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Old 07-11-17, 12:27 PM   #1
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Saw a cyclist on the interstate highway this morning

Former daily bicycle commuter here, and I say former only because a job change has me working where bicycle commuting isn't convenient due to the time it would take and other conditions. I consider myself temporarily between bicycle commuting jobs.

I am all for taking the lane when appropriate, but this morning I saw something that really surprised me (to say the least).

I was driving my car on I-25 in Denver (a limited-access interstate highway in the middle of a major city) and moving to my right to exit onto a lane that feeds three separate exits. As I did, I saw a guy on a mountain bike pedaling down an on-ramp onto the interstate.

Then, to my amazement, he moved over to the left and, just after I passed, he merged on over onto the shoulder of the interstate, with cars and trucks whizzing by at 60 mph or more (close to 100 km/h). I didn't look back after that, but I was scared for this guy.

The guy was pedaling as hard as anyone would under similar circumstances. It did not appear to be an e-bike or a bike with a moped engine strapped on. It looked just like any other mountain bike being ridden by some regular joe.

I hope he survived!
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Last edited by Squeeze; 07-11-17 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 07-11-17, 12:32 PM   #2
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Apparently I can only attach one photo per thread. I have others from me getting closer to him but they keep saying "Upload of file failed."

I sure miss Photobucket.
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Old 07-11-17, 12:33 PM   #3
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Unless he got off the next exit I don't see this ending well. Watch the news at six tonight.
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Old 07-11-17, 12:33 PM   #4
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Your file size might be over 1000k, which is the size limit.
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Old 07-11-17, 12:34 PM   #5
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2.07 MB. Oops.

But how did it take the first one, then?

Give me a few minutes and I'll post a couple more.

And thanks, @mcours2006!
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Old 07-11-17, 12:37 PM   #6
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Another picture...
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Old 07-11-17, 12:40 PM   #7
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Yikes!
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Old 07-11-17, 12:41 PM   #8
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One more...
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Old 07-11-17, 12:44 PM   #9
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Last one. He was heading left for the painted lines which became the shoulder of the highway once the exit lane we're in breaks away to the right.

I'll also go back and make my first picture smaller in size to hopefully stay in good graces with the BF file size police.
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Old 07-11-17, 01:02 PM   #10
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Holy cow. We have a stretch of I-5 which is the only bike route around a joint army/air force base, but riders taking that not-great option stick to the shoulder.
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Old 07-11-17, 01:08 PM   #11
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Poor bloke. Probably new at this...or just completely oblivious. Either way, kinda feel bad for the guy.
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Old 07-11-17, 01:47 PM   #12
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Last one
grandes bolas
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Old 07-11-17, 05:43 PM   #13
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Our interstates through town have similarly wide shoulders. The main hazard isn't the vehicle speed or even the egress ramps, but the same hazard shown in your last photos -- the shoulder stripes vanishing before the egress approach and forcing the cyclist into the traffic lane. That's the only reason I'd avoid an area like that unless there was no choice.

If I was stuck in that situation I'd be tempted to pull over and wait out the traffic, or backtrack and find another route. There's probably an access road running parallel along much of the main highway.

Poor guy may have trusted Google maps. That's the sort of crazy route Google maps routinely suggests when I've tried it to find cycling routes. Doesn't matter that I pick the bicycle option, it'll suggest insanely dangerous routes.

A couple of years ago when I first resumed cycling I tried Google maps to find routes to the nearest MUP. One of the stupider routes Google suggested was along a state highway with a reasonably wide shoulder. Yeah, the shoulder was rideable. Problem was the enormous storm drains with grates running parallel with traffic, spaced 2" apart -- perfect bicycle trap. If I'd tried that route unawares at night without a really bright light I'd have headed smack into one of those bike traps.

Then I tried some regular city street routes Google maps suggested. Those were awful too. I finally just bumbled around until I found some decent suburban streets that happened to intersect with bike lanes that weren't mentioned on Google maps. Eventually I cottoned onto using Strava, Map My Ride and other apps to find out the routes other cyclists used.
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Old 07-11-17, 07:28 PM   #14
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HTFU and get over by the dotted line. I do this in this situation. Leave the other guys options.
Riding the brakes is not one of them.
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Old 07-11-17, 07:38 PM   #15
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Some portions of I-25 are legal for bicycles, but those are generally outside of Denver.
Map here: Colorado Bicycle & Byways Map
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Old 07-11-17, 07:40 PM   #16
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Not too bright.

It's legal to ride interstates in some places, but it should be a last choice option. And if doing so, USE THE SHOULDER.

