I do the overwhelming majority of my riding in the lane. I also go out of my way to avoid roads with speed limits that exceed 30-35 mph. Most of my typical routes are on streets with speed limits of about 25-30 mph. I believe good route planning is among the three most important bicycle commuting skills, and good route planning means avoiding high speed streets whenever possible, even if it adds some distance to the ride.
Originally Posted by joejeweler
While I feel that, in general, the lane is the safest place to ride (absent well implemented bike infrastructure), I recognize that there are circumstances that make it less safe than other options. When high speed streets are unavoidable, especially streets with speed limits of 40 or more, if there is no bike lane, I ride on the sidewalk (or shoulder). If there's no sidewalk (or shoulder), I'll ride in parking lots or on the grass where a sidewalk would be.
Sure, I have a right to the lane, but I don't feel that the increased closing speeds allow me to assert my right safely. I've had some close calls in the lane on such roads, including one time where I heard the chirping of tires on a swerving SUV just before it screamed by, his paint only 2-3 inches away from my bar. I have no idea how my head escaped his passenger side mirror.
I usually ride where the closing speeds are lowest. On most roads I ride, that means in the lane, but when closing speeds are lower on the sidewalk, I make no apologies for pedaling there.
You sound like a sensible rider, and were my route to include the lower 25-30mph speeds you mention i might very well ride the road here and feel safe in doing so. But 40-45mph in usually heavy traffic is just taking on way to much risk for the conditions present. LOTS of heavy trucks and buses also.....
Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r
The main routes i travel are east and west, and these are all pretty much higher speed roads. The north south roads are much better, and i often use those roads when i'm out garage sale hunting on the weekends. The traffic is infrequent anyway on most of those streets, consisting mostly houses with no through traffic.
In a lot of ways, my travels on the sidewalk are a real PITA! :notamused:
Because of the constant & typical poor sidewalk conditions, combined with very frequent ramps between driveways as well as at every intersection,.......it feels like a mountain biking trip. Add it the consideration given to any pedestrian and i doubt i get up over 10 mph ,......most times probably lower.
But as most of these trips involve just a few miles each way how fast do i need to go?
.....i can "live" with the hassle, and that's the key!