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  1. #1
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    How to overcome dangerous routes?

    So I really want to start commuting to work. I've got a good bike to use, slicks to put on my bike and everything else in place (as far as I can plan ahead).

    However, I did a "test ride" on my day off to/from work on a Saturday (I work weekdays), and I realized there's a section of road that's about a mile long I'm simply NOT comfortable with at all. It's dangerous and the drivers are NOT bike conscious around there at all. I know I could take up an entire lane as a biker (it's a large 3-lane road), but I'm pretty sure I would get run down.

    I've looked and looked, and there are simply no other routes to/from work that I can take to avoid this road, unless it's on a more dangerous road.

    Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
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    Get the brightest tail light you can find.

  3. #3
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    Is there a sidewalk? I know sidewalk riding is frowned upon, but if it makes you feel safer for that portion, by all means use it.
    Jason
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  4. #4
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    Nope, no sidewalk, either. I would take that option (even if it's frowned upon), if it was available.
    Tail light option, yeah true, but I'm not sure that would make me entirely comfortable, either.
    My garage is a revolving door of bikes, wheelsets, & frames
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  5. #5
    Rolling
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    How do you know this is dangerous? Is it your perception or do you have stats that support this?

    However, if you feel it's dangerous, that is not a good motivator for commuting.

    Maybe you should contact your local city or county folks and express your opinion. Also, can you shift your hours of commute to avoid peaks....in fact sometimes, riding during the peak rush hour can help since it slows down traffic in cases and reduces the risk for bike riders.

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Tough choice. If you don`t feel safe, I`d say it isn`t worth it. All the suggestions sound worth a try, who knows- maybe something unexpected will work out. The only other one I have to add is to ask with local bike shops, cycling clubs, etc who are familiar with your situation. maybe there is some route option you`re over looking. In the end, it`s entirely your call.

  7. #7
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslikesnake
    I've looked and looked, and there are simply no other routes to/from work that I can take to avoid this road, unless it's on a more dangerous road.
    I feel your pain there. My commute has a few hazardous sections, however if you can get creative and eliminate traffic by all means do so. Search google maps for possible paths or alternative routes. In doing this I found a route thru an arroyo nearly completely eliminating traffic. In the city it is deemed illegal to be in the arroyos, however after being struck by hostile drivers I'll take the lesser of two evils.

  8. #8
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    Finding an alternate route seem like the only real solution.

    My commute used to be about 6.5 miles but the last 2 of that is on a narrow stretch of twisty two lane that heads out of town.
    I was not comfortable on that stretch.
    I actually added 3 miles to the ride by taking an alternate route to avoid the section.

    If that is not an option then maybe a combination of some suggestions above may help.

  9. #9
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    Your gut instinct is likely correct about flow. You can redrive it in the car to see if you can determine ways to reduce the danger. Being on edge through there is likely a goiod thing. I have a 2 -lane road marked for 30 drive often above 50 and had to keep upping the ante because the drivers were not looking for cyclists there. It is the only route out of where I live, and have to be more on the watch whenever I ride it. Oh and Saturday traffic here is clueless. Much worse than commuters who will begin to expect you if you hold to the same time. So you will only have non-locals or people who don't normally drive at that time finding you a novelty after a while.

    A situation you need to know about: A Louisville rider was killed 2 years ago on a 3 lane road taking the lane when an impatient driver decided to pass the truck that was in the center lane on the right. Then found the cyclist who was eclipsed by the box truck too late to stop. So traffic mix plays into this and stop and go traffic may be one of the safer times to do the stretch. If alongside a truck use your mirror and be ready to take to the verge to escape.

    Leopold Porkstacker posted his humongous ghetto tech tail light in the Another Commuting Thread About Lights which will likely prevent tailgating or singe paint. I find lights as bright as brake lights good enough, but you may want his 'take no prisoners' option to get them to brake first, figure it out later. Then you only need hope they aren't reading or typing text messages.

  10. #10
    jrm
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    Check the web sites

    of your city, county or maybe state (if its a conventional state hwy) bike and ped advocacy organization for a bike route map of your city or county. There could be a parallel route of some sorts. Another possibility is too use a bus bridge for this segment of your commute. See if theres not a dirt shoulder that you could ride on. I do this on one street here b/c of the recessed drains and curbs.

    or go to google and punch in city of "your city here" bicycle route map. Something tell me that there
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  11. #11
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    Hi-Viz Safety vest?:



    Don't laugh, I wore a armored Hi-Viz motorcycle jacket when I rode my motorcycle... And I have a Hi-Viz vest for the bicycle (I haven't worn it yet though).

