Author Topic: Riding on the US Interstates  (Read 20294 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2014, 01:11:47 am »
Quote
These same problems of narrow bridges with no shoulders,
Oddly enough on the Natchez Trace Parkway the only bits of it that have shoulders are the bridges.

How's about that for a non-sequitur?

Offline litespeed

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2014, 10:33:00 am »
As a general rule you can ride the shoulders of interstates (well away from large cities) west of the Mississippi. I once rode interstates most of the way from southern California to San Antonio TX. In states like Montana, with no large cities, you can ride them most anywhere. It is often convenient and sometimes there is no choice.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2014, 12:43:13 pm »
Having cycled about 39,000 miles through 19 countries and read the comments here, I agree that cycling a given interstate highway would in most all extents be safer than many of the alternative roads I have seen. I-10 going west from Texas through to I-8 into CA can be uncomfortable because of the trash, ruts and bumps and debris. Sure there is noise and pollution. Ear plugs solve one problem. Often winds will send the exhaust fumes in another direction. And away from the cities, the pollution is not all that bad. The fact there are two or three lanes going in one direction, and a median, and a side lane from 5 to six feet and sometimes wider makes it highly unlikely that someone will just happen to drift off the road precisely at your pinpoint location on straight ways. Complete care and caution would be required at entrances and exits. Like most any subject, if you examine it thoroughly, you will find it has positive and negative values. The questions here are these. Would allowing cyclists on all interstate highways be such a great move in advancing cycling safety? Would the positive outcomes so greatly outweigh the perceived negatives that to continue the prohibition would constitute some kind of harmful negligence? I have cycled interstates very much. IMO they are safer, noisier, and so rough and strewn with garbage in some lengths that an alternate route would be a better choice anyway. Some interstates are smooth going.

Offline canalligators

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2014, 12:49:39 pm »
...
Speeding traffic on a back road may be driving 50 mph.  On an interstate it'll be 80-90.  That's three times as bad if you get hit.  (Square the velocity!)
...

Don't forget that the higher the speed differential, the shorter the reaction time.  Even if you see it coming, in front or in the mirror, your ability to evade is reduced.  This one isn't a v-squared problem, but once you've used up your reaction time, what's left over to actually move is a lot less.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 12:52:02 pm by canalligators »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2014, 08:55:02 pm »
Yes, if anything like that were to happen at the last moment, the cyclist would not stand a snowball's chance in hell of surviving it. I cannot recall any real close calls on interstates, but to say it cannot happen would be wrong. It could happen. The high speeds would make it all the more disastrous. No doubt. The fact that there might be only a very slight likelihood of its happening would not be any consolation to the one mutilated and dying in a ditch, and to their family and friends. IMO there is a much higher chance of being in an automobile crash than of being hit while on the bike. Interstates are safe enough away from cities. I know one thing. I would not want to ride an interstate during rush hour in Jacksonville, FL or NYC.

Offline DaveB

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2014, 09:17:57 am »
Don't forget that the higher the speed differential, the shorter the reaction time.  Even if you see it coming, in front or in the mirror, your ability to evade is reduced.  This one isn't a v-squared problem, but once you've used up your reaction time, what's left over to actually move is a lot less.
Yes, but it is extremely unlikely there will be any problem in front of you since there are no side roads, driveways or drivers coming the other direction turning left in front of you.  Also, from behind, everyone is going the same direction and has multiple lanes to do it in.   The major danger on Interstates is at the entrance/exit ramps and cyclists have to be very aware at these points.

As noted, I would not ride any Interstate through or near a large city, even it it was permitted, as the interchanges are much too close together.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2014, 01:14:46 pm »
  The major danger on Interstates is at the entrance/exit ramps and cyclists have to be very aware at these points.



And another insidious danger is the debris on the side of the road.  You must be very vigilant about this and constantly be scanning the shoulder ahead.  We have all seen large pieces of lumber, chunks of angle iron, car fenders. etc etc.  Hitting these kinds of items could easily result in catastrophic accidents for cyclists.  Also, not cool to suddenly hit the start of rumble strips that you did not see coming!  Those buggers could throw you.
May the wind be at your back!

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2014, 03:46:25 pm »
I would not want to ride an interstate during rush hour in Jacksonville, FL or NYC.

I think what some people might not fully understand is that not all Interstate Highways are designed the same. As I noted above, portions of the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95), for example, are "walled off." If there were a disabled vehicle blocking the shoulder, your only option would be to enter into the travel lane. No lifting your bike over the guard rail and walking through some grass to get back on the shoulder. Good luck with that one.

And what happens when construction activity eliminates the shoulder? I recently drone some of very busy I-80 through PA into NE Ohio to start a tour. There were two stretches where construction required a lane shift and shoulder closure. In one such location, there was only one narrow lane of traffic. I felt unnerved sandwiched between semis and I was driving an SUV. Then there is the PA Turnpike (I-76) and the Northeast Extension thereof (I-476), with their shoulderless tunnels.

Offline DaveB

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2014, 06:04:58 pm »
And another insidious danger is the debris on the side of the road.  You must be very vigilant about this and constantly be scanning the shoulder ahead.
That isn't limited to the Interstates and any road with a shoulder has debris and litter on it.  The auto traffic blows anything on the travel lane over to the shoulder.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2014, 06:58:00 pm »
I think it might be a good idea to allow cycling on interstates. It would be up to the cyclists which lengths and areas would be safe and which to avoid. And when you come to a distance of road walled off on the right, completely eliminating that margin of safety, things can get very interesting, and stressful. I would be in favor of allowing cycling on interstates, but where is the guarantee only responsible, experiences cyclists will use them? The next thing you know kids will be out there having fun. Drunks will be cycling out there, guaranteed. There are other people to be considered. I am not really sure. My opinion does not really matter. I am not on any board that decides such matters. However, interstates in general can be much safer than some alternate roads in some places, but not everywhere. It all depends on where and when.