Trying to figure out whether the patches of interstate that allow biking on the shoulder are in the minority or the majority in the U.S.
According to this Wikipedia page (if you believe Wikipedia):
"Most U.S. States with low population densities commonly permit bicycle use on interstate freeways outside urban areas.
Additionally, the following states permit bicycle use on at least some interstate routes specially designated to accommodate bikes:
My question is numerical: Do bike-accessible stretches constitute the minority or the majority of all interstate roadway?
I need to know for research I'm doing. Thanks if you can help.
I do not know of a source comparing all the US interstate length to all of it that is bike able.
I used to bike on the interstate in Utah from South Ogden to Morgan through Weber Canyon. It was a nice ride compared to trying to stay alive on the narrow shoulder-less road through Ogden Canyon.
Look at the middle map on this link for Utah.
The middle map has a tan background. Blue is accessible interstate to bicycles. Red is no bicycles I guess that about 3/4 of Utah interstates are bicycle-able on the shoulders.
Using my 3/4 guesstimate for Utah and applying it to all 12 states in your first list, l estimate bicycle miles are a minority of the 48 thousand miles of interstates. Most of the states east on the Rocky Mountains are not listed and those states have a higher density of interstates.
Interesting maps Elwood; thanks.
I've ridden solo out to San Diego from Chicago, and then north along the coast. Much of that trip was on interstates. Some of that interstate riding was not sanctioned, but I was never thrown off, or even stopped by various law enforcement patrol cars that came by. My take on the Pros and Cons of interstate riding:
PROs - As Elwood pointed out, it is usually safer on that broad interstate shoulder
- It is also easier. Millions are spent grading and paving interstate roadbeds, to even out the ups and downs. So you ride for miles in the same gear, with only slight ups and downs. Meanwhile you watch cyclists on the adjacent local roads coping with significant hills.
- And, because of the above, the interstate is usually the FASTEST route between two cities.
CONs - Rumble strips, even when designated as a 'bike route.'
- Nails, glass, and odd detritus. More tire-unfriendly than local roads usually
- Constantly being passed by large trucks, and traffic going at high speeds. Sometimes enough sudden side-wind to destabilize you, and cause you to veer toward traffic
- Often in 'survival mode,' just counting off the miles
- Not as picturesque.
- Didn't you buy a bike to get AWAY from cars, traffic, and interstates?
Many good points made. If it can be avoided, probably best to find alternatives.
I guess I learned something in this thread. I would've told you that cycling is forbidden on all interstate highways.
Looks like it is mostly the western states that allow it. I haven't spent much time in those states so I guess that's why I didn't know.
Here is a list of states with interstate miles.
There's a section of I76 in northeastern Colorado that has signs for bikes to keep far right on the ample shoulder (which makes sense as the speed limit's 75 and a lot of people go around 90). Otherwise I've never seen a bike sign on the highway.
I rode on them in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas en route from San Diego to Miami. Agreed that it can be unpleasant with trucks rumbling by you, but I actually found that some of them will switch to the next lane to give you a wider berth. That was nice.
Good thread David! Thanks.
Going west across Arizona on I-40 out of Gallup, NM, I stopped in a truck stop (ain't a lot of 'amenities' out there) and was greeted by a couple of those truck drivers who had cut me some slack. Parts of the I-40 shoulder contain rumble strips, and I was riding between that and the traffic...threading the needle so to speak!
Anyway the drivers congratulated me. I was over 60, riding along with no helmet, my white hair blowing in the wind. And they told me they could have swatted me, my panniers, and my bike, as easily as a fly on the wall. But admired my guts out there...as they rode along at 85mph, with a/c blowing into their crotch, a half-eaten Moon Pie on the console, and Travis Tritt on the stereo.