrow bridges are the toughest parts of freeway travel for me.

    I don't find riding 10' away from 70 mph traffic any more dangerous than riding 3 feet from 50 mph traffic, which I do to and from work daily.

    I ride with Mr. Tuffies so I rarely flat even on freeways.

    I used to have a commute that included 1.5 miles of illegal-to-bike freeway. Never got popped for it though. The alternative to those 1.5 miles was about 5 miles of meandering through hilly side streets.
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  21. #21
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    One of the major north/south arteries in Toronto is the Don Valley Parkway, known colloquially as the Don Valley Parking lot.
    Every year, they shut it down for a day for the Becel Ride For Heart.
    http://www.rideforheart.ca/faf/home/...?ievent=439756
    One of these years, I'm gonna do that.
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