November 14, 2011

Planning Bike Routes

Most people think that it’s rather simple to plan a bicycle route. Mainly, one would think to go the way that you would drive to somewhere. It’s understandable because you are most familiar with the routes and are usually the most direct. This isn’t wrong, per se, but it can make for an unpleasant commute.

The problem with the familiar routes is that they tend to receive the most traffic and are set up to move cars quickly out of areas. For instance, at Broad Street near the COSI, the annual average daily traffic is around 20,000. State Street, a block to the south, the annual average daily traffic is around 1,000. That means that Broad Street is 20 times as busy but isn’t significantly larger (6 lanes versus 2 lanes). With State Street being only 700 feet away, a bicyclist should use it.

Soon I will go into more detail on how I planned my route, but for now here are some simple route preferences to follow:

1.      Use bike paths
2.      Use residential streets
3.      Use bike lanes
4.      Use roads which have capacity for motorists to pass

And here are some overarching ideas

1.      Minimize left turns, especially on larger roads
2.      Choose a route that is close to public transit
3.      Try new routes on weekends or in a car.
4.      If you’re not at least 90% comfortable with a route, try another one.
5.      Aim for roads which have speed limits of less than 35 mph.

 The man behind Columbus Xing has made a map of a Columbus Bikeways Map. It’s a good map to look at and I will be adding to it, along with a COTA map in the future. Take a gander at what he’s come up with below.


View Columbus, Ohio Bikeways Map in a larger map

One more user generated map is from Columbusite. It’s a little more generous to the ability of novice riders, but there’s a lot to agree with.


View Columbus Biking/Cycling Road Map in a larger map

Next up: My thoughts on the sidewalk

Cool video of the day:

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