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Am I worrying about getting hit too much?

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Am I worrying about getting hit too much?

Old 06-18-10, 12:03 PM
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Am I worrying about getting hit too much?

Hi, just bought my first bike with my own money, a 1993 Ross Professional Gran Tour. I love it to death and I'm fixing it up all the way. The only thing, though, I'm running out of places to ride around my house! On one side, I'm next to a US Highway, no bike lane. On the other side, I'm next to an extremely busy 2 way street with no bike lane and ditches on both sides of the road (the only street I can use to get to school). On the other side I have a 4 lane street with no bike lane. These are the only ways out of my neighborhood and the only ways to get around my town. Granted, there is a trail system that is pretty large and can get you through a good part of the town without getting on the big roads, but I ride on it once or twice a week already. And to get to it, surprise, you have to ride on a 45 mph street with no bike lane!

Am I worrying too much and riding on the streets would be ok? I feel like I'm in that crappy medium between a big city, where they've established a good enough infrastructure to hold bikes and a small town, where traffic isn't a big deal.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by RaiderInBlue47
Hi, just bought my first bike with my own money, a 1993 Ross Professional Gran Tour. I love it to death and I'm fixing it up all the way. The only thing, though, I'm running out of places to ride around my house! On one side, I'm next to a US Highway, no bike lane. On the other side, I'm next to an extremely busy 2 way street with no bike lane and ditches on both sides of the road (the only street I can use to get to school). On the other side I have a 4 lane street with no bike lane. These are the only ways out of my neighborhood and the only ways to get around my town. Granted, there is a trail system that is pretty large and can get you through a good part of the town without getting on the big roads, but I ride on it once or twice a week already. And to get to it, surprise, you have to ride on a 45 mph street with no bike lane!

Am I worrying too much and riding on the streets would be ok? I feel like I'm in that crappy medium between a big city, where they've established a good enough infrastructure to hold bikes and a small town, where traffic isn't a big deal.
I'm pretty sure most of us are riding on streets with no bike lanes, with speed limits of 55. Well, that's how it is around my neck of the woods. Sure, there are places with lanes, and lower speed limits. I only get the lower speed limits at times. You just have to keep your line and be aware of approaching cars. Accidents do happen, but are actually fairly rare.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:28 PM
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Yes.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulex
I'm pretty sure most of us are riding on streets with no bike lanes, with speed limits of 55.
Incorrect.

I worry about getting hit on the roads too, but I do it anyway.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:34 PM
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pretty much every one rides on the road, you get somewhat used to it. I use a standard issue Fred special helmet mirror to see whats coming up behind me. I dont know how I lived without it before.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:43 PM
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I feel everyone coming up in back of me is a potential threat.
Don't ever feel that the auto driver sees you or even cares.
The old saying... Be a defensive driver even on a bike.
You do get used to the cars zooming past you after a while.
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Old 06-18-10, 12:45 PM
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Yes. Read this: https://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/index.htm
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Old 06-18-10, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol
Incorrect.

I worry about getting hit on the roads too, but I do it anyway.
What are the limits on your roads? Streets around my house are 35-45, but I can be on country roads with 55 limit withing 10 minutes.
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Old 06-18-10, 01:04 PM
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OP some of your fears are out of inexperience. When I first got back into bike riding I thought I only belonged on residential streets, bike trails or (gasp) sidewalks (last place you want to ride on). When you are driving around pay close attention to where other bikers are riding. Sometimes you have to test the waters yourself and you will become more and more comfortable riding on the street or roads. I find drivers are far more courteous on 55mph 2 lane country roads without shoulders than on busy residential streets. Do a search for a bicycle map and see if one exists in your area. Also do searches for bike route maps in your area on bikely.com, mapmyride.com etc. That will give you a good idea of what others are doing.
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Old 06-18-10, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulex
What are the limits on your roads? Streets around my house are 35-45, but I can be on country roads with 55 limit withing 10 minutes.
Most roads (that cyclists would use) are slower than that here--even some sections of state highways.

Curvy roads, trees, and rolling countryside (limiting visibility) slow things down a bit.
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Old 06-18-10, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulex
What are the limits on your roads? Streets around my house are 35-45, but I can be on country roads with 55 limit withing 10 minutes.
I frequently ride on the freeway... speed limit is 65... like anyone actually goes that.

