Monday, October 23, 2006

Take The Freeway!

HIGHWAY 101 NORTH, CA - SoapBoxLA was surprised to discover that the California Vehicle Code allows cyclists to ride on the Freeway if there are no alternative surface streets available.

There was a moment of disbelief as the SoapBoxLA cycling team stood at the onramp to the 101N and watched cars flying by at 70 miles an hour. This did not seem to be the environment for a scenic bike ride up the coast but, sure enough, there was a sign with official Caltrans tape covering up the word "bicycle" on the sign. One can't ask for a heartier endorsement than that!

As it turns out, riding a bicycle on the freeway is unbelievably conflict free. The cars stay in their lanes, they have little if any motivation for driving down the shoulder and the only drawback is the road debris.

The important rule to remember is that the cyclist MUST exit at every off-ramp and then proceed through the intersection and back on the freeway using the off-ramp. Never cross the line of a car doing 70 miles an hour yelling "I'm traffic too!" and expect to prevail.

Riding your bicycle on the freeway is a confidence booster. Once you've held your line on the shoulder as 18 wheelers blast past you doing 70 mph, you'll find yourself sneering at the next Humvee that squeezes you on Sunset Boulevard and yelling "Is that all you've got?"

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