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Cycling on a 4-lane divided highway?

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Cycling on a 4-lane divided highway?

Old 03-08-09, 06:35 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
My question to the masses is this..... Why would anyone choose to ride on a high speed highway in this manner when a nicely paved, wide, uncrowded bike path exists next to the road? While I understand the rights of cyclists, as a motorist familiar with this section of road I do not appreciate the reason for riding in the road. I feel it is not only dangerous to the biker, but puts motorists at danger as well.
Not having been there, I'd just guess that the rider knew what he was doing if he was on the road, and was probably pretty familiar with the route.

There's one busy intersection in town (6 lanes crossing 5 lanes) and I regularly have to go through on a left turn. I merge through traffic to take the left with the car traffic every time. It's safe, its within my rights, and it saves me waiting through a light change taking the crosswalks.
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Old 03-08-09, 06:49 PM
  #27  
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Is it possible the highway rider needed to go somewhere where the path does not? Perhaps there was a left turn ahead or a store etc that just is not accessible from the path.

Is this a possibility?
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Old 03-08-09, 07:00 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
Had to run out again (this time motoring), so I took a snapshot of the area in question. The bike path is also in the picture.

I thank everyone for their input to this discussion. Yes, even those who are a bit snitty! I can be that way myself. In the end, discussion is all in good fun, right? Anyway, given the view of the road and path feel free to contribute or change your mind. It should be noted, traffic was heavier this afternoon than this evening when the picture was taken.
Good pic, Thanks for posting it.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:07 PM
  #29  
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Maybe it was one of those fully faired recumbent velomobile thingies - but probably not.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:07 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by gosmsgo View Post
It has nothing to do with knowing the law. It has to do with physics.
I am not sure I mentioned the law. Regardless, if I misjudged and misreported his speed so be it. To me, for where he was and the conditions around him, going slower would only make it more of a safety issue since he was in the lane. I guess my concern isn't his speed as much as it is the speed differential between him and what is coming upon him. If traffic were lighter than it was at that time, I'd probably not think much of it. But, with a line of cars high tailing it down the highway with a trunk full of groceries trying to get home, then that's my concern. I know when I'm driving my car behind a big SUV it blocks quite a bit of the sight line. If I were to change lanes at the wrong time, without knowing/seeing a biker was going slow in a highway lane, I'd have to spend a lot of money in therapy. I'd rather not do that.

I'd not ride in the road where I describe. Then again, I'm a recreational biker and sometimes commuter. I stick to roads I feel safe on and paths. I tend to go out of my way to ride a safer route if at all possible. But, that's just me. You can call it an experience issue if it applies. I'd rather just say it is comfort.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:15 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Is it possible the highway rider needed to go somewhere where the path does not? Perhaps there was a left turn ahead or a store etc that just is not accessible from the path.

Is this a possibility?

I suppose it could be. I didn't follow him or talk with him. I do know there is an intersection further up the road that is very difficult to navigate on a bike but by the time I got there he was gone. There's loads of shopping there, but the path also goes to a crosswalk crossing a busier road but with slower traffic. Maybe he just wanted to not have to deal with the crosswalk but it was still a few miles away. It is a tough intersection because cars making a right turn just don't stop or look at the path crossing. They are only worried about other cars. Imagine that!
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Old 03-08-09, 07:25 PM
  #32  
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I have seen people doing things on bicycles that I wouldn't do. On the other hand, I have been wrong about that in the past. For example, near me there are two parallel roads that are 1/2 mile apart. One has nice shoulders and a 55mph speed limit and is a Pennsylvania designated bike route. The other is a road with a 35mph speed limit and no shoulder. Now I realize that it's safer to ride on the road with the higher speed limit. I also used to think that riding on an interstate was forbidden until I moved to Utah and found out that there really was no other way to get some places by bike. One of my favorite rides out there was on an interstate.
Our main drag in town has a "bike lane" next to it. It takes 20 minutes to negotiate a stretch of that road on the bike lane, and about 5 minutes on the road. The bike lane also puts you in a very bad position at every driveway and intersection. There are even stop signs at private driveways.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:27 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by RedC View Post
A-holes who make judgements without sufficient information always irritate me and I live for the day some skinny dude tries to remove me from my bicycle for wearing the most comfortable gear I can afford
+1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to that.

Amen, brother.

-Kurt
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Old 03-08-09, 07:30 PM
  #34  
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With the sign there warning of a stop light I'd probably be in the road too... especially if I was going at any kind of speed.

Bike paths lose whatever speed and convenience factor they may have as soon as they have to cross a street at grade level... it's not safe to cross without stopping and making sure you're not about to get flattened, even if the cyclist has the right of way.

