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Safety on the motor vehicle roads while touring

Old 04-16-21, 07:04 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I fully agree with the concept, but I think 10 to 12 feet is much better. Too close and you can't see small debris in the road (broken glass, wire bits, other bits of metal that fell off cars, etc.) until you hit it. A few more feet gives you time to try to steer around it.
We usually ride close enough to properly draft when I have toured with others, so real close. Sometimes it would be inches rather than feet, but seldom more that a few feet on the flat roads. On hills we might string out a bit. Riding close does had the disadvantage you mention though. The lead rider usually points out the worst of the debris and pot holes though.

We were always a small group and generally close enough that a motor vehicle could treat us like one vehicle.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:04 AM
  #27  
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I tour mainly in Western Canada and generally follow hwys because they are often the only route available. We don't have a grid like infrastructure outside major metro areas. I don't mind them because, although the speeds of vehicles is greater, usually they have decent shoulders and I don't have to ride in the travel lane. As long as vehicles are driving on the road, and I in the shoulder, all is well. No one has to do anything out of the ordinary.

Smaller roads with sketchy or no shoulders are ok if there is low traffic.

For me, the worst choice is those roads with traffic. Constantly riding in the same travel lane as vehicles and one of us needing to do something "unusual" to avoid contact requires constant attention to the road.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:49 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I fully agree with the concept, but I think 10 to 12 feet is much better. Too close and you can't see small debris in the road (broken glass, wire bits, other bits of metal that fell off cars, etc.) until you hit it. A few more feet gives you time to try to steer around it.
A bike length or less works for us at normal cruising speed, more room on screaming descents. On some slower climbs we might get spread out, and in that case we make sure there's enough room to pass us one at a time. On the rare occasion we have a larger group, we split up in twos so we're about the same length as a car, easier to pass safely.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:55 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Would you ride this road?
Yes.

While not preferred, we get roads like that around Austin as well. Generally cases not too far from an urban center but where population has expanded and roads are still closer to how they were originally built. In general, I'll not do stupid things e.g. riding at night - and otherwise make sure I am visible and predictable. I also watch my mirror a bit more just to understand situation coming up, e.g. if I start to spot someone trying to pass from ahead and/or someone from behind at same time.

Sometimes if you have ability, time of day can also make a difference for some of these roads, so if for example I am in commuting hours, I might take more roundabout route but with better shoulders.
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Old 04-16-21, 11:10 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I cycled a rural Arizona road ......
I'm curious where you live if passing is prohibited by a solid white line. Here that's just a lane edge.
if you are in Arizona you need to check page 22 of the Arizona Drivers License Manual regarding Do Not Pass situations.
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Old 04-16-21, 02:31 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I think it's fair to say 10 wheels and str that none of us would prefer roads like that, but on a long trip sometimes we end up hitting a section like this and you just have to get through it---. It's not ideal, not nice, not chosen on purpose.
What can at least help is being experienced amongst traffic, having good bicycle handling skills ie holding a line while looking in mirror and being calm, and having the judgement and timing to know when it's safer to take 10 seconds and pull over.
I donīt know in the US or Canada .... but here in EU I can do 5000km, crossing all over the place, in one go, and only ""touch"" MAX 200km roads with traffic roads.
ok, that needs some serious planing, but online tools like "ridewithgps" have great cycling maps.

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Old 04-16-21, 03:01 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I would have to say T that to me, that shoulder is not bad. I guess I have ridden on much worse and my standards have gone down.
Yeah, I agree. Looks like many roads that I have ridden.

I tend to gravitate to roads with the US designation. US 90 for example. Many of those look like that picture much of the way. They tend to have a shoulder, be graded reasonably well over the mountains, be direct for long distance travel, and have plenty of services.

US 90 is one that I'd consider riding for it's 1600+ mile length if I were to cross the Southern Tier again. I have ridden a lot of it and found it nice enough (some of it looks like that picture some of it lighter traffic and rural.

