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To Snap Drivers Awake, State DOT May Sacrifice Cyclist Safety

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To Snap Drivers Awake, State DOT May Sacrifice Cyclist Safety

Old 11-25-09, 09:20 PM
  #26  
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I talked to our local DOT rep, and that they will be putting in rumble strips on various roads in our area in the future. Unlike the ones in the OP's photo, our DOT rep said that our rumble strips will be put next to the fog line on the roadway side.
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Old 11-25-09, 09:27 PM
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They dont need to be half inch deep to wake the driver. 1/8" should be enough
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Old 11-25-09, 09:27 PM
  #28  
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Like most things, there are a lot of variables, they would be good in some cases, bad in others.
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Old 11-25-09, 09:43 PM
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There's a stretch of US highway that runs through the south end of town, where I work AND access the local MUP, that I have to cross almost daily. 4-lane divided, has these rumble strips along the sides, and in the center, between the lane and the median (grass strip 30' wide).

My kids LOVE 'EM! I take 'em with me on the MUP every now and again, and also to my job (retail), and a few times, we've had to ride the highway for about a quarter-mile. These nuts will ride ON the strips, whooping and hollering the whole way! I HAD to do it once, pulling the trailer w/ my grand-niece in it, and I'll pass, thanks.

They are well suited for their purpose, and don't interfere with me or any of my riding.
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Old 11-25-09, 09:56 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Here in Pennsylvania
Thats the problem. I got to see them rolling over 2x4's on the side of the highway to make the strips, much too large and deep.
PA Dot needs to be replaced with someone that knows how to build roads, theirs are the worstt out of any state I've been in and it ends up making PA drivers worse than others.
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Old 11-25-09, 10:46 PM
  #31  
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We have the danged things here in Louisiana near New Orleans. Started seeing them 20 years ago RIGHT in the spot that stays cleanest on the shoulder near the fog line. Really ticked me off at first. Now I am used to them but still hate the idea. Gotta ride as if there is no shoulder 'cause the shoulder is usually full of rocks, glass, sticks, car parts, dead fauna, nails...and rumble strips.

In Kentucky, I biked on some that were actually INSIDE the danged fog line. Eight years later, I biked the same road and these idiotic things were paved over smooth. Here is a photo:



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Old 11-25-09, 10:50 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
I've seen these on Alberta roads. If there's room to the right of the rumble strips, it seems a good idea. I'd say they'll save cyclists' lives.
Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
(...) They do rumble when you roll them in a car, believe me.
I kind of wonder about that...

On the highways I drive to work, I sometimes deliberately move partially onto the shoulder to make room for extra-wide loads coming the other way (I'm damned careful when I do it... pedestrians walking on the shoulder, and I've seen tourers once or twice). When I do move onto a shoulder with a rumble strip, the noise is a just a drone, and I think if I was fatigued it may not be enough to wake me up- the sound is similar to the road-drone my truck makes anyway.

Does anyone have acces to any studies done on rumble strips? I'm hoping this is just me.
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Old 11-26-09, 06:34 AM
  #33  
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One more reason to ride in the roadway, and stay off the shoulder.
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Old 11-26-09, 07:41 AM
  #34  
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https://www.lrrb.org/PDF/200807.pdf

Motorcyclists tend to become quite disturbed by them.

I've hit them on purpose on a road bicycle at a lean. Startling, and clearly reduced traction a lot. Didn't like.

I suspect the effect was less on a motorcycle, but the startle index was way up. Truly horrifying sound and feel in a moderate lean on a motorcycle. Even when done on purpose. Much worse than I expected. This was a centerline groove.

I anticipate that if a 2 wheeler hits these things in a strong lean that they'll come unstuck. That's generally very bad.
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Old 11-26-09, 12:27 PM
  #35  
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I've ridden over these things many times. I've never thought they are a big deal. I also stupidly fell asleep at the wheel once and they literally woke me as I drifted across the highway to the left lane (no traffic) and they certainly saved me from a crash. They are rough and jarring for 2 seconds as you move across them but not a real problem - at least not on the highways I have ridden. I think they are fine IF there is enough room to place them on a highway and still have plenty of room for cyclists.
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Old 11-26-09, 12:44 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by mandovoodoo View Post
https://www.lrrb.org/PDF/200807.pdf

Motorcyclists tend to become quite disturbed by them.