That said... if the cyclist was going anywhere even close to the speed you said then it's probably best for everyone that he IS on the street... do you really want a cyclist blowing past you at 30mph+ on a path??? It's not only scary, but it's against the law. (Speed limit on shared pathways in the state of Colorado is 15 mph)
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Old 03-08-09, 07:50 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
I'd not ride in the road where I describe. Then again, I'm a recreational biker and sometimes commuter. I stick to roads I feel safe on and paths. I tend to go out of my way to ride a safer route if at all possible. But, that's just me. You can call it an experience issue if it applies. I'd rather just say it is comfort.
Nothin' wrong with that. Welcome to the board mr. p.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:51 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
It is a tough intersection because cars making a right turn just don't stop or look at the path crossing.
You just answered your question about why the cyclist was on the road.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:58 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
I am not sure I mentioned the law. Regardless, if I misjudged and misreported his speed so be it. To me, for where he was and the conditions around him, going slower would only make it more of a safety issue since he was in the lane. I guess my concern isn't his speed as much as it is the speed differential between him and what is coming upon him. If traffic were lighter than it was at that time, I'd probably not think much of it. But, with a line of cars high tailing it down the highway with a trunk full of groceries trying to get home, then that's my concern. I know when I'm driving my car behind a big SUV it blocks quite a bit of the sight line. If I were to change lanes at the wrong time, without knowing/seeing a biker was going slow in a highway lane, I'd have to spend a lot of money in therapy. I'd rather not do that.

I'd not ride in the road where I describe. Then again, I'm a recreational biker and sometimes commuter. I stick to roads I feel safe on and paths. I tend to go out of my way to ride a safer route if at all possible. But, that's just me. You can call it an experience issue if it applies. I'd rather just say it is comfort.
I *hate* that attitude. Ever heard of the 4 second rule? If a cat was sitting in the lane I would not hit it let alone a cyclist.

Learn how to drive. EVERYONE, including many cyclists have this notion that if they drive the speed limit that if they kill someone its really the bicyclists, childs etc fault.

I talk to people everyday who say, "I wish they did not ride in the road...if I hit one I would have to live with that the rest of my life when they were the ones who chose to bicycle there!"

urgh

Slow Down

That car in front of you....you should be 4 seconds behind it. Yes, you will look weird and some people will honk but its the safest way to operate that lethal weapon your sitting in.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:23 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by gosmsgo View Post
I *hate* that attitude. Ever heard of the 4 second rule? If a cat was sitting in the lane I would not hit it let alone a cyclist.

Learn how to drive. EVERYONE, including many cyclists have this notion that if they drive the speed limit that if they kill someone its really the bicyclists, childs etc fault.

I talk to people everyday who say, "I wish they did not ride in the road...if I hit one I would have to live with that the rest of my life when they were the ones who chose to bicycle there!"

urgh

Slow Down

That car in front of you....you should be 4 seconds behind it. Yes, you will look weird and some people will honk but its the safest way to operate that lethal weapon your sitting in.
You are making an assumption about my driving habits that's not really warranted from the post. Let me clarify the point I was making. I recall an automobile safety video when I was a child where a motorcycle was obscured from a driver's vision because someone was offering up a stick of gum. The motorcycle was obscured, at an appropriate distance, by the stick of gum. Now, even if I am 4 seconds behind a large SUV, the line of vision from my car can be obscured for some distance depending upon road conditions. That said, I could make a LEGAL and SAFE road lane change (within the speed limit) and come upon someone who was obscured from my vision very quickly if there is a large speed differential. My point was that under proper driving procedures, I could still come upon someone quickly because of speed differential. The same would be true if a cat were sitting in the road and I were not able to see it. Would I try to stop? Of course, in both cases. Are the risks high because of the speed differential? Yes. Both for the biker and the cat. :-)

Being seen is key. Surely everyone knows that or there wouldn't be such a market for lights, vests, etc. Time is key when you are not seen. The greater the speed differential the less time.

For the record, I don't try to hit bikes with my car and I ALWAYS give a biker plenty of room. Ugh!!!
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Old 03-08-09, 08:26 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by RedC View Post
A-holes who make judgements without sufficient information always irritate me and I live for the day some skinny dude tries to remove me from my bicycle for wearing the most comfortable gear I can afford
take it easy, red.

Folks on BF, and A&S in particular really need to lighten up and get a sense of humor.

BTW, I'm probably fatter than you (curse these winter bike layoffs) and I do wear cycling shorts. Can't get myself to put on a silly looking jersey though. I'll stick with a normal colored one with my reflective vest.

Guess I'd rather look like a fred than racer boy!
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Old 03-08-09, 08:33 PM
  #40  
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If you drive within the speed limit and keep a large buffer zone in front, it is virtually impossible to hit anything, cyclists included. The problem is too many drivers overspeed and tailgate. I believe this does cause safety issues for cyclists, and is why many avoid certain roads and situations.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:46 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
If you drive within the speed limit and keep a large buffer zone in front, it is virtually impossible to hit anything, cyclists included. The problem is too many drivers overspeed and tailgate. I believe this does cause safety issues for cyclists, and is why many avoid certain roads and situations.
I'd generally agree. I also think folks not in the DC area can't appreciate what the roads are like in this area, much less the drivers.

