Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Advocacy & Safety
Reload this Page >

Ok...What would you do?

Notices
Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

Ok...What would you do?

Old 09-14-23, 08:42 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
Ok...What would you do?

I live in a somewhat bike friendly city. We have a great MUP that hugs the River and us good for a 20-40 mile ride. However in order to ride there from my house I have to cross a fairly busy two lane bridge. There is a bike lane but it is only on the side I'd be riding coming home. The other side has a very narrow sidewalk and a very narrow shoulder.

What would you do? Ride the bike lane the opposite way, ride the narrow sidewalk or do the technically right thing and ride in the right lane and hope nobody hits you.

I've tried the latter and can tell you it was a white knuckle experience. I have blinky lights and a yellow shirt I wear when I ride fwiw.
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 08:44 AM
  #2  
For The Fun of It
 
Paul Barnard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 5,830

Bikes: Lynskey GR300, Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2118 Post(s)
Liked 1,625 Times in 816 Posts
Can you give a good google map link to the bridge?
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 09:09 AM
  #3  
Newbie
 
Bleu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Posts: 74
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 16 Posts
Originally Posted by RoadWearier
I live in a somewhat bike friendly city. We have a great MUP that hugs the River and us good for a 20-40 mile ride. However in order to ride there from my house I have to cross a fairly busy two lane bridge. There is a bike lane but it is only on the side I'd be riding coming home. The other side has a very narrow sidewalk and a very narrow shoulder.

What would you do? Ride the bike lane the opposite way, ride the narrow sidewalk or do the technically right thing and ride in the right lane and hope nobody hits you.

I've tried the latter and can tell you it was a white knuckle experience. I have blinky lights and a yellow shirt I wear when I ride fwiw.
If the shoulder is actually too narrow for my bike and my shoulders, I think I would walk the sidewalk , just to cross the bridge. Never would I pedal on a sidewalk like you describe.
Bleu is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 09:44 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
work4bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Atlantic Beach Florida
Posts: 1,897
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3694 Post(s)
Liked 982 Times in 742 Posts
Well, I assume the bike path is very difficult to get to, so my guess is that I'd ride the road, but like Paul Barnard said...I'd have to see the bridge. I've been commuting for over 30-years on all kinds of roads, that's why I would guess that I'd ride on the bridge...but never say never...

BTW, how narrow is the sidewalk and is it used a lot?


.
work4bike is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 10:05 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 3,497

Bikes: Sekine 1979 ten speed racer

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1477 Post(s)
Liked 635 Times in 435 Posts
"fairly busy two lane bridge. "

Can you describe what fairly busy is?

If it has lots of cars going slowly, you can ride with them.

If it has lots of cars going really fast, take the sidewalk and walk.
Daniel4 is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 10:06 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by work4bike
Well, I assume the bike path is very difficult to get to, so my guess is that I'd ride the road, but like Paul Barnard said...I'd have to see the bridge. I've been commuting for over 30-years on all kinds of roads, that's why I would guess that I'd ride on the bridge...but never say never...

BTW, how narrow is the sidewalk and is it used a lot?


.
It's not used much. Widthwise I would say slightly (maybe 1 foot wider) than the type of sidewalk you'd see in the 70s-80s
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 10:08 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by Daniel4
"fairly busy two lane bridge. "

Can you describe what fairly busy is?

If it has lots of cars going slowly, you can ride with them.

If it has lots of cars going really fast, take the sidewalk and walk.
I'll try to get pictures. Hard to gauge busy. Speed limit is supposed to be 35 but 55 is the norm. I'd say when riding across you can expect to be passed by 5-6 cars.
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 10:10 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts

Here's a Not great picture

And yes there are other bridges including a walking bridge but it takes you out of the way. It's quite a detour.
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 10:55 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 3,497

Bikes: Sekine 1979 ten speed racer

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1477 Post(s)
Liked 635 Times in 435 Posts
Originally Posted by RoadWearier

Here's a Not great picture

And yes there are other bridges including a walking bridge but it takes you out of the way. It's quite a detour.
By the looks of their spacing, I'd say they'd be going pretty fast. Eventhough it looks like congestion at the right edge of the photo, I wouldn't want to risk hopping on and off the sidewalk.