I've hit them on purpose on a road bicycle at a lean. Startling, and clearly reduced traction a lot. Didn't like.

I suspect the effect was less on a motorcycle, but the startle index was way up. Truly horrifying sound and feel in a moderate lean on a motorcycle. Even when done on purpose. Much worse than I expected. This was a centerline groove.

I anticipate that if a 2 wheeler hits these things in a strong lean that they'll come unstuck. That's generally very bad.
Doing a search of the document there is no mention of bicycles.

I have some questions about the rumble strips.
  • in those areas where they are used are there signs posted before them to warn bicyclists, mopeds, motorcyclists, and scooters that they're coming up?
  • what is the city or states responsibility/liability if someone riding a bicycle, moped, motorcycle or scooter gets injured because of them?
    • especially considering that logically the ones that are physically cut into the road surface are likely to trap debris that might otherwise get blown off of the road.
  • are they as some people have suggested a thinly veiled attempt to keep cyclists off of roads that they have a legal right to be on?
    • especially given that most of the laws that are written with the FRAP provision talks about a cyclists position on the road and acknowledges that the shoulder isn't part of the road.

Playing devils advocate for a moment. Given that laws with FRAP specify the road and that the shoulder isn't part of the road why are we riding on the shoulder? Yes, I know that's where some unenlightened drivers think that's where we "belong." But we know better.
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Old 11-26-09, 07:19 PM
  #37  
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About rumble strips, I've seen them done another way, what they do is they put a strip about 2m long, then a 2m strip without them, then 2m with them again, with one of those in road reflector things at the beginning, it should be much safer, for cyclists and other road users.

If you need to cross, you cross on a clear strip and stay on whichever side until it's clear again. For drivers the brrrrrrrip brrrrrrrip brrrrrrrip brrrrrrrip is probably more effective in that it's usually the start of a noise that is most noticed. Better still, shorten the grooved part to 1 or 2m then either 2 or 3 metres clear, so that the length of the noise and the gap are always changing.
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Old 11-26-09, 08:05 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Doing a search of the document there is no mention of bicycles.

I have some questions about the rumble strips.
  • in those areas where they are used are there signs posted before them to warn bicyclists, mopeds, motorcyclists, and scooters that they're coming up?
  • what is the city or states responsibility/liability if someone riding a bicycle, moped, motorcycle or scooter gets injured because of them?
    • especially considering that logically the ones that are physically cut into the road surface are likely to trap debris that might otherwise get blown off of the road.
  • are they as some people have suggested a thinly veiled attempt to keep cyclists off of roads that they have a legal right to be on?
    • especially given that most of the laws that are written with the FRAP provision talks about a cyclists position on the road and acknowledges that the shoulder isn't part of the road.

Playing devils advocate for a moment. Given that laws with FRAP specify the road and that the shoulder isn't part of the road why are we riding on the shoulder? Yes, I know that's where some unenlightened drivers think that's where we "belong." But we know better.
I've not seen a sign warning of these, whether they're in the middle or on the edge. Other places may differ in their approach.

I couldn't find a bicycle related reference. Motorcycles figure higher in research budgets and so on. I suspect bicyclists barely register in most planning. Planners I've spoken with have generally been unaware that some bicyclists whip along at a good clip. The general vision is of someone on a fat tire utility bike moving at 6 mph.

They're generally not thinking of the emergency use of shoulders and the other lane by bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. Emergency handling often involve strong lateral acceleration, precisely the kind of thing divots interfere with.

On the other hand, a forum member on another forum I frequent is spending Thanksgiving in the hospital with a fresh rod in one femur and a broken big toe. Lots of other dings. Cut a corner in the mountains, found a car coming up from a dip. Dropped the bike. Motorbike, but same difference. If he hadn't crossed the center line he'd he home. So maybe there's some use.

