Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Riding in suburbs

If you, like me, happen to live and ride in suburbs, you a bit out of luck. Many bicycle blogs would give you some really good advice on how to deal with drivers and heavy traffic, yet what those blogs sometimes fail to notice is that riding a bike in suburbs can be a dramatically different experience than when riding in a densly-populated downtown. Let's compare:

1. "Counter-intuitive to what many drivers believe, cyclists actually reduce congestion on the roads by not driving cars. They're reducing the time you spend in traffic jams as they're taking up so much less space."
This is true in a heavy downtown traffic. But on a narrow road out of town, not so much. Unfortunately, a slower vehicle (bicycle) will slow down the traffic.

2. "If you must take a route without the designated bike lane, try to use roads where cyclists ride more often. Drivers get used to bicycles on those roads and learn how to pass them safely."
Again, this works great in the city, but what if you are always a lone rider during your morning commute on a suburban road? Usually, I ride alone and I don't see even a single cyclist on my way to work.

3. "Use bike lanes."
Bike lanes? What bike lanes?
4. "Don't get stuck in traffic. Ride your bike to work and be there faster."
This would apply well to a traffic-corked downtown. In suburbs where heavy traffic could be rare and distances are longer, driving may actually be faster than cycling.

What is your experience like?

1 comment:

  1. My experience aligns pretty well with yours. It takes me about 20-25 minutes to get to school by bike versus 10-15 by car. I almost never see other cyclists, and there is no kind of infrastructure for cycling. Nevertheless, most drivers are actually pretty respectful. I ride because I love to ride, and it's cheaper and easier overall than using a car.