    ---------------------

    If that't too dorky, how about a Hi-Viz Camelbak?:

    Last edited by Marcster; 04-11-2011 at 05:23 AM.

  12. #12
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    You may want to give it a go during the week. I've found weekend traffic to be different than midweek traffic. even morning traffic can be different than afternoon traffic.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  13. #13
    I Ride for Donuts
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    If it's only a mile... is there a dirt option? Do you have any trail tools? A friend or two? A mile of rough singletrack could appear over night... stranger things have happened
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  14. #14
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    Firstly of all post a goggle map of the area....not sure I buy no other options.

    Secondly if it is not safe do not ride it.

    Thirdly contact bike shops in that area.

    Even a 5 to 10 km detour is more than acceptable.

  15. #15
    I Ride for Donuts
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    True... is there a detour that adds a mile or so? nothing wrong with that.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  16. #16
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    You could check www.bikely.com to see if anyone else has a route suggested for the area.

    But I'd also like to see the spot on googlemaps.

  17. #17
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    What time of day will you be riding, and what is traffic like at that time? In the morning when I leave at 7, traffic is much lighter than at 8-830 when I hit the office and am back on roads again (I ride a MUP for most of my commute).
    :wq

  18. #18
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    Another perfect location for the Kolelinia flying bike lane.
    http://gajitz.com/biking-with-the-bi...uspended-lane/
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  19. #19
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I plan on getting a hi-viz vest, for sure. Here's a map of the "proposed" route mapped out.

    For those of you trying to help, the section of Josey Ln is the one that's bad--speed limit of 50mph, 6 lanes total with cars hitting up to 70mph (with lots of weaving) during morning commute--not stop & go at all, it's big enough that it's always "flowing". Every other route that I can find is either private roads w/o access (see Crider Rd & East Hill Park Rd) OR 2 or 4 lane roads w/o shoulders that are 50+ mph speed limits with very little patrolling (see Plano Pkwy & Parker Rd--both with lots of blind curves, too).

    My only hope is that they're connecting the 2 pieces of Windhaven Way sometime in the next year or so--then I'll be golden.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions--I'm definitely much more informed now!
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  20. #20
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    Yeah, I see what you mean. Have you tried using Windhaven Way and heading offroad across the tracks? If it's all been graded for new subdivisions then it should be pretty doable, so I'd probably give that a try at least once.

  21. #21
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    Going offroad across the tracks is impassable because the tracks are fenced off, unfortunately.
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  22. #22
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    Yeah looks like you're sort of stuck.

    Is your life insurance policy current?
    :wq

  23. #23
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    Life Insurance policy is current, but I don't think my wife wants to cash it in any time soon, as far as I know. I'll just wait for that road to be completed--now if only the city would get back to me about the timetable of it's completion!
    My garage is a revolving door of bikes, wheelsets, & frames
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  24. #24
    Are we there yet?
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    I have a 1 mile section on my commute that most would consider a "dangerous road", and I agreed. 4 lanes, 50 mph speed limit, lanes way too narrow to share and no ridable shoulders. Afraid to ride it on the bike, I first drove it several times in my car at 15 mph with my flashers on. No one ran into me, not even almost. Then I bucked up and rode it on the bike. I was nervous the first dozen times or so as most would be, but after nearly 1000 trips I can honestly say there have been no close calls.

    First, realize you need to be seen early, and seen as relevant. I always wear a hi-vis jacket / jersey or vest, and run at least one powerful blinky. Co-workers tell me they can see me a quarter mile away. You must take the lane completely (no half hearted partial attempts) to make it clear to motorists there will be no room to squeeze by. You will get some honks but in my experience the honkers almost always pass me safely.

    I also would not do this without a mirror. Being able to easily and continuously monitor overtaking traffic is very reassuring. You WILL see drivers moving over early, or slowing to your speed. Traffic is such on my road that I often end up with a car (or more) following me at my speed before I clear the section. The vast majority treat me with adequate care. Let us know how it goes.

  25. #25
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    If you are comfortable with the windhaven parkway, you might try this alternative/detour which basically connects the two sections of windhaven parkway. For the portion along frontage road, you don't actually ride the road, ride the grass next to it (against traffic, but far enough off the road) You may need some moderate tread tires for this, but it looks like a safer route... presuming that windhaven parkway is better than the one you currently have mapped out.
    Maped out detour

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