I still don't like them. Should be better ways to organize our mix of traffic, and they certainly don't improve the world for bicycles in many places. The shoulder is the only rational zone on many roads.
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Old 11-26-09, 08:27 PM
  #39  
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they work great on roads with wide shoulders and are a real pain on four foot shoulders in my riding experience.

its a sticky wicket. we shouldn't make roads safer for tired motorists or should we? not at the expense of bicyclist safety, but what if the combination enhances bicyclist safety by reducing motorists drive off roadway incidents?
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Old 11-26-09, 10:15 PM
  #40  
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I hit some of these rumble strips during a triathlon. 'Bout jarred my fillings loose but I came through unscathed.
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Old 11-26-09, 10:29 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
they work great on roads with wide shoulders and are a real pain on four foot shoulders in my riding experience.

its a sticky wicket. we shouldn't make roads safer for tired motorists or should we? not at the expense of bicyclist safety, but what if the combination enhances bicyclist safety by reducing motorists drive off roadway incidents?
Bekologist,

I agree with ya that it's a "sticky wicket." And you bring up a good point. Should roads be made safer for one group at the expense of anther? Especially if that "improvement" further endangers an already vulnerable group? How many of the collisions between motorists and bicyclists result from drivers falling asleep at the wheel and leaving the road?
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Old 11-26-09, 11:44 PM
  #42  
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Rumble strips are a nuisance. Yes, you can just ride in the lane, but my experience is that cars generally will cut it a lot closer when they pass you when you are riding in the lane when there is a perfectly good shoulder you could be riding on. The problem is they don't necessarily understand that you can't ride on the rumble strip. Riding to the right of the rumble strip is often impossible because there is nothing to the right or it is covered with so much sand and other debris you don't want to be there. On high-speed roads with lots of trucks this can be a real pain. The worst is right after they put in the strips - cars were used to being able to safely pass bicycles and still stay in the lane and it is hard for them to adjust to the fact that they now have to sit behind you and wait for the oncoming lane to clear. Even if you are a "lane only" cyclist and never ride on the shoulder it still forces you to ride further out into the lane because you need to keep a larger safety margin from the edge because the consequences of straying onto the rumble strip are more dire than simple drifting a bit onto the shoulder. So they effectively narrow the lane width which maybe isn't a safety issue because you can take the lane but still, who wants to slow traffic down unnecessarily. I don't like them at all and even if they somehow enhance our safety by keeping cars from drifting into us they really degrade the riding experience.
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Old 11-27-09, 05:56 AM
  #43  
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I've ridden the road where the Sgt. had his mishap. In fact I grew up here when the road was a two lane strip that was almost a death trap. The rumble strips they are referring to are an improvement and allow for riders to almost ride two abreast in some cases. I will grant everyone that rumble strip placement is extremely important and not all are created equal. As posted by Wogsterca the spacing at intervals is a better idea and would work much better, and answers my pet peeve. Putting the strips on the extreme edge of the paved surface only serves to put the rider further into the lane - so take the lane if necessary. Not hard to figure out. BUT back to the OP's case ...this case looks more like someone who screwed up while riding and wants someone else to pay. I am not flaming anyone , but that's what it looks like knowing the actual conditions. Yes, I have seen some horrible rumble strips where they are more than questionable, but each case must be measured on it's own merits. I'm truly sorry he hurt himself and wish him the speediest recovery and future great riding.

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Old 11-27-09, 08:36 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
Rumble strips are a nuisance. Yes, you can just ride in the lane, but my experience is that cars generally will cut it a lot closer when they pass you when you are riding in the lane when there is a perfectly good shoulder you could be riding on. ...e.
Which makes sense. If there is a perfectly good shoulder----which, to me, IS the bike lane---motorists have every right to epxect you to take advantage of that space. All the discussion about: if there is a narrow shoulder...if there is a dirty shoulder...if there isn't any shoulder, etc is not a criticism of rumble strips, it is a criticism of poor road design, always should include wider shoulders for the safety of ALL road users. Dollar for dollar, the best investment in roadway safety for cyclists would be to widen and/or install shoulders. A rumble strip on the white line---with breaks to allow a bike to crossover without boen jarring discomfort---would be ideal.