Walk the bike on the sidewalk.

The only way I'd ride the full length would be if there's a bottleneck at the entrance and slow traffic all the way.
Daniel4 is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 11:24 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
Yeah that picture was probably taken in the afternoon. The congested side that you see is actually the side with the bike lane. The other side is busier in the morning as people drive into downtown. THAT is the side with the sidewalk and no bike lane. So you wouldn't consider riding in the bike lane in the opposite direction? The other weird part is that the bike path starts on the left side after you walk your bike up two flights of stairs.
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 11:54 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
work4bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Atlantic Beach Florida
Posts: 1,897
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3694 Post(s)
Liked 982 Times in 742 Posts
I checked out that bridge on Google Street View. (Veterans Memorial Bridge in Chattanooga, Tn., which crosses the Tennessee river).

I would definitely cross that bridge on the road (both ways) and I would definitely NOT ride on that sidewalk.





.
work4bike is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 12:00 PM
  #12  
20+mph Commuter
 
JoeyBike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA USA
Posts: 7,482

Bikes: Surly LHT, Surly Lowside, a folding bike, and a beater.

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1413 Post(s)
Liked 311 Times in 207 Posts
If I were on a cross country bike tour and it was a one-time deal, I'd just ride across as fast as I could.

If this were my daily commute, I would look into moving to the other side of the river or finding a new job on my side.

If this is a pleasure ride, I would take the long detour to the car-free bridge. Or ride somewhere else.
JoeyBike is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 01:16 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
Yeah that picture was probably taken in the afternoon. The congested side that you see is actually the side with the bike lane. The other side is busier in the morning as people drive into downtown. THAT is the side with the sidewalk and no bike lane. So you wouldn't consider riding in the bike lane in the opposite direction? The other weird part is that the bike path starts on the left side after you walk your bike up two flights of stairs.
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-14-23, 02:02 PM
  #14  
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 3,716

Bikes: 1984 Araya MB 261, 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 1993 Hard Rock Ultra, 1994 Trek Multitrack 750, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1506 Post(s)
Liked 1,482 Times in 883 Posts
Definitely do not ride in the bike lane into traffic; that's the fastest way to die there. IMO, get used to white knuckles or take the detour; nothing wrong with a longer ride.
Korina is offline  
Likes For Korina:
Old 09-14-23, 02:22 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 38,327

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 137 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5591 Post(s)
Liked 2,200 Times in 1,237 Posts
When there's a single bike lane on a bridge span I always assume (right, wrong or otherwise) that it's intended to be a 2 way lane. Otherwise what would be the point?

That said, I adjust my riding, and in extreme cases my decision, based on traffic volume. No problem meeting and passing by an occasional oncoming rider, but I don't like riding against a steady current. So, if conditions dictate, I'd choose the best of the other options, and use them in the way that made me most comfortable.

FWIW there's a 4-500 yard narrow stretch of high speed road -- 2 narrow lanes, zero shoulder, decent sight lines after first 100 yards --- I take from time to time. The traffic is coming off a sharp curve where I enter, so is slowed somewhat and with that, I can wait for a decent gap, then sprint for the end. I don't always jump off before a car catches up, but it's close enough that it's never been an issue. If the bike lane counterflow isn't practical, a similar approach may work for you.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Likes For FBinNY:
Old 09-14-23, 04:35 PM
  #16  
Expired Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 11,423
Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3626 Post(s)
Liked 5,286 Times in 2,685 Posts
Two other alternatives close enough for the distance to be irrelevant. Maybe check Strava heatmap and see which gets the most bike traffic.

shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 09-14-23, 09:10 PM
  #17  
For The Fun of It
 
Paul Barnard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 5,830

Bikes: Lynskey GR300, Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2118 Post(s)
Liked 1,625 Times in 816 Posts
The Walnut St Bridge is a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle bridge. Why don't you use it?
Paul Barnard is offline  
Likes For Paul Barnard:
Old 09-14-23, 10:27 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 38,327

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 137 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5591 Post(s)
Liked 2,200 Times in 1,237 Posts
Regardless of the OP's specific alternative route options, he still raises an interesting question.