That said, here's a reason why even ideal traffic conditions can still mean you might not be seen. I know drivers are often to blame for the way they drive, but forward blind spots exist in all automobiles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver_visibility
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Old 03-08-09, 08:55 PM
  #42  
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I think that tailgating is an issue. Speeding, not so much, unless it is extremely excessive.

I think both of these pale in comparison to the real culprit......people driving with their heads up their arses.

PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!

I would like to say I am never guilty of DWHUMA, but, I am. And I believe most everyone here is at times. This is why I get annoyed by the take the lane zealots who say screw those cages.

I'd rather assume that cage pilots are going to do dumb things and do what I can to avoid becoming their victims.

It is a two sided problem. We need to be more aware while driving our 3000 lb battering rams and we need to do what we can as cyclists to avoid them when practicable.

We do have to share the road. And riding with the attitude of screw'em, I'm a vehicle too, isn't going to help when you are under their wheels.

Ride safe and assume that every cage you see is piloted by a moron, because a fair number are. If this means taking a longer route or one of those sissy MUPs on occasion, so be it.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:05 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
I guess my concern isn't his speed as much as it is the speed differential between him and what is coming upon him.
I'm guessing that was his concern too. You see, if he was going 45mph, that would be going 10mph less than those on the road, and about 35 to 45 mph faster than those on the MUP. (It's a multi use path, it was not marked as a bike lane.) As the slowest thing on the road people coming upon him will tend to see him and move around him if he is acting in a reliable manner. I assume he wasn't veering left and right, and was holding his lane. Now MUPs are a great place to find things moving in the least reliable manner possible, at much slower speeds than you can imagine, and sometimes stopped entirely. That is what he was afraid of hitting. If you are really moving on a bike, a child with training wheels in front of you is much more scary than a truck behind you. And, from your description, he was really moving.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:13 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by charmed View Post
I'm guessing that was his concern too. You see, if he was going 45mph, that would be going 10mph less than those on the road, and about 35 to 45 mph faster than those on the MUP. (It's a multi use path, it was not marked as a bike lane.) As the slowest thing on the road people coming upon him will tend to see him and move around him if he is acting in a reliable manner. I assume he wasn't veering left and right, and was holding his lane. Now MUPs are a great place to find things moving in the least reliable manner possible, at much slower speeds than you can imagine, and sometimes stopped entirely. That is what he was afraid of hitting. If you are really moving on a bike, a child with training wheels in front of you is much more scary than a truck behind you. And, from your description, he was really moving.
Yes, he was really moving. Thank you for the most enlightening post of the evening. He thought it was safer on the road because of the slower traffic on the path and not the faster traffic on the highway. I understand, even though I doubt I'd make the same decision. Of course, I'd not travel at the rate he was either!
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Old 03-08-09, 09:26 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by fetad View Post
45mph? I'd hope any cyclist would avoid a bike path if they plan on attaining those types of speeds.
Originally Posted by charmed View Post
I'm guessing that was his concern too. You see, if he was going 45mph, that would be going 10mph less than those on the road, and about 35 to 45 mph faster than those on the MUP. (It's a multi use path, it was not marked as a bike lane.) As the slowest thing on the road people coming upon him will tend to see him and move around him if he is acting in a reliable manner. I assume he wasn't veering left and right, and was holding his lane. Now MUPs are a great place to find things moving in the least reliable manner possible, at much slower speeds than you can imagine, and sometimes stopped entirely. That is what he was afraid of hitting. If you are really moving on a bike, a child with training wheels in front of you is much more scary than a truck behind you. And, from your description, he was really moving.
+1 This is what I was implying with my previous post. I'm surprised anyone would want a 45 mph vehicle of any sort on a recreational path. I don't know how long the cyclist was in your field of vision, but I'm guessing he blew by you and was out range within a minute. He probably takes the lane when he's moving along at 45 and hits the shoulder on inclines or level ground when his speed drops below 20 or so. This is how I would most likely handle a road like that.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:29 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
(snip) To me, for where he was and the conditions around him, going slower would only make it more of a safety issue since he was in the lane. I guess my concern isn't his speed as much as it is the speed differential between him and what is coming upon him. If traffic were lighter than it was at that time, I'd probably not think much of it. But, with a line of cars high tailing it down the highway with a trunk full of groceries trying to get home, then that's my concern.
Your perception of the danger of overtaking traffic (even on this road) excessive. I travel on similar roads regularly. When I am on them I am not one bit concerned about motorists hitting me. It has not always been this way. I used to spend a lot of time watching out for them in a mirror, but it turned out to be such a waste of time I discarded it. The behavior of motorists on such highways can be observed here: https://www.cyclistview.com/overtaking/index.htm

Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
I know when I'm driving my car behind a big SUV it blocks quite a bit of the sight line. If I were to change lanes at the wrong time, without knowing/seeing a biker was going slow in a highway lane, I'd have to spend a lot of money in therapy. I'd rather not do that.
I think that this concern is excessive as well. But if you leave a little more space between your car and the vehicle you are following, you will increase your reaction time for any unseen object in the lane- a cyclist, a deer, a couch or even a grandfather clock. (<-- Kidding. I am just making a silly reference to another forum thread.)