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Old 11-27-09, 08:51 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Doing a search of the document there is no mention of bicycles.

I have some questions about the rumble strips.
  • in those areas where they are used are there signs posted before them to warn bicyclists, mopeds, motorcyclists, and scooters that they're coming up?
  • what is the city or states responsibility/liability if someone riding a bicycle, moped, motorcycle or scooter gets injured because of them?
    • especially considering that logically the ones that are physically cut into the road surface are likely to trap debris that might otherwise get blown off of the road.
  • are they as some people have suggested a thinly veiled attempt to keep cyclists off of roads that they have a legal right to be on?
    • especially given that most of the laws that are written with the FRAP provision talks about a cyclists position on the road and acknowledges that the shoulder isn't part of the road.

Playing devils advocate for a moment. Given that laws with FRAP specify the road and that the shoulder isn't part of the road why are we riding on the shoulder? Yes, I know that's where some unenlightened drivers think that's where we "belong." But we know better.
Because in some areas the shoulder is plenty wide, smooth and the "traveled way" has 65MPH traffic on it. This sort of thing is exactly why we don't all see eye to eye. Roadways differ significantly all over the country. In the west for instance, it is quite legal to bike on an interstate unless it is posted "no bikes..." and bear in mind that the interstate may be the ONLY road available. This same sort of situation occurs for many local and farm highways... they offer wide 8 foot shoulders and they are the ONLY road in an area. To ride on the traveled way is really quite foolish in those circumstances, especially considering how rare any intersection is on these roads. But then there are those that perceive a "fight for rights" as a greater priority. So be it. Others see a fight for good infrastructure as a priority.
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Old 11-27-09, 10:13 AM
  #46  
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motorists have every right to expect bicyclists to ride on the shoulder?

I didn't realize ignorance of the law was a right. why would the drivers have the right to expect bicyclists on the shoulders of roads? The only 'rights' involved there are a mistaken impression of bicyclists' rights.

Shoulders in rural areas makes sense. cant put shoulders on most urban roads, so roadway bicycling and roadway bike lanes are the only practical choices.

Shoulders may be developed for bicyclists. but a shoulder is not a bikelane, and a bikelane is not a shoulder.

improved shoulders improve highway conditions for bicyclists along rural roads; bikelanes are integrated with the main roadway and are integrated with the roadway striping between the edges of the travelled way of a road.

yes, considering there are major differences between typical rural, urban and suburban roads, bicyclists are to be expected and planned for on all roads (expect limited access roadways) so motorists should NOT be expecting or have the 'right' to see us bicycling on the shoulders of roads- they do not have the 'right' to carry that discriminatory ignorance about bicyclists.
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Old 11-27-09, 10:15 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Doing a search of the document there is no mention of bicycles.

I have some questions about the rumble strips.
  • in those areas where they are used are there signs posted before them to warn bicyclists, mopeds, motorcyclists, and scooters that they're coming up?
  • what is the city or states responsibility/liability if someone riding a bicycle, moped, motorcycle or scooter gets injured because of them?
    • especially considering that logically the ones that are physically cut into the road surface are likely to trap debris that might otherwise get blown off of the road.
  • are they as some people have suggested a thinly veiled attempt to keep cyclists off of roads that they have a legal right to be on?
    • especially given that most of the laws that are written with the FRAP provision talks about a cyclists position on the road and acknowledges that the shoulder isn't part of the road.

Playing devils advocate for a moment. Given that laws with FRAP specify the road and that the shoulder isn't part of the road why are we riding on the shoulder? Yes, I know that's where some unenlightened drivers think that's where we "belong." But we know better.
Colorado has many, many miles of these stupid things. They started appearing 10 or 15 years ago. When they were initially rolled out, the state put them everywhere. They even milled them into road ways that had no shoulders (not a rarity in our state). Through the efforts of advocacy groups like Bicycle Colorado, we cyclists were able to get guide lines that restricted them to at least 3 feet from the edge of the shoulder. This has helped greatly.

