Author Topic: Riding on the US Interstates  (Read 19852 times)

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Offline rogermcd

Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 06:59:00 pm »
Have a look at this page in Crazyguyonabike. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2616

Washington most certainly does not allow cyclists on  the interstates except where an alternative  route does not exist


I still maintain that whether to use the interstate or not should be up to the cyclist and not a bureaucrat.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 07:00:48 pm by rogermcd »

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2014, 11:42:36 pm »
Have a look at this page in Crazyguyonabike. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2616
Washington most certainly does not allow cyclists on  the interstates except where an alternative  route does not exist

The whole "except where an alternative route does not exist" isn't really true anymore, especially in Washington State. This idea may have lifted prohibitions on bicycles on Interstates way back when. But when you look at the actual prohibitions on cycling on Interstates and other highways in Washington, you see that you can ride on I-5 or I-90 for great distances. With a few exceptions, the prohibitions are in urban areas where there are many on/off ramps and sometimes stretches of highway with no shoulder.

Take a look:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/closed.htm
https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=101129574208460913813.00046426e0691fbccc526&ll=47.256864,-120.574951&spn=4.600584,9.887695&z=7&dg=feature


For example, you can ride the shoulder of I-5 for the approx. 100 miles between Olympia and Salmon Creek (outside of Vancouver, Wash.) without having to get off the Interstate. And I know for sure there are "alternative routes" that parallel I-5 here (Old 99, for one), yet you can still legally ride the shoulder of I-5 if you want.

indyfabz

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Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2014, 10:26:16 am »
In 2009, the Goethels Bridge eastbound to Staten Island carried an average of over 38,000 vehicles per day. Over 2,700 of those were large trucks. The decision to ride a bike on that Interstate (and many others) should not be left to the individual.

Offline Gif4445

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2014, 04:31:51 am »
I agree that it is good to have a choice.  However in my home state of Nebraska IMHO the powers that be are doing all a favor in not allowing Interstate cycling.  Safety wise, I would not ride I-80.  The highways close by are usually less dangerous.  For me it boils down to the two reasons I tour.   To see interesting places and meet interesting people.  The interstate system in Nebraska is not the place to do either.

Offline TCS

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2014, 09:25:11 am »
The issue is riding on an interstate with its wide shoulders, with two lanes giving trucks a lane to pass and of course with no oncoming traffic must be safer.

Many (most?) bridges on the interstate system do not have shoulders.

Being caught and passed by two side-by-side semi-trailer trucks on a shoulderless interstate bridge was memorable.

tcs
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline PeteJack

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2014, 11:00:50 am »
Quote from: adventurepdx
And I know for sure there are "alternative routes" that parallel I-5 here (Old 99, for one), yet you can still legally ride the shoulder of I-5 if you want
Let no one run away with the idea that the alternative is easy. I did manage to get from Kelso to Camas without going on I5 by attempting to follow old 99. It involved a very hard climb and a lot of time. Some gent who lives in Kelso sent me a PM saying I couldn't have chosen a worse route, I should have gone down I5.

I will add that I find interstates miserable riding and you are more likely to get flats on them due the the tremendous amount of debris on the shoulders.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2014, 03:22:57 pm »
I live in central WA state and have ridden at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles on I-90 near my home.  There are times I have chosen to ride on the freeway because of the wide shoulders and the lack or really good alternatives.  I don't think it is more dangerous than some of the rural roads around here, but it is less peasant.  I especially don't like the little metal wires that are a product of deteriorating truck tires and give me flats. They can be very hard to find.  I also have come to dislike the noise of the interstate and now chose to use it less than I did 10 years ago.  Back in the late 70s, I was ticketed (warning ticket) for riding on the freeway but the law has changed since then.  I have found lots of bungee cords (hundreds!) on the side of freeway along with some great tools and one time over $200 in a wallet that did have ID in it so I was happy to return it to the owner.  Anyway, the freeway can be a useful alternative at times in some places. Each to his own.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline jamawani

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2014, 07:36:29 pm »
I live in central WA state and have ridden at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles on I-90 near my home.

But the I-90 bridge over the Columbia at Vantage is an example of what many people are talking about - a death trap. No shoulders, heavy traffic, high speeds and high winds at times.  Still waiting for the old railroad bridge at Beverly to be opened for cyclists - but will probably die first. Wouldn't it be nice to have a ferry from the old highway landings? Old Vantage Highway on the east side is stunning. I've hitch-hiked across major rivers about a half-dozen times. Have thought about doing so there.

It's tough to find a good place to cross the Columbia in central Washington - obviously Wenatchee is a good choice - and thus, I will often plan my route using the limiting points - river crossings & mountain passes.  Another possible crossing of the Columbia is at the Hanford Site east of Yakima - narrow but not that much traffic.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2014, 09:26:46 pm »
I live in central WA state and have ridden at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles on I-90 near my home.

But the I-90 bridge over the Columbia at Vantage is an example of what many people are talking about - a death trap. No shoulders, heavy traffic, high speeds and high winds at times. 