No marked bike lane, but usually fairly wide shoulder.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
I frequently ride on the freeway... speed limit is 65... like anyone actually goes that.

No marked bike lane, but usually fairly wide shoulder.
I didn't realize that was legal?
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Old 06-18-10, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by EKCooper
I didn't realize that was legal?
It depends
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Old 06-18-10, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
It depends
Ah. Everything's legal in CA? :-)
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Old 06-18-10, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol
Most roads (that cyclists would use) are slower than that here--even some sections of state highways.

Curvy roads, trees, and rolling countryside (limiting visibility) slow things down a bit.
I leave my house in any direction its 45mph for about 5 miles, then 70-75mph. Welcome to rual Texas.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:11 PM
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I think we all worry about getting hit. Some cyclists, like umd, actually have, and lived to tell the tale and ride again.

I agree that part of it is probably inexperience and (healthy) caution on your part. My suggestion is to figure out when the busiest/most dangerous times of the day are on the roads you want to ride, then try to stay off those roads during those periods.

For example, I try not to ride during rush hours (mornings and evenings). There's one busy highway with a narrow shoulder that I will only ride on Sundays because there's far less truck traffic. Try not to ride into a setting sun; wear bright colors on low visibility days. Stuff like that.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by EKCooper
I didn't realize that was legal?
We have highways like this in Oregon. Surprised to see signs saying "bicycles on roadway" "share the road". Not sure I'd ride there.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by EKCooper
Ah. Everything's legal in CA? :-)
It's legal to ride on the freeway when there is no other route. There are exactly 3 roads out of Santa Barbara. One is a freeway, the other two are highways. If you want to go north/west your only options are the 101 (aka 1) or the 154. If you want to go south/east your only options are the 101 (aka 1) again, or the 150 just past Carpinteria.

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Old 06-18-10, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
I frequently ride on the freeway... speed limit is 65... like anyone actually goes that.

No marked bike lane, but usually fairly wide shoulder.
Originally Posted by EKCooper
I didn't realize that was legal?
I used to ride on the interstates(I-40 & I-85) before I found out it was illegal. The tractor trailers and dump trucks made for some interesting -read insanely dangerous- wind/draft patterns. Their initial wind would almost push you off into the ditch and then after they passed a vacuum would be created that would suck you back into the roadway.

I don't do that anymore. The garbage on the shoulders were murder on tires also. -gatorskins excepted.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:29 PM
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The interstate from Phoenix to Flagstaff, AZ is a designated bike route, complete with signs. I think the speed limit is 75, but everyone goes about 90. Nothing but desert for most of the route. Having driven it, I don't think it would make for very good riding. I seem to recall seeing some photos of mattm riding on I-90 up in Washington State, I believe.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:31 PM
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OP, you didn't mention where you live. Perhaps there are some bike safety courses you can take in your area? Your lack of confidence is just as dangerous as all the "true" threats on the road. A bike safety course might help your confidence.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:37 PM
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It is also legal on the 5 freeway if Camp Pendleton Marine base is closed to civilian traffic. Four lanes of traffic speeding along at 65-80 plus mph. Luckily there is 8 feet of emergency lane to use. You can make great time as the semi-trucks just suck you along, holding 25-30 mph is easily done.
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Old 06-18-10, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lpolliard
It is also legal on the 5 freeway if Camp Pendleton Marine base is closed to civilian traffic. Four lanes of traffic speeding along at 65-80 plus mph. Luckily there is 8 feet of emergency lane to use. You can make great time as the semi-trucks just suck you along, holding 25-30 mph is easily done.
Shhhh, you are giving away all the secrets...
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Old 06-18-10, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wanders
I used to ride on the interstates(I-40 & I-85) before I found out it was illegal. The tractor trailers and dump trucks made for some interesting -read insanely dangerous- wind/draft patterns. Their initial wind would almost push you off into the ditch and then after they passed a vacuum would be created that would suck you back into the roadway.

I don't do that anymore. The garbage on the shoulders were murder on tires also. -gatorskins excepted.
I can't even imagine. My S1 can be tough enough with natural crosswinds, I can't fathom a rig!!!!
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Old 06-18-10, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Zizka
Thanks for the link.

I sent it on to friend who is just starting out and has lots of fears and questions about ridding on the road, just like we all did when starting out.
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