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  1. #1
    Kamek ralph12's Avatar
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    Shoulder or traffic lane--How to decide?

    There is a portion of my route to work that sort of confounds me. I don't really know which part of the roadway is better to ride in. This is a 4-lane urban road, where drivers are usually going about 45 MPH. There is a paved shoulder. However, it varies in width from about 8 to 3 feet, and has a LOT of driveways behind it. What I lately have been riding in the traffic lane, and pulling off to the shoulder to let faster traffic pass (without stopping), then going back in the lane when it's clear. Also, this shoulder turns into a freeway on-ramp further down the line. I always merge into the traffic lane before this happens. Fitting a road of this description, where and how would you ride?

  2. #2
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Ride the way you are most comfortable and more importantly, feel/are safe.
    Sounds to me like you already have it figured out !

  3. #3
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    If the shoulder is free from debris, I would do just what you are doing. The more rocks, glass, bungee cords, and car parts lying on the shoulder, the more time I spend playing with the traffic.

  4. #4
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph12 View Post
    There is a portion of my route to work that sort of confounds me. I don't really know which part of the roadway is better to ride in. This is a 4-lane urban road, where drivers are usually going about 45 MPH. There is a paved shoulder. However, it varies in width from about 8 to 3 feet, and has a LOT of driveways behind it. What I lately have been riding in the traffic lane, and pulling off to the shoulder to let faster traffic pass (without stopping), then going back in the lane when it's clear. Also, this shoulder turns into a freeway on-ramp further down the line. I always merge into the traffic lane before this happens. Fitting a road of this description, where and how would you ride?
    Sounds good to me.

    Some people might say if the shoulder is good enough when people need to pass, it's good enough when they don't, so just stay there. Baloney to that, I say. When fsdt (faster same direction traffic) is present, they act as a shield and make riding in the shoulder safer than it is when fsdt is not present (especially due to the driveways). So, it makes sense to do what you do: ride in the traffic lane when fsdt is not present, temporarily move into the shoulder when they are approaching and present, then move out again after they pass. A mirror helps a lot to do this.

  5. #5
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    when traffic is steady and the shoulder is good, riding in the shoulder is exactly where head, ralph, john or anyone else would be riding.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    when traffic is steady and the shoulder is good, riding in the shoulder is exactly where head, ralph, john or anyone else would be riding.
    If the intersections see a fair amount of use, I'd prefer to be in the right lane and let traffic go around me. There's a passing lane so the delay won't be long. If the intersections are mostly residential driveways I may reconsider if the sightlines to the driveways are good. I'd skip the sections of 3 foot shoulder most likely as well.

  7. #7
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    If the intersections see a fair amount of use, I'd prefer to be in the right lane and let traffic go around me. There's a passing lane so the delay won't be long. If the intersections are mostly residential driveways I may reconsider if the sightlines to the driveways are good. I'd skip the sections of 3 foot shoulder most likely as well.
    Yeah, the more frequent are the driveway intersections, the more right hook and left cross fodder the cyclist in the shoulder becomes.

  8. #8
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    This sounds similar to Rt. 9 in Hadley, MA, where I travel often. I ride in the travel lane I'm not shy about it. Anyone who wants to pass has a whole other lane to do it in. When I approach the highway on-ramp, I move to the left side of the lane (not the left lane) to allow cars taking the ramp to get by on my right. That way they won't try to swerve around on my left. After I've passed the on-ramp, I move back to the right side of lane.

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