In tens of thousands of encounters with motorists on high-speed multi-lane roads like the one you took a picture of, this situation that you fear has never happened to me. My experiences have convinced my that the likely-hood of such an event to be vanishingly small. I am probably in greater peril of injury in my shower than while taking the lane.


Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
I'd not ride in the road where I describe. Then again, I'm a recreational biker and sometimes commuter. I stick to roads I feel safe on and paths. I tend to go out of my way to ride a safer route if at all possible. But, that's just me. You can call it an experience issue if it applies. I'd rather just say it is comfort.
When cycling, the hazards that I need to spend my attention on are in front of me, not behind me. Potholes, crossing traffic and the like. There are far fewer of these on the arterials than on a side-path or residential street. In my opinion, the highway is the safer route.
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Old 03-08-09, 10:15 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
The behavior of motorists on such highways can be observed here: https://www.cyclistview.com/overtaking/index.htm
That study was really interesting, confirmed what I already felt . I wish they could summarize it in a simpler format though, it's a bit overwhelming to follow. Ill send them an email.
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Old 03-08-09, 10:25 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
I think that tailgating is an issue. Speeding, not so much, unless it is extremely excessive.

I think both of these pale in comparison to the real culprit......people driving with their heads up their arses.

PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!

I would like to say I am never guilty of DWHUMA, but, I am. And I believe most everyone here is at times. This is why I get annoyed by the take the lane zealots who say screw those cages.

I'd rather assume that cage pilots are going to do dumb things and do what I can to avoid becoming their victims.

It is a two sided problem. We need to be more aware while driving our 3000 lb battering rams and we need to do what we can as cyclists to avoid them when practicable.

We do have to share the road. And riding with the attitude of screw'em, I'm a vehicle too, isn't going to help when you are under their wheels.

Ride safe and assume that every cage you see is piloted by a moron, because a fair number are. If this means taking a longer route or one of those sissy MUPs on occasion, so be it.

When I take the lane "screw them" is really the last thing I'm thinking. I'm thinking that *I know* that the lane is too narrow to share but a motorist might not and try to squeeze past. When taking the lane I make it more obvious. If anything it leads to far less conflicts than more conflicts.

The last 5 bicyclists injured in my city were.........

-Drunk guy riding at night without lights who turned in front of a car
-sidewalk rider hit in crosswalk
-sidewalk rider hit in crosswalk
-sidewalk rider hit in crosswalk
-guy cowering to the far right in an 11 foot lane, was hit by a mirror, knocked from his bicycle and landed in the ditch.

Its the same thing all over the United States. To each his own but the law allows bicyclists to take the lane FOR A REASON. It was not pushed and passed by the "screw cagers" movement of 1957.

Trying to "stay out of the way" like sidewalk riders or the guys who fear taking an assertive position is the real danger.
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Old 03-09-09, 01:57 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by mrpleasant View Post
Had to run out again (this time motoring), so I took a snapshot of the area in question. The bike path is also in the picture.

I thank everyone for their input to this discussion. Yes, even those who are a bit snitty! I can be that way myself. In the end, discussion is all in good fun, right? Anyway, given the view of the road and path feel free to contribute or change your mind. It should be noted, traffic was heavier this afternoon than this evening when the picture was taken.
Frankly, it's amazing me how so many posters in this thread say absolutely nothing about that pic and that situation. "Where I ride, the MUP will get you killed, blah blah blah..." Come on, we're not interested in your MUP, we're looking at a desolate path -- that doesn't cross driveways or streets -- next to a high-speed suburban arterial.

IMO, in that pic, it's only mildly moronic to ride on that highway... on the shoulder. It's absolutely stupid to take a lane on that road.

But, hey, it's probably some jackhole who's going to claim that "it's my right to take the lane", and will expect that it will magically save them when some driver sneezes while texting at 70 mph and blasts them into the grass.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather simply come home safely than force my family to deal with my bloodied remains while making attempts to prosecute the driver in court.
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Old 03-09-09, 08:33 AM
  #50  
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^^^ Your assumption of what will happen to a cyclist who rides these types of roads doesn't seem to match the experiences of those who actually do.
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