Debris does indeed get trapped because of them but it's not trapped in the milled areas. These tend to get swept out by traffic. The debris gets trapped to the outside of the rumble strip because traffic stays away from that part of the shoulder.

As for injuries, there have indeed been injuries but Colorado has limits on litigation against the state. Roadway 'improvements' are protected from lawsuits unless there is obvious negligence and the amount you can sue for is limited to a very low level.
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Old 11-27-09, 12:00 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
motorists have every right to expect bicyclists to ride on the shoulder?

I didn't realize ignorance of the law was a right. why would the drivers have the right to expect bicyclists on the shoulders of roads? .....
Ahh...indeed, good points overall. Don't take my words at more than they mean Bec. As a motorist I would have every right to expect a disabled vehicle to limp off the roadway while it can. I have every right to expect slow traffic to use the slow trafic lane if there is one. I have every right to expect traffic to pass me on the LEFT, and vehicles in the passing lane have every right to expect me to bug-azz out of there if I am chugging along at 45 mph when there is more than enough room in the travel lane(s).

To me the shoulder IS the bike lane, and it works perfectly fine as such.

Your points though on shoulderless roads (in urban areas, where it just isn't practical) remain however.

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Old 11-27-09, 12:39 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Because in some areas the shoulder is plenty wide, smooth and the "traveled way" has 65MPH traffic on it. This sort of thing is exactly why we don't all see eye to eye. Roadways differ significantly all over the country. In the west for instance, it is quite legal to bike on an interstate unless it is posted "no bikes..." and bear in mind that the interstate may be the ONLY road available. This same sort of situation occurs for many local and farm highways... they offer wide 8 foot shoulders and they are the ONLY road in an area. To ride on the traveled way is really quite foolish in those circumstances, especially considering how rare any intersection is on these roads. But then there are those that perceive a "fight for rights" as a greater priority. So be it. Others see a fight for good infrastructure as a priority.
Genec,

I agree with you that the cyclist should ride where s/he feels most comfortable as well as the safest. On most of my ride I ride in the "Clear track" created by the passenger side tires.

However when I'm riding across either the Gandy or Bayside Bridges I ride in the brake down lane. Likewise when I'm riding on Gandy Blvd I ride in the shoulder because the speed on the Gandy is 50MPH. Unfortunately intersections are few and far between on Gandy, which makes crossing it very difficult, but not impossible. One just has to be patient and they will be able to cross and/or move into the left hand turn lane.

I also agree that safety should be the highest priorty and roads should be built so that they are as safe as possible for all road user groups. Make them safe enough for all groups and I am sure that we'll find that more users will accept us and be accomodating.
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Old 11-27-09, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
motorists have every right to expect bicyclists to ride on the shoulder?

I didn't realize ignorance of the law was a right. why would the drivers have the right to expect bicyclists on the shoulders of roads? The only 'rights' involved there are a mistaken impression of bicyclists' rights.

Shoulders in rural areas makes sense. cant put shoulders on most urban roads, so roadway bicycling and roadway bike lanes are the only practical choices.

Shoulders may be developed for bicyclists. but a shoulder is not a bikelane, and a bikelane is not a shoulder.

improved shoulders improve highway conditions for bicyclists along rural roads; bikelanes are integrated with the main roadway and are integrated with the roadway striping between the edges of the travelled way of a road.

yes, considering there are major differences between typical rural, urban and suburban roads, bicyclists are to be expected and planned for on all roads (expect limited access roadways) so motorists should NOT be expecting or have the 'right' to see us bicycling on the shoulders of roads- they do not have the 'right' to carry that discriminatory ignorance about bicyclists.
Bekologist,

I agree that sadly way to many motorists are woefully ignorant when to both the law(s) as they apply to cyclists or their rights to be on certain roads. Sadly as I am sure we all know that even extends to LEOs who are suppose to know better.

I also agree that if roads are properly designed and laid out that there should be enough room for road users to safely coexist and use them to get where they want to go. Be it someone who is using their bike for transportation, exercise, or recreation. As well as the driver who is driving to/from work, going to the park or who is just out for a "Sunday drive." We should all be able to use the various roads and be safe in doing so.
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