Yup!  Did that once, in 1991.  It is a problem.  I have seen folks walking alon with bikes, squeezed against the guardrail.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2014, 01:13:54 pm »
Let no one run away with the idea that the alternative is easy. I did manage to get from Kelso to Camas without going on I5 by attempting to follow old 99. It involved a very hard climb and a lot of time. Some gent who lives in Kelso sent me a PM saying I couldn't have chosen a worse route, I should have gone down I5.

Oh, believe me, I know. I went up that hill the first time I biked between Olympia and Portland in '08. I threw up. Since then, I've used I-5 between Woodland and Kalama. I normally take try to stay off the freeway if I can, but this is one place I make an exception.

Offline andre

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2014, 01:33:44 pm »
I have biked the US north to south and I relied a great deal on interstates. To me they represent their own trade off of advantages and disadvantages, just like city streets do.

In general I felt safer on interstates because I could be well out of the traffic lane. Importantly, I use a mirror, which means I kept an eye on traffic coming up behind me and was aware if somebody was drifting onto the shoulder for any reason.

There is a huge difference between using an interstate in open country and using it near urban centers. Out in the country I encounter little if any debris on the shoulder. Contrary to what someone posted above, I've never encountered an interstate bridge without a shoulder - in the country.

In or near cities, riding an interstate is a terrible experience and I don't recommend it.

It is not the answer to bicycle safety problems but it can be a surprisingly pleasant ride. I would definitely support legalizing cycling on freeway in states where it isn't legal already.

Offline zerodish

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2014, 08:13:38 pm »
I've written about this extensively here and in other places. I have also done 100000 miles in the United States. It is allowed in Oregon Idaho Utah Arizona New Mexico. The law is quite clear and was written by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Later laws were enacted on the frontier because of private property abuse by the railroads. Existing roads are public land these roads cannot be closed for any reason and no one can be barred from the use of these roads. Pedestrians can only be barred from new roads built after the laws were enacted. This means all traffic must be allowed on any interstate built over an existing road unless an alternate route is built near by. Near by is generally 2 miles this information can be found in the law practice of Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Jefferson. The governors office of Utah and INDOT agrees with my interpretation of federal law. INDOT has ordered the state police not to enforce the pedestrian ban on the newly built interstate 69. I expect it was the Amish that informed INDOT they were breaking the law. If I'm reading the Amish law suit right this means horses and wagons are allow on all interstates period. This is not considered a road law but a constitutional law. This means serious trouble for local governments and police who harass horses and wagon users. The KYDOT in Lexington are aware of this law. Good luck convincing the police of this.

Offline rogermcd

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2014, 10:56:35 pm »
I really can't see what Jefferson or Washington have to with changing road rules in 2014.

I can't see the relevance of any of this to my original suggestion

Those who have responded to my post and have sited specific instances or issues and problems using the interstates seem to think that you can extrapolate one incident and arrive at a conclusion

These same problems of narrow bridges with no shoulders, bad traffic, speeding traffic etc etc happen on back roads and I would suggest are orders of magnitude more frequent and more serious than can be experienced on the interstates.

I agree that riding into cities on the interstate is probably not the best way in


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2014, 07:40:29 pm »
Those who have responded to my post and have sited specific instances or issues and problems using the interstates seem to think that you can extrapolate one incident and arrive at a conclusion

These same problems of narrow bridges with no shoulders, bad traffic, speeding traffic etc etc happen on back roads and I would suggest are orders of magnitude more frequent and more serious than can be experienced on the interstates.

"...extrapolate one incident and arrive at a conclusion?"  Is that kettle black?

I think you're overstating the case drastically with "orders of magnitude."  Try riding an interstate in, say, rural Illinois or Tennessee, even though it's illegal there, and tell me how often you are safer on the interstate shoulder.  There are pleasant surface roads through there, by the way.

I've driven interstates in about half of the states, and the 10 mile stretch on the TransAm going into Sinclair, WY was the anomaly in my experience.  It was uncommonly good for cycling.  Straight road, wide shoulders.  Even as good as it was, it wasn't terribly comfortable being passed by trucks that didn't move into the left lane.

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!)

When you run into a stretch of road or a bridge with no shoulders, the traffic has a better chance to see you and slow down and/or move over at the lower speed.

You really haven't answered the point about entrance and exit ramps.

You really haven't answered the point about (demonstrably) orders of magnitude higher traffic count on interstates.

As unexpected as a bicyclist is on a surface street, they're much less expected on an interstate, so the passing drivers will take longer to perceive a cyclist

I can't agree with your conclusion.  We may have to agree to disagree.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2014, 10:22:23 am »
i can't see that changing the laws will make a lot of difference to road safety. as someone rightly stated, drink driving is already illegal, as is dangerous driving/cycling. there's already a 3ft law i some states as far as i know, which is annoying for drivers who obey it and ignored by most anyhow.

what's needed is more common sense, education and empathy for other road users. people too often forget that the road is for sharing responsibly.

also, it's important to remember that as bikers, we are not without our share of the blame. there are just as many ignorant and arrogant bikers as there are motor vehicle users. nothing beats common sense when it comes to staying safe on the road and there's no law that can police that!