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Act Now to Save Riding Routes From Rumble Strips!

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Act Now to Save Riding Routes From Rumble Strips!

Old 08-03-10, 05:04 AM
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Act Now to Save Riding Routes From Rumble Strips!

Many western states employ rumble strips. .Cross one of those, you'll go down for sure.
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Cyclists and motorists share a desire for safer roadways. Most of us are motorists as well as cyclists and we have probably all benefited from the wake-up call provided by rumble strips on the Interstate or major state highways. However, as cyclists we also know that there is no such thing as a bicyclist-friendly rumble strip, and over the years a lot of good roads for riding have been lost to rumble strips. [Click here to go directly to send the alert.]

Almost a decade ago the cycling community worked long and hard with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and State Departments of Transportation (DOT) to develop more tolerable rumble strip designs (for example, with gaps in the rumbles so that cyclists can cross them if needed) and to agree to policies that ensured popular cycling routes and roads with shoulders less than four feet in width would not be rumbled without good cause – i.e. a documented history of run-off-the-road crashes.

Today we are faced with a renewed push by the FHWA and state DOTs to rumble strip state highways as a matter of course and without regard to their own policies on where it is appropriate. We are seeing rumble strips being proposed and implemented in more and more urban settings, rather than just rural highways. In an attempt to prevent “roadway departures” by motor vehicles, rumble strips are seen as a very effective countermeasure: they do wake people up. Unfortunately, not every road is the nail to the rumble strips hammer. To be effective, there has to be recovery room; crash history and there have to be no unintended consequences. We need transportation agencies to take closer look into their toolbox.

For example, has roadway safety been improved if cyclists are all but forced to ride in the travel lane of a high-speed rural roadway because the shoulder has been rendered useless by rumble strips? This gets to the heart of the US Secretary of Transportation’s recent policy statement that declares “Because of the benefits they provide, transportation agencies should give the same priority to walking and bicycling as is given to other transportation modes.” This is where the rubber meets the road and we see if Federal and state agencies are going to heed LaHood’s words that, “this is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

We have researched and issued a report on best practices. We have tried to work with FHWA on this issue. In an unprecedented partnership, the League of American Bicyclists, Adventure Cycling Association, Alliance for Biking and Walking, and USA Cycling have jointly asked them to re-issue their existing rumble strip guidance to states. We’ve met with officials in FHWA’s Office of Safety to ask for their help in applying their own guidance at the state level. And yet we learned recently that 17 states are leading a “Roadway Departure Prevention” program where the indiscriminate and wholesale application of rumble strips is being encouraged. Other states are sure to follow and the hard-won policy protecting cycling routes has been thrown out of the window.

This is a real threat and it is time to act! We need your immediate support and action to try to put a stop to it, today. We are not asking to end the use of rumble strips – they are a legitimate and effective safety treatment. We ARE asking for an end to the indiscriminate and inappropriate application of rumble strips that ignores FHWA and AASHTO’s own guidance on when and where they should be used. Send a message to your State DOT TODAY and ensure you don’t wake up tomorrow and discover your favorite ride has been ruined.



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Old 08-03-10, 02:47 PM
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I suspect rumble strips are being looked at with renewed enthusiasm by highway agencies as a counter-measure for the growing epidemic of cell phone-related distracted/impaired driving. Instead of standing up to the telecommuncations lobby and addressing the root cause by passing and enforcing laws with some teeth, let's implement a band-aid solution that harms only a small minority of highway users (cyclists).
 
Old 08-03-10, 04:13 PM
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You shouldn't ride on the shoulder anyway.

I don't.
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Old 08-03-10, 05:18 PM
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Hmm, correct me if I'm mistaken, but if as many of us have suggested. Of lowering the overall speed limit of streets in cities and towns to around 30 or so MPH would rumble strips even be needed? Regardless of the speed limit drivers are still going to drive distracted, at least until both the Law Enforcement and Justice community wake up and realize the seriousness of distracted driving. But at slower speeds, the damage/injuries incurred will be reduced.
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Old 08-03-10, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fordmanvt
You shouldn't ride on the shoulder anyway.

I don't.
Nor do I or a lot of us here, but there are times when for our safety like other road users we need to head for the shoulder to avoid being hit by a car coming at us, or to avoid a pot hole or other debris. And if there are rumble strips between us and the shoulder it could make for a messy situation.
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Old 08-15-10, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fordmanvt
You shouldn't ride on the shoulder anyway.

I don't.
However, many cyclists do. If I have the option to a paved shoulder rather than dealing with people passing me far too closely at 100 km/h I will take it every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
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Old 08-15-10, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy
Hmm, correct me if I'm mistaken, but if as many of us have suggested. Of lowering the overall speed limit of streets in cities and towns to around 30 or so MPH would rumble strips even be needed? Regardless of the speed limit drivers are still going to drive distracted, at least until both the Law Enforcement and Justice community wake up and realize the seriousness of distracted driving. But at slower speeds, the damage/injuries incurred will be reduced.
Oh aren't you folks the poster child of the belief that bicycles are toys that can't share the road with vehicles going the appropriate road speed. I am sure that the streets that need 30 mph, already have such. On busier /wider roadways, the effect of lowering speed limits (say 5%) would inevitably have the effect of having 5% more vehicles on the road at any given time. I'm sure that i don't want 5% more congestion to deal with, if I'm actually wanting to get somewhere.

I would agree they should be shallower divots at least.
The rumbles in the OP post pic is certainly unacceptable.

The only place i wouldn't put rumble strips is on a shoulder less than 3 feet. I have used one with such a 3 ft. shoulder and had zero problem with either the 2 ft. lane or the 1 ft. rumble strip. There is almost zero need to cross the rumble strip.
An exception might be an animal, either dead or alive, thats what brakes are for.
A clear 2 ft. shoulder is zero problem for me either.
Anybody who would refuse to use a consistently wide shoulder of more than 3 ft. deserves all the harrasment they get.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 08-15-10 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 08-15-10, 08:40 PM
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I've never seen a rumble strip "render a shoulder unusable" around here. Always plenty of room beside it. I've also nevewr had a problem riding across/down one, but wouldn't want to do it for miles. You're really not going to see any in an urban setting with curbs.

Lowering a speed limit really doesn't slow cars down. A majority of people will always drive a speed they feel comfotable with for the roadway, no matter what the posted speed. Speed limits should be based on this, known as the 85th percentile - Of course politics often sets the limits.
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Old 08-15-10, 08:51 PM
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If the "shoulder" is kept clean and intended to be used as a bike lane, then I'd be all for having a 1 foot wide rumble strip separating the car lane from the "bike lane", with gaps at appropriate intervals for when bikes want to go into or out of the bike lane. There are actually roads like this here in the SF bay area and I thought it was a pretty decent idea.

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Old 08-16-10, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by fordmanvt
You shouldn't ride on the shoulder anyway.

I don't.
I do. My ride is mostly on 2 lane rural roads with a nice, clean, debris-free shoulder 2 feet wide, but the lanes aren't all that wide and traffic is 60 MPH. I take the lane when it makes sense for my safety or it's the only sensible choice, but it would be kind of silly to do so on these roads.

Some of my route has no shoulders, and of course I take the lane there. Or if there's a shoulder but the lane is narrow, or some other situation.
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