I used to live in Edison and only commuted a few times to work, about 25 miles each way, mainly because of my fear of car congestion in this area. Recently moved closer to work, now only 15 miles away in Somerset county, but have also only commuted to worked a few times. I still find the roads too windy and narrow especially around rush hour. My office and home is near I78, but I rarely see bike commuters. Are there many of you in this area commuting a few times a month to work? If so, what are your strategies to avoid the traffic and ensuring safety? I would like to commute more next year, as the loss of daylight is a deterrent for me to consider it till the spring.
I used to work in Branchburg and commuting there was terrible at times. I know a lot of the roads do not have shoulders in the 'rural' areas. I tried to stick to the residential streets which are better than the main roads.
Side note: I used to have a NJ DOT permit to ride on Rte. 78 way back when it did not connect to Pennsylvania or through Watchung Reservation so traffic was light. Now riding on Rte. 78 would be insanity.
Check the NJ Drivers' manual. It has a list of roads where bikes are not permitted. The list is very short. I remember
- Garden State Parkway
- NJ Turnpike
- NJ 18 south of Old Bridge or so
and a few others. Roads where bikes are prohibited are roads I wouldn't want to ride anyway, so I have no problem with the law. Twice, I road between Maplewood and Hoboken, and it's a hellish ride. I had to cross a few exit and entrance ramps where vehicles were moving at 70 mph. I would not recommend this to anyone.
If so, what are your strategies to avoid the traffic and ensuring safety?
Riding before/after the traditional "rush hour" should help. E.g., get to work by 7:30am, leave after 6:30pm. I think you'll find traffic also takes a dip when K-12 schools are closed for summer, i.e., late June through Labor Day. Otherwise bright clothing, lights, riding defensively, and whatever else you'll learn in the commuter forum.
Grew up in EB and commuted to my place of work (JFK) three times a week. Was risky but already been using a bicycle as standard mode of transportation for four years prior. It is all upto your riding style and learning what works for you. I would recommend avoiding main roads but are okay to just pass over at an X. Lol, no bueno just cruising down Rte.1. As mentioned NJ loves their cars, people around here are addicted and also dicks.