[Tagging] Access restrictions for shoulder lanes?

John F. Eldredge john at jfeldredge.com
Mon Feb 9 13:22:22 UTC 2015

On February 9, 2015 4:32:36 AM CST, Paul Johnson <baloo at ursamundi.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 7:00 AM, Bryce Nesbitt <bryce2 at obviously.com>
> wrote:
> > In the USA occasional sections of even Interstate highways are open
> to
> > bicycles,
> > where no equivalent route exists. There's some argument to tag these
> as
> > bike paths to avoid the tag soup of lanes,
> > and ensure the (unusual) situation is perfectly clear.
> >
> This is not a sensible assumption and I'm frankly getting a little
> sick of
> having to mythbust this every few weeks just because 98% of America
> happens
> to live next to the few, largely urban, exceptions to the norm.  It's
> not
> anywhere as rare as you make it out to be.  The Federal Highway
> Administration indicates that the default for any way in the US unless
> otherwise locally defined, even freeways, is bicycle=yes
> <http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_guidance/freeways.cfm>.
> Bicycles even qualify for the HOV lane unless it presents a hazard.
> Even in car-centric regions like California, the number of freeway
> miles
> that ban bikes is greatly overshadowed by the vast majority of miles
> that
> go by the default of allowing bicycles.  In my experience, with a few
> goofball exceptions largely in the midwest (such as, say, various
> sections
> of US 75, US 412 and (to a far lesser extent) I 40 in Oklahoma that
> have a
> minimum speed limit, yet is the only sensible route and in some cases
> the
> only physically possible route, and thus the ban is both routinely
> ignored
> and rarely enforced for the same reason it isn't enforced on farm
> equipment
> (which poses a far greater hazard as this equipment often spans
> multiple
> lanes) either; however I do try to tag anything that isn't a bike
> route and
> has a minimum speed limit as bicycle=no per Oklahoma's legal
> idiosyncrasy),
> there's very few segments except for the most urban settings where a
> ban is
> even a sensible suggestion in the first place.  Wyoming could be
> retagged
> right now if it isn't already:  There's not one spot in the freeway
> system
> in that state that bans bicycles
> <http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/state.cfm?ID=51#state>.
> Can we finally bury this myth that bicycle=no is somehow even remotely
> the
> norm for American freeways?  That said, regardless of the restriction,
> it's
> a good idea to tag bicycle=* and foot=* explicitly on trunk and
> motorway
> routes as there still seems to be widespread misconception on this and
> could interfere with ideal routing if excluded.
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According to <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-motorized_access_on_freeways>, 14 US states out of 50 allow bicycle use on Interstate highways. Wyoming is the only state that allows it state-wide.  So, 72% of US states don't allow bicycles on Interstates. I don't have the percentages by highway mile available, but I would call a 72% majority the norm.

John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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