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Riding over highly trafficked bridges(10 posts)

Riding over highly trafficked bridgesTschako
Apr 18, 2002 5:34 AM
I live in the an an area where we essentially have two options for the type of ride we can do. You can head north and into the foothills of the Appalachians or south into flat coastal plain. Some days the hills are two much work for me and I head south. About 15 miles south of my house is a canal that cuts the peninsula of flat land in half. There are 4 bridges, each busier than the next. I don't feel comfortable taking the lane (little to no shoulder/debris covered) in high volume high speed traffic which is required to get to the south of the canal and open farmland and near traffic free riding.
Personal preference limits option of driving over the bridge and starting the ride from a lot.
Does anyone out there have any suggestions as to for crossing highway brdges besides hammering up and over and praying the tractor-trailer sees you in time to slow down.
Thanks!
Bridge In MilwaukeeRadicalRonPruitt
Apr 18, 2002 5:44 AM
I hear they are going to open up the bridge in Milwaukee to bikes and turn one lane on each side of it into a bike lane. I don't know how many people have actually seen this bridge, but it is a death waiting to happen if they do so. First of all, bike trails attract all sorts of riders. The grade on the bridge is an invitation for a heart attack for some poor guy who is middle aged and out of shape. The second thing is since the grade going up is tough, then you know it is going to be fast going down. A lot of weekend warriors don't have the bike skills and put a bunch of them on the bridge. Finally, there is an off ramp that Semis use to haul cargo to an island. Cyclist will have to deal with the semis exiting, and it is a challenge for Semis to navigate the offramp in the first place. I think the mayor of Milwaukee, who introduced the idea of putting the bike path on the bridge is crazy. Bike paths or for recreational riders, and shouldn't pose to many threats to the riders.
Which Bridge In Milwaukee?Roadracer
Apr 18, 2002 5:58 AM
Are you talking about the one by the art center?
Which Bridge In Milwaukee?RadicalRonPruitt
Apr 18, 2002 6:35 AM
Yes it runs along the lake over the river.
Norquist is scumMeMyselfandI
Apr 18, 2002 6:17 PM
>>I think the mayor of Milwaukee, who introduced the idea of putting the bike path on the bridge is crazy<<

You do know that his lawsuit against Mautz Paint put them out of business, right? Damned dirty liberal.
What can one suggest?Uncle Tim
Apr 18, 2002 6:00 AM
I don't know how you can expect anyone to offer you a real solution. You want to cross this bridge on your bike, but you are saying that you fear taking the lane due to the high level of high speed traffic. One could suggest getting a rear view mirror, but since you have no shoulder and, hence, nowhere to go if you see the collision coming, that won't really help. And due to personal preference, you don't want to use a motor vehicle to transport the bike to the other side of the stream and bike from there.

The problem is that the motorists who use the bridge don't expect to see bicycles on it. You need to join with some advocacy group and get the word out. Organize a group and petition the transportation department for some signage that alerts drivers to share the road with the cyclists. Also, complain to the powers to be that they need to clean the debris off of the road. Ask them to lower the speed limit.

When I ride on road like that, all I can do is ride hard, take my space, and show those ba$tards I know what what I'm doing. Dress in bright colors and make absolutely sure that the drivers see you. One great thing about taking a lane is that, once you slow one car/truck, all of the other motorists have slow down and look to figure out what's going on, too.
"take my space"SteveO
Apr 18, 2002 6:18 AM
i'm sure many others here have witnessed the same phenomenon... cars are often reluctant to swing past the little paintstripe dividing traffic; they'll squeeze to within an inch of you to avoid doing so.

However, once they DO cross that line, they tend to exhagarate the motion, and provide PLENTY of room for any rider.

In situations which are too close for comfort, i take my legally justified place in the road, giving the car behind the choice of either waiting, making a proper pass, or running me down.

I also feel that taking room in the road will increase awareness of your presence, as drivers will notice the cars ahead 'swerving'.

To be honest, i wouldnt worry about the tractors, they have excellant visability, and generally dont want to ruin their livlihoold by running someone down. Id worry abut the tailgaters who wont see you till the last second, or the cell-phone-totin-but-*I*-dont-get-distracted idiots.
Re: bridgesBecky
Apr 18, 2002 6:01 AM
are there sidewalks/pedestrian walkways over any of these bridges? Yeah, it's no fun to walk in cleated road shoes, but getting squashed by a truck isn't really a good time either.
Re: bridgesTschako
Apr 18, 2002 6:11 AM
I know that once I get the nerve to take the lane and slow the pace down thigs will find a way of working out, hopefully for the best.
As a response to Becky, I think that only one of the bridges has a shoulder/walkway that can be used. It is also on a major highway so there is a law against riding up to the approach or walking along the shoulder.
Uncle Tim, you made some valid points and some good suggestions Thanks! It comes back to getting the nerve to move into traffic!
BTW one of the non/shoulder bridges is listed ina state map as a bicycle safe route....it also has the most pot-holes and sees the most truck traffic.
One option...PdxMark
Apr 18, 2002 10:25 AM
There's a highway-speed bridge about 50 miles from here - 4 lanes, no shoulder, and not really any sidewalk, though there is a raised curb that amounts to about a 40%-width sidewalk.

I've finally settled on walking across the bridge becuase the curb is about 12 inches high relative to the road, and the 3.5 foot railing on the other side is the only protection from the 100-200 foot drop to the river. i NEVER walk my bike, but it's the only way I feel safe crossing that $#!&%* bridge. Lately, I've been researching alternate routes around the bridge... but it means slogging through 15-20 miles of suburbs... but that'll be better than the bridge.