Another that has sections a lot like that... I always wondered how feasible riding US 40 coast to coast would be. I have ridden pieces of it and know there are probably chunks that would need to be detoured around (some of it may have been replaced by interstate and some may be in urban areas that I'd just as soon avoid), but it is an iconic road.
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Old 04-16-21, 09:15 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
That is a good road in my area.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:19 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by str View Post
I donīt know in the US or Canada .... but here in EU I can do 5000km, crossing all over the place, in one go, and only ""touch"" MAX 200km roads with traffic roads.
ok, that needs some serious planing, but online tools like "ridewithgps" have great cycling maps.
I guess it's a mixed answer, here there often aren't the smaller roads like D roads in France vs the more busy N roads. I've only biked a bit in Spain, in the Basque area for a few days, and my memories of the small roads that we were on we were just like the quiet D roads in France.

clearly though from your photos, you are taking the time to find and go on smaller roads, which like I often comment on, look like fantastic fun to ride on.. For sure it takes more planning time, and using Google maps and satellite views to research, and people do that here too, but my feeling is that in Europe there are just more networks of smaller roads than here.

at least with the internet and GPS stuff, it's a lot easier to find and share really interesting routes avoiding busier roads.
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Old 04-18-21, 10:55 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I guess it's a mixed answer, here there often aren't the smaller roads like D roads in France vs the more busy N roads. I've only biked a bit in Spain, in the Basque area for a few days, and my memories of the small roads that we were on we were just like the quiet D roads in France.

clearly though from your photos, you are taking the time to find and go on smaller roads, which like I often comment on, look like fantastic fun to ride on.. For sure it takes more planning time, and using Google maps and satellite views to research, and people do that here too, but my feeling is that in Europe there are just more networks of smaller roads than here.

at least with the internet and GPS stuff, it's a lot easier to find and share really interesting routes avoiding busier roads.
yes, when riding here in EU don't use the N roads = National Roads, too much traffic.
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Old 04-18-21, 07:18 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I am involved with teaching bike safety in our school district. In our program we teach the kids, 5th graders, to ride on the roads. Our graduation ride culminates with a ride around our small city, including busy traffic, turns at traffic signals and stop signs, and rules of the road; essentially everything you would teach a young motor vehicle driver. I was really sad to see Oregon adopt the "Idaho Stop" for cyclists: slow down at the stop sign, and if it is clear, ride through it. My point is that we advocate using the roads, but not as aggressively as the Cycling Savvey folks.

This was part of our route through Iowa while riding Highway 20 across the U.S. As folks said, situational awareness is important. Often trucks would come up behind us and we could see things getting tight. We just pulled off and made friends with a couple of truckers. We could also see approaching trucks getting set up to do a pass, and would also pull over onto the shoulder. The situation required a lot of vigilance, but we did not think it was unsafe or dangerous.
I am not a big fan of Cycling Savvy but I do think there are some things they teach that are helpful. One of them is to bike near the center of the lane on roads that look like your picture, if you must be on a road like that. The League makes a similar suggestion for roads without wide enough shoulders. BTW, it is great you are working at the school. I am not far north of you and am trying to put together a program in our small rural town. We are making some progress but the SRTS program and actual in school training looks like a way off. The Pandemic was not helpful as we had some momentum than the Zoom programs started. Keep up the good work in your town!
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Old 04-18-21, 09:03 PM
  #37  
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Debade, in the situation in this photo by Doug, I would never ride in the middle of the lane, the speeds are too high and you would be creating a very dangerous and annoying situation for vehicles, and yourself.
I only ever do that in much lower speed situations, such as in certain urban situations.
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Old 04-18-21, 09:07 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
I am not a big fan of Cycling Savvy but I do think there are some things they teach that are helpful. One of them is to bike near the center of the lane on roads that look like your picture, if you must be on a road like that. The League makes a similar suggestion for roads without wide enough shoulders. BTW, it is great you are working at the school. I am not far north of you and am trying to put together a program in our small rural town. We are making some progress but the SRTS program and actual in school training looks like a way off. The Pandemic was not helpful as we had some momentum than the Zoom programs started. Keep up the good work in your town!
We have pretty much come to a halt in our program. We have a SRTS grant, and it has been extended, so that will help. I went through the maintenance on the bike fleet in the winter of 2020, and have not used the bikes since then. We were working with the people who had bike safety program in a nearby community. The ok⁰820 4thrganizer of the 2017 or 2018 Tandem rally, a multi-day event , donated enough of their proceeds for them to buy a new bike fleet, trailer and accessories. They donated their old fleet (37 bikes) , trailer, and accessories to us, and we found a home for it with the school district. Hopefully we can do something next fall. Our school district is on board, as well as our police department. We have a bike "rated" officer who rides the graduation ride with us. Our bike club donated 130 helmets to the program. While the classes are relatively small, the helmets have to be quarantined (for head lice) for 2 weeks after use.