Discussion of that question, as presented, may be of value to others who may not have similar alternatives.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 09-15-23, 01:49 AM
  #19  
Along for the ride
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: PNW US
Posts: 229
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 108 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 104 Posts
Streetview link: Veterans Memorial Bridge - Google Maps

What I would do here is highly dependent on the actual 'feel' in person, and it's hard to tell from streetview. I wouldn't ride wrong-way in the opposite bike lane, that option is out for me for sure. Riding in the lane is certainly an option, but I don't know Tennessee traffic or bike attitudes - and I can see it being pretty sketchy. The open/straight feel of the bridge, combined with fairly long sightlines, definitely is going to lend itself to pretty high vehicle speeds. From what I can tell (Tennessee Bicycle Laws | Bike Law), sidewalk riding appears to be legal in Chattanooga, so that's certainly a possibility as well, with the caveat that it requires slower speeds and giving way to pedestrians. That said, I don't see many pedestrians so it might not be too bad. I hate riding on sidewalks, but it's legal in my jurisdiction too and sometimes it's the safest place to be on a bike (unpopular opinion here, I know). Regardless, I definitely like the look of the Walnut Street Bridge (Walnut Street Bridge - Google Maps) and would very likely use that as my primary option.
retswerb is offline  
Old 09-15-23, 05:37 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Right where I'm supposed to be
Posts: 1,588

Bikes: Franklin Frames Custom, Rivendell Bombadil

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 107 Posts
In this case given there are viable and more suitable bridges to cross close by, that's what I'd do. If it was the only option, and coming home my side only had a sidewalk or ride in the traffic lane, keeping the traffic at the time in mind, if busy I'd take the sidewalk, albeit riding slowly and ever conscious if I come up on pedestrians I may have to dismount briefly. No biggie there. It's situational awareness, people may be walking on the path oblivious to anyone from behind, and me knowing that, I put myself in their shoes. So I dismount and walk my bike politely around them, a "pardon me while I pass" if needed. Everybody is doing their best you know. An attitude of gratitude never fails. Grace.

If that bridge was my only option, I'd also ride in another direction not involving it if possible. Looking at the map, I can see why the OP goes that direction though. I have an even worse bridge situation where I live, a six lane river bridge with no bike lane or sidewalk and a two lane steel grated road surface bridge that has it's walkway closed from disrepair. Needless to say I never ride in that direction. Even getting to those bridges involves crossing three lanes of converging traffic from two separate highways, and even if you could negotiate that, the emergency/side lane is strewn with all kinds of tire hazards, a mine field. Plus it's just no fun riding with traffic going 55-65mph.
Garthr is offline  
Old 09-15-23, 09:31 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Elevation 666m Edmonton Canada
Posts: 2,412

Bikes: 2013 Custom SA5w / Rohloff Tourster

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1201 Post(s)
Liked 298 Times in 228 Posts
Yesterday I was looking at the wrong bridge. oops.
I don't see why you can't ride a mile over the bike bridge. WTF. Your whole intent is to GO FOR A RIDE.
At the very least you could do this one way and go home the other way.
I used to ride 6 miles one way to my favorite DQ for lunch.
GamblerGORD53 is online now  
Old 09-15-23, 10:36 AM
  #22  
Junior Member
 
