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  1. #1
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Crossing an "on" ramp.

    One of the routes I take is a 4 lane arterial (40mph limit). Where it crrosses the interstate, there is an enterance ramp off the interstate onto the arterial. Needless to say the drivers coming off the interstate are entering traffic at well over 40.

    I've heard two conflicting proposals for crossing the on ramp while travelling on the arterial

    1. Stay in the through lane moving toward the middle of the through lane where the "on" ramp intersects; or

    2. Cross the on ramp and ride back onto the arterial using the right side of the ramp.

    So- who prefers what method and why?

  2. #2
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    I have no experience with that kind of situations, but won't your second alternative be best, as you don't have to navigate in traffic from several directions and at different speeds?

  3. #3
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Before the intersection, are you riding in the right lane already, or on the shoulder?
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  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    if I'm on the shoulder, I ride to where I can cross on/off ramps at a 90 degree angle. Otherwise you really might as well act like you would in a car, there isn't much choice in this case

  5. #5
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I use whichever method works best for the traffic at that particular time.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I have one of these that is a merging lane for getting both on and off the freeway at a bridge that crosses the freeway. The marked speed is 35 MPH but drivers tend to do 40 there as there are no visual or other obstructions and the motorists are either speeding up to get on the freeway or just coming off the freeway. Now the irony is that this same merge on off lane is also on my way to my favorite pub.

    On the way to the pub, or when I have not been drinking, I take the lane and negotiate with motorists, watching carefully for the fast motorists coming off the freeway. Due to the far right lane being either an on or off ramp, I tend to ride to the far left of that lane, which puts me just outside of the thru lanes which tend to have faster traffic. (effectively this is 3 lanes going either way on this arterial road, with the far right lane dedicated to traffic merging on and off the freeway.) Where the motorists merge the speeds are not bad as they are negotiating with each other... but then they are not looking for cyclists at that point either... right where traffic comes off the freeway speeds tend to be fast.

    By staying to the left I have lots of options about where to go if things go sour. I have seen cyclists try to go to the right of the merge lane and hug the curb, but they always get trapped and have to make an escape where the merge lane goes on to the freeway.

    Now the flip side is crossing this same bridge after a few pints. I don't try to negotiate with traffic. Period. I go into rolling ped mode and ride the sidewalk. There are crosswalks perpendicular to the ramps and a sidewalk parallel to the merge lane. I go right up to the ramps, ensure that there is no traffic coming and then go quickly across. I do this for all 4 crossings. I figure I am the hazard after a few pints, so I do this to minimize my exposure to traffic.

    So bottom line, I merge with traffic but stay to the left of the merging area when I am moving fast and can negotiate with traffic; I become a rolling ped and cross perpendicular to the ramps when I can't negotiate with traffic.


    BTW this merge area bridge crossing is used locally by an LCI as his "ultimate lesson." Do it right and you flow with traffic, do it wrong and you get trapped by traffic.
    Last edited by genec; 05-12-12 at 03:47 PM.

  7. #7
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Depends on how much of the on-ramp I can see. If it's a loop and there are no trees in the middle of the loop I'll just roll fast as possible as if the on-ramp isn't even there. If limited visibility or lots of traffic I stop, and cross close to 90 degrees as per unterhausen.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  8. #8
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    We have one where they are entering at 60 mph...Got to be very alert.

    IMG_2893.jpg
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  9. #9
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    The worst are two-lane on/off ramps. Gotta be REAL careful around those!

    (I've got about 400 Interstate miles under my belt and they still freak me out.)
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  10. #10
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
    Before the intersection, are you riding in the right lane already, or on the shoulder?
    No shoulder to speak of, it's over the bridge in the RL then the ramp entering. (I'm riding about 2'-3' to the left of the fog line).
    Last edited by delcrossv; 05-12-12 at 08:25 PM.

  11. #11
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    Without seeing the merge in question, I'll make comments of different set possibilities.

    From the OP, this sounds basically like the arterial has 2 lanes in each direction, the ramp merges into the right lane, and the arterial continues with 2 lanes in each direction. In this case, I would normally choose (i) just stay in your lane on the arterial.