My wife is leading one of the groups on the graduation ride. She is also our chief grant writer.

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Old 04-18-21, 09:17 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
debade, in the situation in this photo by doug, i would never ride in the middle of the lane, the speeds are too high and you would be creating a very dangerous and annoying situation for vehicles, and yourself.
I only ever do that in much lower speed situations, such as in certain urban situations.
+1
Especially at stop signs. In the photo above the group is approaching a stop sign and are going to make a left turn They check for traffic behind them, and signal that they are going to take the lane. They are just starting to take the lane.

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Old 04-19-21, 07:52 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Debade, in the situation in this photo by Doug, I would never ride in the middle of the lane, the speeds are too high and you would be creating a very dangerous and annoying situation for vehicles, and yourself.
I only ever do that in much lower speed situations, such as in certain urban situations.
I realize I'm getting into a religious discussion here. But if you were on this road, where would you ride? Traffic coming up from behind you really doesn't look like it has room to pass you within your lane, assuming you're on the pavement at all. So you either have to encourage them to switch lanes to pass when safe, or they'll try to squeeze by you with less than a foot of clearance.

Or would you support riding a gravel bike on the deteriorating shoulder instead?
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Old 04-19-21, 04:00 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I realize I'm getting into a religious discussion here. But if you were on this road, where would you ride? Traffic coming up from behind you really doesn't look like it has room to pass you within your lane, assuming you're on the pavement at all. So you either have to encourage them to switch lanes to pass when safe, or they'll try to squeeze by you with less than a foot of clearance.

Or would you support riding a gravel bike on the deteriorating shoulder instead?
I've ridden on tons of roads like this, if like in the photo there was oncoming truck or trucks, and behind me , especially another truck, I'm enough of a motor vehicle driver to know that it will be tricky for the trucks, and just plain dangerous for everyone if I blithely stay on the edge of the lane, so in this specific case (the likes I have encountered countless times) I would be monitoring my mirror long before the crucial last seconds, and if it was tight, simply ride off onto the shoulder, with lots of time using judgement and time from using my mirror.

I see no reason to cause cars or trucks to have to slam on the brakes, causing a real life dangerous situation for other cars coming up behind--again, as a car driver who has driver for well over 40 years, and loves driving, I know this is both dangerous and frustrating for no reason if a bike were to stick themselves as a roadblock on a 100kph 60mph two laner.

sure, if there is no one coming the other way, thats different, and using my very good mirror (flat mirror, not convex, so it is much easier to judge distances and timing to arrival of rear coming cars) then I will sometimes be a bit over into the lane---IF the shoulder is really rough or whatever, to send a message to the rear coming car to please move over a bit.
I regularly "control" a situation by moving over a bit into the lane, watching the rear coming car in my mirror, and then moving back in a bit when they pass in case the really do buzz me too close.

really, no black and white answer, and internet blah blah is ok, but I go with my instincts of bicycle riding, car driving, motorcycling riding, common sense, AND consideration--a big part on the consideration too.

but like in the photo I posted days ago, sometimes there are lots of traffic on narrow roads, and you just have to be very focused, hold a really tight line, watch your mirror, have the ability to hold a very tight line while watching your mirror, and just concentrate like heck, and take the odd break off onto the shoulder, especially when trucks are involved.