Pantah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 149

Bikes: More than I have room for.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 44 Posts
So, I spent a bit of time just now looking at the street view on google of the streets leading over to the dedicated pedestrian/bike bridge and I can see how taking Frazier Ave to get there isn't exactly an improvement. There's even less shoulder room plus you're dealing with traffic turning on and off the road plus eventually parked cars. Veteran's Memorial Bridge is only slightly longer than the distance needed to ride on Frazier just to get to the bike bridge. The city doesn't make it easy either as a cyclist to take side streets to get to the bike bridge as there's only stairs on the east side leading up to the bridge from River Street and no path on the west side. Unless you like walking your bike up stairs every time you ride, you're stuck riding on Frazier for at least some distance. Super annoying.
I think I'm of the opinion that riding slowly on the sidewalk on Veteran's Memorial Bridge and being aware of and courteous to pedestrians is the safest way to travel south.
Pantah is offline  
Old 09-15-23, 11:44 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by Pantah
So, I spent a bit of time just now looking at the street view on google of the streets leading over to the dedicated pedestrian/bike bridge and I can see how taking Frazier Ave to get there isn't exactly an improvement. There's even less shoulder room plus you're dealing with traffic turning on and off the road plus eventually parked cars. Veteran's Memorial Bridge is only slightly longer than the distance needed to ride on Frazier just to get to the bike bridge. The city doesn't make it easy either as a cyclist to take side streets to get to the bike bridge as there's only stairs on the east side leading up to the bridge from River Street and no path on the west side. Unless you like walking your bike up stairs every time you ride, you're stuck riding on Frazier for at least some distance. Super annoying.
I think I'm of the opinion that riding slowly on the sidewalk on Veteran's Memorial Bridge and being aware of and courteous to pedestrians is the safest way to travel south.
All of this for the win! Yeah Walnut Street Bridge is an option except as you mentioned Frazier can be very congested and a little dangerous. I almost got squeezed up into a parked car there by some donkeyball who either wasn't paying attention or was trying to be a dicktracy. Took off the parked cars mirror (he did, not me). The other problem is that often the opposite direction that I want to go so I'm having to bike an extra couple miles. Fine for a joy ride but I'm trying to use my car less and that just makes it even more inefficient to bike vs take a car. I appreciate people trying to think outside the box but I was more interested to see how others would approach that specific route. Unfortunately while Chattanooga is more bike friendly than say, Atlanta, a lot of the "bike friendliness" is more political lip service. It could be better; although I'm not sure how much more bike lanes would get used tbh.
RoadWearier is offline  
Old 09-15-23, 01:00 PM
  #24  
Junior Member
 
Pantah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 149

Bikes: More than I have room for.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 44 Posts
Originally Posted by RoadWearier
All of this for the win! Yeah Walnut Street Bridge is an option except as you mentioned Frazier can be very congested and a little dangerous. I almost got squeezed up into a parked car there by some donkeyball who either wasn't paying attention or was trying to be a dicktracy. Took off the parked cars mirror (he did, not me). The other problem is that often the opposite direction that I want to go so I'm having to bike an extra couple miles. Fine for a joy ride but I'm trying to use my car less and that just makes it even more inefficient to bike vs take a car. I appreciate people trying to think outside the box but I was more interested to see how others would approach that specific route. Unfortunately while Chattanooga is more bike friendly than say, Atlanta, a lot of the "bike friendliness" is more political lip service. It could be better; although I'm not sure how much more bike lanes would get used tbh.
Stuff can sometimes look good on paper, or in this case on a street map, but have a much different reality.

I know you're looking strictly for opinions on crossing the vehicle bridge, but thought I'd throw in a route possibility after taking into consideration what is actually going on with the roads and paths, at least as far I can figure based on google street view. I'm not sure exactly which street you are starting from, but I'm going to assume you eventually get on Barton heading southwest. Take the left onto Island then the immediate right onto the one way section of Frazier. Hop over to River street just after crossing under the bridge, follow that until just after you pass under the bike bridge. Looks like there's a short connector path between Frazier and River just a couple of businesses west of the bridge that has only a few stairs to carry the bike over. You could then stay on the sidewalk for that brief distance before getting on the bike bridge. Just a thought though I get how carrying a bike up stairs isn't any fun.

I know I don't worry too much about adding an extra mile onto a route to try and stick to more bike safe routes but if saving time is a concern, this route certainly won't help.
Pantah is offline  
Old 09-15-23, 01:36 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,812
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1590 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1,009 Times in 567 Posts
I would not ride the bike lane against traffic. Which leaves either the lane or the sidewalk and my preference would certainly be the lane. But it would depend on how aggressive the traffic was. Would not be my favorite part of the day in either case.

Last edited by jon c.; 09-15-23 at 01:50 PM.
jon c. is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.