Taking the lane this way creates a compression in the right lane, and there's no reason to assume drivers are alert to you because you're not on the menu of expectations. You had an open lane and saw him at a good distance. But imagine that a car in the right lane, timed a lane change to avoid him at the last minute. That's OK, but now imaging a car following that one fairly closely, and suddenly having this guy right there when the car in between mover to the other lane.

Of course, if you pulled alongside and urged him to find a safer route (even if you did so very politely), he probably would have flipped you the bird, and told folks about obnoxious drivers.
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Old 07-11-17, 08:31 PM   #17
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That is just plain stupid
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Old 07-11-17, 08:34 PM   #18
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Old 07-11-17, 09:46 PM   #19
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I saw a guy a few months ago riding his bike on the GW Parkway (no shoulder) near Reagan National Airport. The speed limit is 40 mph, but most cars are doing 60 and some scofflaws as high as 80. I was 20 feet to the right on the beautiful Mount Vernon Trail, paved and designed for bikes and peds. Couldn't understand what the guy was thinking. "I'm on a road bike, so I should ride on the road"? This is the third time I've seen people riding on the Parkway, which is really nothing more than a high speed highway. The others were a salmon and a couple of tourers. Maybe it is google maps, but you'd think common sense would rule.
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Old 07-11-17, 10:03 PM   #20
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Not too bright.

It's legal to ride interstates in some places, but it should be a last choice option. And if doing so, USE THE SHOULDER.

Taking the lane this way creates a compression in the right lane, and there's no reason to assume drivers are alert to you because you're not on the menu of expectations. You had an open lane and saw him at a good distance. But imagine that a car in the right lane, timed a lane change to avoid him at the last minute. That's OK, but now imaging a car following that one fairly closely, and suddenly having this guy right there when the car in between mover to the other lane.

Of course, if you pulled alongside and urged him to find a safer route (even if you did so very politely), he probably would have flipped you the bird, and told folks about obnoxious drivers.
+1 (You summed up my thoughts exactly.)
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Old 07-11-17, 10:16 PM   #21
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and very low-visibility clothing
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Old 07-11-17, 11:51 PM   #22
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Denver is a pretty bike friendly city though. I ride a couple miles on one of my routes that is a divided 4 lane highway. I ride just outside of the white line on the right instead of on the shoulder, because the shoulder is where all the glass and gravel is. People are pretty good at getting in the left lane for me and I live in redneckville.
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Old 07-11-17, 11:57 PM   #23
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One of the problems is that so much is car-centric.

During my recent trip north, I had a blowout in Jefferson, and nursed my booted tire to the nearest bike shop in Salem, about 20 miles further north. So, I tried to follow the most direct route there. Unfortunately, all the signs routing me to Salem wanted me to hop onto the Freeway. Fortunately I was able to find Frontage roads until I skirted around the Freeway ramps onto Commercial Avenue which I followed into the City. Anyway, I did consider the Freeway if I had actually needed it.

There appears to be quite a bit of debris on the shoulder above. Not my favorite place to be, but I'd have positioned myself as far right as possible on the shoulder.
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Old 07-12-17, 12:17 AM   #24
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That's just ****ing nuts. I live in denver and I-25 is dangerous even in a hummer. My guess is the dude's got a DUI. You see them riding up and down Colo Blvd, Colfax, et al (major streets w no bike lanes for those who don't know) on "strange" getups (girl's bikes, cheapest they could find pawn shop bikes, their kid's bikes, etc). Not really commuters per se. As someone alluded to they're just taking their normal car route to work (even though there are bike lanes everywhere in metro area and beyond. But they don't know or don't care).

But if this guy's doing this (DUI or no DUI) to avoid the shoulder b/c be thinks he'll get a flat, well, if he gets flattened I guess he made his choice (or it could just be one of those riders who believes the law is on his side--which I don't know but pretty sure in this instance it isn't--so he's gonna exercise that right, common sense be danned). How bout trying a bus pass? Jesus.

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Old 07-12-17, 12:23 AM   #25
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Denver is a pretty bike friendly city though. I ride a couple miles on one of my routes that is a divided 4 lane highway. ... People are pretty good at getting in the left lane for me and I live in redneckville.
Despite the tone of so many posts here on A&S, the issue isn't driver attitudes, or anti-bike sentiment.

Other than a relatively small number of bad apples, drivers tend to be decent to bikes all over the country. It's just that we notice and talk about the problem drivers and don't count the good ones because they're below the radar. We don't factor them simply because there's no reason to.

But there's still a problem on busy roads, and that centers on things like sight lines, speeds, expectations and reflexes. So the danger of riding on the interstate isn't that some creep will kill you, it's that some caring, relatively careful driver will, simply because he's not ready for the encounter.
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