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What should I do?

Old 03-23-10, 12:10 PM
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What should I do?

I live in a pretty rural place, and I have to commute to the city every morning... there is one road basically to get there, and as you can imagine it's often crowded and busy. One part of the road is a ~2 mile stretch that is very tight, narrow lanes, and not much of a shoulder at all. The speed limit is 35, but people regularly blow through there at 50+ I'm pretty new to road cycling in general, but I feel pretty good on roads- but I'm not sure if this is something that I want to try, because it could get real messy.

There is a sidewalk though, but there is a town ordinance (maybe it's more than just my town) that says that you can't bike on a side walk. So... what do you think I should do? Ride in the road, and maybe risk it (I feel that this road is WAY more risky than most) or ride on the sidewalk for that small stretch of it?

Thanks.
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Old 03-23-10, 12:26 PM
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Does anyone walk on the sidewalk? Are there many driveways and roads that cross the sidewalk for that 2 mile stretch?
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Old 03-23-10, 12:27 PM
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not a lot of walkers, maybe 1 or two if that. There are a few gas stations but that's it on that stretch.
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Old 03-23-10, 01:15 PM
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How is the traffic looks one hour earlier. Is it less crowded. Sometime just changing the commute time can make a world of difference in the congestion.

Otherwise you may have to take the lane whenever needed and keep an sharp eye on your mirror such that if too many cars are behind you, then pull over to the sidewalk and get on it to wait for another opening in the traffic before hopping back into the street.
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Old 03-23-10, 01:19 PM
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I have a section like that.
I bought a Dinotte 140L Tail Light.
It does the job of warning traffic way back from the bike.
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Old 03-23-10, 06:04 PM
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Can you drive past the risky part, then find a place to park and ride the rest of the way?
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Old 03-24-10, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by waanfiride
I live in a pretty rural place, and I have to commute to the city every morning... there is one road basically to get there, and as you can imagine it's often crowded and busy. One part of the road is a ~2 mile stretch that is very tight, narrow lanes, and not much of a shoulder at all. The speed limit is 35, but people regularly blow through there at 50+ I'm pretty new to road cycling in general, but I feel pretty good on roads- but I'm not sure if this is something that I want to try, because it could get real messy.

There is a sidewalk though, but there is a town ordinance (maybe it's more than just my town) that says that you can't bike on a side walk. So... what do you think I should do? Ride in the road, and maybe risk it (I feel that this road is WAY more risky than most) or ride on the sidewalk for that small stretch of it?

Thanks.


In the Vermont statutes, look at:

Title 23-Motor Vehicles
Chapter 13-Operation of Vehicles
Subchapter 12-Operation of Bicycles, Electric Personal Mobility Devices and Play Vehicles
1139-Riding on roadways and bicycle paths

(a) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

That means, you are recommended to stay to the absolute right side BUT, only what is 'practicable'.

So ride on the sidewalk but, the majority of the time, ride on the road.
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Old 03-24-10, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
(a) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

That means, you are recommended to stay to the absolute right side BUT, only what is 'practicable'.

So ride on the sidewalk but, the majority of the time, ride on the road.



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Old 03-24-10, 04:11 AM
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If your other options are either unpleasant and dangerous or illegal, as seems to be the case, why not walk the two miles on the sidewalk? At a walking speed of 4 mph it takes half an hour to do 2 miles and at 15 mph it takes 8 minutes to bike it, so walking versus biking only costs you 22 minutes. On one of my commuting routes (the shortest and fastest) I walk through two tunnels on a sidewalk for half a mile and it adds about eight minutes onto the trip versus riding, but I prefer to walk because it avoids being buzzed by buses going 50 mph in a dark tunnel. Here is a picture taken in the short break between the tunnels. If I'm not in a hurry I can always stop and admire the view that the cars are going too fast to appreciate.
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Old 03-24-10, 04:35 AM
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I would ignore most of the advice that has been posted here, it's no good. You are much safer than you think you are, I ride the same type of roads daily, and have for years. You should take a League cycling course, like Road Skills 101. That will arm you with the knowledge you need. I would also recommend a mirror. Take the lane if you feel you are being passed unsafely. Riding on sidewalk is rarely safer than riding on road.
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Old 03-24-10, 05:21 AM
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Oh boy
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Old 03-24-10, 05:51 AM
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If there aren't many homes or sides streets in that 2-mile stretch, then I see no harm in riding the sidewalk. Generally speaking, riding on sidewalks is more dangerous than riding on roads because people pulling out of (or into) driveways and side streets often don't notice you. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and this may be one of them. There are a couple of areas in my commute where I sometimes ride the sidewalk to avoid having to cross a very busy 4-lane road, and taking the sidewalk will get me to a traffic signal where I can cross much safer.

As others mentioned, you would be safer on the road if you invested in a very bright tail-like, like Dinotte, and wore a neon yellow-green vest/jacket/jersey.
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Old 03-24-10, 06:06 AM
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Ride where you feel comfortable and safe. Period.

I ride on roads like that daily...but that doesn't mean that you have to.
But if you do, ride predictably, courteously, share the lane if there is room, otherwise position yourself so that drivers have no doubt that they have to cross into the oncoming lane to pass you, if traffic piles up behind you, hop on the sidewalk or pull off in one of those gas stations for a bit to let the log jam clear. Finally, make yourself plenty visible with both active lighting, passive reflectivity and bright colored clothing.

Most importantly, plan for Murphy by expecting the other people to do the stupidest thing possible...and plan your actions accordingly.
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