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-   -   St. johns bridge (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3472)

stacecase 03-02-2010 06:49 PM

St. johns bridge
 
Riding over the St. Johns bridge is it better (safer) to ride on the sidewalk or on the road? I've done both, and have mixed thoughts about riding on the road. Lot's of trucks and cars going 45+ on the road, but the sidewalk is a bit skinny if you have to pass anyone.

Thoughts?

wsbob 03-02-2010 09:37 PM

Been a long time since I've ridden the bridge. Advisability depends upon time of day and traffic volume. Definitely not a bridge to poke around on at a slow speed in the traffic lanes; do it, but be prepared to look for a break in the traffic and boogie. Not too bad really...you only have to crest the bridge and then you can really put the speed on to the end of the other side...25-30 mph. Keep your ears peaked for that 'gr-r-r-r-r-...whap-whap-whap-whap-whap-' sound, and get over far as you can if you hear it.

I would say plan on traveling at least 15mph, hopefully 20mph to cross, unless of course, you get a break in the traffic...then you can take a leisurely trip across it.

jr98664 03-02-2010 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wsbob (Post 23251)
I would say plan on traveling at least 15mph, hopefully 20mph to cross, unless of course, you get a break in the traffic...then you can take a leisurely trip across it.

I don't see the need. You have the legal right to the entire lane, and as far as your safety is concerned, you might as well use it. I'll gladly take a 12' wide lane over a 4' wide sidewalk any day. Cars are going to be slowing down for you even at 15 mph, so there's no point in straining yourself. I've never had a problem taking the lane on the St. Johns bridge, and the towers make the sidewalk significantly less convenient, especially at any speed above a walk. Mind you, I've taken the lane where necessary on the freeway without issue, (think I-90 Vantage bridge over the Columbia) something which some riders might not be as comfortable with, but to each his own.

rpc 03-03-2010 07:14 AM

St. Johns is the worst part of my commute. Once in a blue moon, I'll take the roadway but most of the time I'm on the sidewalk figuring that with my frequency of bridge crossings I have a better chance of staying alive on the sidewalk. Nasty either way and I agree that it makes no difference whether you're doing 15 or 25 when ambient traffic is flying at 40-60mph. ...and then there are the occasional cross winds. If you do take the sidewalk, be careful on the metal manhole covers when going around the towers and watch for debris.

bobcycle 03-03-2010 07:24 AM

lane or sidewalk?
 
I also have done both (heading west to east) I take the lane on light traffic days when I am feeling energetic and fast. But honestly I prefer the sidewalk, it slows me down a bit (a good thing) and on good weather days I can't resist stopping to enjoy the view. And while I like to ride fast for fitness, riding slow enough to enjoy the view can be one of bicyclings greatest enjoyments. I never run into much pedestrian traffic anyway but its good to have a bell to let them know you are approaching.

wsbob 03-03-2010 09:01 AM

jr and rpc...I guess part of my idea in advising a 15mph minimum speed for bikes over this bridge, and watching for big gaps breaks in the traffic, is to not slow down traffic on the bridge any more than necessary. Maybe some people are comfortable with it, but a bike poking along at 10mph or less with 4-5 cars backed up behind it isn't a situation I'm comfortable being in.

For bikes to be doing this regularly doesn't seem likely to make any friends with the motor vehicle crowd either, especially if those motor vehicle operators sense that the person on the bike isn't making an effort to move things along. Each to their own though. Not to say that you two are advising this, but I'm aware that some people traveling on bikes believe motor vehicle operators should just 'suck it up' upon being presented with vehicles on the road traveling very slow.

15mph is 50 percent faster than 10mph. 20mph is 100 percent faster than 10mph. True, though those speeds are much slower than 30mph and 45mph motor vehicle speeds, they can make a big difference in enabling higher volumes of traffic across a span like the St. Johns Bridge. I think this is a simple reality appreciated by many people on the road.

zpl 03-03-2010 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobcycle (Post 23258)
I also have done both (heading west to east) I take the lane on light traffic days when I am feeling energetic and fast. But honestly I prefer the sidewalk, it slows me down a bit (a good thing) and on good weather days I can't resist stopping to enjoy the view. And while I like to ride fast for fitness, riding slow enough to enjoy the view can be one of bicyclings greatest enjoyments. I never run into much pedestrian traffic anyway but its good to have a bell to let them know you are approaching.

bobcycle, we have very similar motivations and philosophies about riding. Ditto here.

Scott

boneshaker 03-03-2010 01:17 PM

Seems to me that the auto traffic going over the bridge is particularly pissy about sharing with bikes. I've taken the lane a few times, but I think it's worth the extra 30 seconds to use the path. Not a very good path really.

thumbprinterr 05-14-2010 01:31 PM

always the sidewalk for me unless in a reasonably large group of riders. i don't mind taking my time and enjoying the views, its not the greatest bike path but as boneshaker said its worth a bit of extra time for feeling a little bit safer. when i am driving over the bridge it makes me very nervous to see cyclists in the lane.

jgadamski 05-14-2010 08:30 PM

sidewalks uphill to past the crest of the bridge, and then taking the lane to take advantage of the downhills, better visibility, especially for lane changes and turns. I may have the right to the lane,but do more to set the cause back by delaying commuter traffic ( the time i usually ride the bridge) and possibly setting myself up for a road rage incident. Remember the North Precinct that used to be at the end of the bridge is not longer there.. and out at the end of the Peninsula, if you need a cop, you are often left awaiting..


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