Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst
I'm a native Texan. I thought "share the road" originated here, but really have no true idea, and presumed/hoped other states advocated for it as well. Wanting to verify some of my earlier claims, I discovered San Antonio adopted the 3 foot rule, not Texas...governor vetoed. I apologize for my misstatements, between all of the various news reports on these issues, it's easy to get confused.
I'm actually quite fortunate that my city is a strong supporter of bicycling. During the last several years bike share was implemented, and there's been an exponential increase in the number of cyclists in the greater downtown core. As a major tourist destination, bike share has also been especially popular with tourists. It's also conducive to cycling that, despite being a major city, San Antonio has retained it's small town feel. With exception to the high-speed suburbs, I feel vehicular cycling in San Antonio is relatively safe...there's minimal on-street parking, major arterials are 4 lanes or 2 extra wide lanes, and many motorists are exceptionally considerate. Perhaps a large reason I'm for vehicular cycling is that, at least to me, the greatest threat is not being seen...something I believe bike lanes and curb hugging don't address, whereas sharrows are a subtle reminder there may be a cyclist ahead.
Regarding the picture, as I'm just a yokel, I'm not sure what you mean by "click to enlarge", lol. You may not know it, but some of these rural interstates are at 80/85 mph now. Rather than intimidating, I view your picture as serene. Yes, the chip-sealed shoulder is quite rough, but with lowered tire pressure it's a non-issue. While riding in rural areas like the picture presented, I take the lane to be more visible to approaching motorists, I might even swerve a few times within my lane to be more visible, then as they near to pass, depending on conditions, I'll either move to the right tire track, or ride in the shoulder. It might seem a bit much, but it works for me. I know many roadies just ride in the shoulder entirely, some places that's best, other places you'll just blend into the roadside scenery. Another thing is that I'm often able to hear approaching vehicles from at least a 1/4 mile away, but I suppose many listen to music instead.
Contrary to many peoples belief, as long as you're looking ahead, there's minimal danger in cresting hills. The exaggerated fear is likely in response to the only experience many cyclists have in this regard, two vehicles closing in on one another at 70 mph...yep, that's very scary, though quite different than a cyclist cresting a hill at 12(?) mph while hearing an approaching vehicle before seeing it, and possibly a cyclist who only crests hills while riding on the shoulder...let alone, roadway design generally minimizes blind crests anyway.
Your mention of farm roads definitely illustrates the bicycling infrastructure problem...it's impossible to put into place everywhere. It also highlights there being more than one type of environment that cyclists ride, which I think many of us forget. The way many riders speak of cycling, I can't help but feel they think there is only one riding style for all conditions, when in fact, and possibly my favorite thing about cycling, is that it is so adaptable.
Last edited by Bike Rat; 07-18-13 at 11:04 PM.
The Retread, Sew, Shave, Sipe, and Stud Specialist
Click on the picture, it becomes bigger and easier to see.Originally Posted by Bike Rat
Aware of rural interstates, would tend to avoid those on a bicycle. I actually rode across Texas on hiway 180 back in 1981 to Fort Worth from Hobbs NM as part of a longer tour.
"Another thing is that I'm often able to hear approaching vehicles from at least a 1/4 mile away, but I suppose many listen to music instead." Agree with you there... have noticed the same thing in many other rural locations, such as Baja, Arizona, Utah, and of course Texas... you can hear cars approaching from quite a distance off.
As far as cycling infrastructure, I think it generally belongs in cities as an alternative for cyclists to avoid high speed wide arterial roads... and I mean real infrastructure, such as wide well designed paths as bike highways interconnecting areas of town just as the arterial roads do. In inner city areas where speed limits are 30MPH or so, nothing is needed except to educate motorists and cyclists that they must share the roads... same thing in residential areas.
This could all be done by following the Copenhagen model and teaching "road use and sharing" in public schools along with the 3 other Rs. School/governments et. al. fail the American public by ignoring this bit of education and expecting 6 weeks of "drivers ed" to be sufficient for a life long activity.
I'm gonna keep harping about that damn sign as every motorist with a license should already know this. Why do we have to tell them again?