sure, I've had the handful of psychopathic nutbar grinning sob truck drivers who pass close just to get their rocks off, but the vast majority of them are professional drivers, so I dont mind making their day a bit easier if its not a big deal.
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Old 04-19-21, 05:17 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I've ridden on tons of roads like this, if like in the photo there was oncoming truck or trucks, and behind me , especially another truck, I'm enough of a motor vehicle driver to know that it will be tricky for the trucks, and just plain dangerous for everyone if I blithely stay on the edge of the lane, so in this specific case (the likes I have encountered countless times) I would be monitoring my mirror long before the crucial last seconds, and if it was tight, simply ride off onto the shoulder, with lots of time using judgement and time from using my mirror.
+1

This definitely is the type of situation I would be monitoring my mirror - as well as looking ahead. I'll ride out of the debris zone on right side of crumbling pavement, but I wouldn't be riding in middle of the lane. If it seems like I am accumulating some traffic behind, I might occasionally also pull off to let some of it pass. I had some short places like this in Baja where there really wasn't room for two trucks to pass each other (one one direction, the other the other direction) and have a bicyclist as well. I bailed once or twice to let things squeeze through - but generally trucks were also pretty good about not trying to pass too soon.

Where I might be inclined to take a lane a bit more is if for some reason the lane itself was narrowed (e.g. construction zone with concrete barriers or dropoff to the right and no alternative to the left). In that case however, I will typically accumulate one car behind me and they end up riding for a (hopefully short) distance while we go past the bridge construction or whatever that caused the abnormal narrowing.

But just riding in middle of this lane because there are no shoulders is not something I end up doing.

I don't find this type of road as obnoxious as one where the shoulders get obstructed by drains and rumble strips because in those situations, cars have less understanding of why you aren't on the shoulder, e.g.

Last edited by mev; 04-19-21 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 04-19-21, 06:14 PM
  #43  
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thats a good photo mev, sound effects are either BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPP!!!, or THUMP THUMP, THUMP THUMP!!!

and as you say, its not really clear at all to drivers why an apparently wide shoulder can cause us cyclists issues.
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Old 04-20-21, 05:15 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
...
I don't find this type of road as obnoxious as one where the shoulders get obstructed by drains and rumble strips because in those situations, cars have less understanding of why you aren't on the shoulder, e.g.
Your photo was very good at capturing the rumble strip. I took this photo because more than the left half of the shoulder was rumble strip, but the photo did not capture it well, that is a slightly darker gray but if you were not there to ride it you would not know from this photo that the rumble strip could shake the teeth out of your jaw.



The non-rumble strip of shoulder along the right side edge was roughly a foot wide, which would be difficult to ride for any distance if you did not have wind gusts. But, there were wind gusts.

And of course the cable median means that the big trucks and busses can't give you much space if they wanted to.
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Old 04-20-21, 06:08 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I realize I'm getting into a religious discussion here. But if you were on this road, where would you ride? Traffic coming up from behind you really doesn't look like it has room to pass you within your lane, assuming you're on the pavement at all. So you either have to encourage them to switch lanes to pass when safe, or they'll try to squeeze by you with less than a foot of clearance.

Or would you support riding a gravel bike on the deteriorating shoulder instead?
hey there pd, this was an excellent topic to bring up, so that less experienced tourers can think this through, reading some time trued methods of dealing with this sort of road situation that does occur sometimes.

it may be hard for non car drivers to get the dynamics and dangers of 120mph combined oncoming speeds of two vehicles, especially trucks that are wide and have much longer braking distances.
As cyclists I feel its our responsibility to be good ambassadors also, plus not to mention the added inconvenience of getting killed, kinda ruins your day.

seriously, what are your thoughts on a road situation like this?
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Old 04-20-21, 06:20 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Your photo was very good at capturing the rumble strip. I took this photo because more than the left half of the shoulder was rumble strip, but the photo did not capture it well, that is a slightly darker gray but if you were not there to ride it you would not know from this photo that the rumble strip could shake the teeth out of your jaw.



The non-rumble strip of shoulder along the right side edge was roughly a foot wide, which would be difficult to ride for any distance if you did not have wind gusts. But, there were wind gusts.