    If you cut over in to the exit ramp in this case, you'll just have to merge back on to the arterial lane you just left, but you'll have to yield to arterial traffic instead of having the ROW if you'd stayed on it. If the arterial traffic is light, they can pass you on the second lane. If the Interstate and the arterial have heavier traffic cutting across the ramp will just make you harder to predict.

    If the exit off the Interstate is followed by an entrance ramp back on, I would definitely stay on the arterial and avoid the off ramp and on ramp. (I've seen other bicyclists try to make 2 merges - it's not fun.)

    If the exit ramp continues as an additional lane on the arterial (it becomes wider), you have more incentive to take the ongoing right lane. (This is common locally, but the OP did not mention any additional lanes on the arterial after the exit ramp.)

  12. #12
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeloDolce View Post
    Without seeing the merge in question, I'll make comments of different set possibilities.

    From the OP, this sounds basically like the arterial has 2 lanes in each direction, the ramp merges into the right lane, and the arterial continues with 2 lanes in each direction. In this case, I would normally choose (i) just stay in your lane on the arterial.

    If you cut over in to the exit ramp in this case, you'll just have to merge back on to the arterial lane you just left, but you'll have to yield to arterial traffic instead of having the ROW if you'd stayed on it. If the arterial traffic is light, they can pass you on the second lane. If the Interstate and the arterial have heavier traffic cutting across the ramp will just make you harder to predict.

    If the exit off the Interstate is followed by an entrance ramp back on, I would definitely stay on the arterial and avoid the off ramp and on ramp. (I've seen other bicyclists try to make 2 merges - it's not fun.)

    If the exit ramp continues as an additional lane on the arterial (it becomes wider), you have more incentive to take the ongoing right lane. (This is common locally, but the OP did not mention any additional lanes on the arterial after the exit ramp.)
    That's right. 2 lanes each way and the enterance ramp merges into the right "through" lane. A lot of the traffic is then turning right a couple of blocks down so I have to get off the far right later anyway. (Line up behind the right turners toward the left of the lane as there's no turn lane there)

    Thanks, that sounds reasonable unless the on ramp traffic is really heavy- then I think I should wait for a gap, yes?.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 05-13-12 at 08:42 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    street view of the actual intersection:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=42.143...G5HIupRwrdGL6g
    Last edited by delcrossv; 05-14-12 at 08:47 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    street view of the actual intersection:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=42.143...G5HIupRwrdGL6g
    That's ugly. I think I would stop by the light pole and sprint straight across to the shoulder when it was clear.

    Here's one in my area that I really try and avoid...the on-ramp turns into a right turn only lane.

  15. #15
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    CommuteOrlando weighs in.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  16. #16
    Senior Member kalliergo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    CommuteOrlando weighs in.
    Yeah. Good vehicular cycling. Glad I don't have to do it there.

    And both del's and ben's street views are ugly. If traffic is really heavy, I usually do the "cross at right angles" thing at ramps like that.
    "What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles?. . . In that case, we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles."

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  17. #17
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Those street views look easy to me, they both have shoulders to wait in. Here's the nasty kind. No shoulders, kinda narrow lanes and the triangle is all curbed so you can't even easily move to the dirt to wait.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=portla...13,274.27,,0,0

    Luckily the exit loop is pretty tight so they don't roll too fast offa there, maybe 50 mph or so.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    Thanks, that sounds reasonable unless the on ramp traffic is really heavy- then I think I should wait for a gap, yes?.
    If there are shoulders on the road before and after the ramp, you may be able to wait for a gap. In this case, you can decide on (i) how comfortable you are in the lane, and (ii) whether motorists or police attach any weight to the obligation of drivers on the ramp to yield to traffic (including you) on the road.

    Given a choice, it sounds simpler to me to ride in the straight traffic lane until you are past the merge. Then you can move on to the shoulder if you think it is safe or convenient. If motorists think you are required to use any shoulder (varies by state) or police consider motor vehicles to have the right of way and bicyclists at fault in any collision (depends on officer), you may want to give up the right of way if it is not enforceable.

  19. #19
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    If I'm understanding you correctly, then option 1 (generally). I always include the caveat that "it depends on the situation". Ugly situation though. Certainly not fun. I'd definitely consider inconveniencing myself with another route, but if you are posting here about it I'm guessing that isn't really an option for you.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  20. #20
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    I dont have one set method. I have several of these, and how I cross them depends on the conditions at the moment.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

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