Bicycle Travel > General Discussion

Question: Highway Troubles?

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John Nelson:

--- Quote from: Charlie Parker on March 06, 2013, 10:23:31 am ---What about when there is no shoulder? Is that a rare or a common problem?

--- End quote ---
I assume that you have just changed the topic and are no longer talking about highways with exits. Because in my experience, all interstate highways have shoulders.

Most high-traffic roads have shoulders. Most low-traffic roads do not. So on a low-traffic road without shoulders, it's usually not a problem to ride in the traffic lane. So where should you position yourself in the traffic lane? My preference is to ride where the right tires of the vehicle would normally be. The very edge of the road is where all the debris is, and thus where you will get all your flat tires. Also, the edge is typically not very safe because you will likely crash if your tires slips off the edge. If you have a mirror (and ears), you can tell when traffic is coming up from behind. If they move over, you can just stay where you are. If you're not sure that they are going to move over, you can move closer to the edge until they go by.

Sometimes you'll find a high-traffic road without shoulders. Get the hell off of it as soon as possible.

Pat Lamb:

--- Quote from: John Nelson on March 06, 2013, 10:37:58 am ---So on a low-traffic road without shoulders, it's usually not a problem to ride in the traffic lane. So where should you position yourself in the traffic lane? My preference is to ride where the right tires of the vehicle would normally be.
--- End quote ---

Mostly agree, although sometimes roads with nasty expansion joints will have a relatively smooth transition if you ride between the tire tracks.

The right tire track helps give the approaching motorist a couple clues.  First, you're using the road, (s)he will have to drive around you.  And second, you're on the outside of the lane, so you're a reasonable person giving them a chance of getting by without causing a wreck (and involving cops and robbers -- no, wait, I meant cops and lawyers!).

Westinghouse:
If you use the interstate going west from Kent to Van Horn, TX on the ST, the first exit into Van Horn is narrow and does not have the usual side lane. It can be heavy with truck traffic that would run you over before slowing for you. Other than that one exit, most have plenty of room. You do not have to cut across to use any exit. You will see a sign for an exit. Keep to the right.

If you are cycling on past the exit, what you do depends on traffic conditions. It there is no traffic coming from behind for a very long way, don't worry about it. Just keep going. If there is or has been quite a bit of traffic, here is what you do. Stay to the right. Cycle to the point on the exit lane where the road is at its narrowest or nearly so. That way you can cut across and get to the other side in the shortest possible time. When you see a space in the traffic, make your left from that point.

When you simply continue on at an exit, it can take a considerable time to get out of the area where you can expect traffic coming on from the rear. If you go straight, make sure you have the time. Vehicles moving at 80 mph may seem like a long way off when you check your mirror, but they can be on top of you sooner than you think. Taking a 90 degree left turn at the narrow point of the exit lane will get you into the non-driving zone in a heartbeat. Always check carefully before you make the turn. I have been in traffic so dense I had to wait and wait just to get across a 25 foot wide exit road.

By and large, you will be safe from being hit by a car or truck as long as you are cautious. Be safety minded at ALL times.

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