And of course the cable median means that the big trucks and busses can't give you much space if they wanted to.
I saw a lot of road just like that. Memory is hazy which state it was, either Montana or Wyoming I think. I generally just rode pretty much on the white line when it wasn't feasible to ride to the right of the rumble strip. It wasn't ideal, but even trucks could generally pass allowing 3' of clearance, but not much more at times. Once in a while I resorted to crossing the rumble strip, but not too often. Mostly I just let traffic pass fairly close.

The weirdest rumble strip fail I can remember was a beautiful 10' wide paved shoulder that was ruined with a rumble strip that was the full width of the shoulder of the shoulder. I don't have a picture handy, but it was somewhere near Yoder Kansas.
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Old 04-20-21, 06:26 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
The weirdest rumble strip fail I can remember was a beautiful 10' wide paved shoulder that was ruined with a rumble strip that was the full width of the shoulder of the shoulder. I don't have a picture handy, but it was somewhere near Yoder Kansas.
strange, they obviously have a ten foot wide "indent" machine to squish the indents into the newly laid soft asphalt, I've never seen wide indents like that.

annoying as they can be to us cyclists, rumble strips are a super smart, effective idea. Think of the thousands and thousands of lives and accidents saved by this smart yet simple idea.
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Old 04-20-21, 06:41 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
hey there pd, this was an excellent topic to bring up, so that less experienced tourers can think this through, reading some time trued methods of dealing with this sort of road situation that does occur sometimes.

...

seriously, what are your thoughts on a road situation like this?
Just to reset, the picture that kicked off the discussion was this one:

Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
This would have me taking the lane. Riding right down the middle of the lane. And while I listen to all the virtual gasps, here's why:

First, the width of the lane isn't sufficient for anything larger than a (skinny) motorcycle to pass me in the right lane, regardless of where in the lane I'm riding.

Second, there's no good shoulder to ride on, and it looks like it's interrupted, possibly by drainage structures.

Third, traffic is pretty light. Only two oncoming trucks visible out to the horizon.

Fourth, anyone coming up behind me who might have to slam on their brakes is planning to do that. They can see oncoming traffic for a long ways, as well as the bicyclist in the middle of the lane, from a long way off. Anyone who disregards the available situational data in favor of "making a statement" by harassing a cyclist like that gets neither sympathy nor respect from me.

Fifth, since traffic is going to have to deal with me on that road, I'm going to ride in the middle of the lane to maximize my visibility.

All of that, put together, is an indication to me that the safest place to ride, assuming I've found myself on that road, is in the middle of the lane as indicated.

But what if? If traffic starts backing up behind me, more than one or two other vehicles, I'll look for a safe place to let them pass. If there were a rideable shoulder, I'd take it. If sightlines weren't so good, well, I'd expect traffic to be slower.
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Old 04-20-21, 06:43 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
strange, they obviously have a ten foot wide "indent" machine to squish the indents into the newly laid soft asphalt, I've never seen wide indents like that.

annoying as they can be to us cyclists, rumble strips are a super smart, effective idea. Think of the thousands and thousands of lives and accidents saved by this smart yet simple idea.
I guess so, but I sometimes wonder how effective they really are in much of the Great Plains where there isn't anything off the side of the road bigger than a fence post to hit for a hundred miles. A car running off into a soy bean or corn field isn't usually fatal. Also I fear a lot of drivers use rumple strips as a crutch to continue driving when tired to the point of nodding off. I'd wager that far more people are killed crossing into oncoming traffic and having a side rumble strip keeping inattentive drivers on the road just might cause them to stay on the road longer or even jerk the wheel and cross the line into oncoming traffic. That is very likely to lead to multiple fatalities. Just speculation on my part though.

Center line rumble strips sound like a great idea to me and for some reason we see fewer of those. Or do I just not notice them as much.
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Old 04-20-21, 07:01 AM
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Stae, middle rumble strips...I don't recall ever seeing them around here tbh. Would probably be both tricky to put in, requiring more precise measurements and costly fubars if done wrong, plus annoying for many situations.
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