ALDOT Hates Bicyclists
The deep new rumble strips ground into the asphalt in the middle of the paved shoulder on newly repaved State Hwy 163 south of Dog River Bridge forces bicyclists to ride in the same lane with motor vehicle traffic.
These rumble strips are gouged out too deep to ride a bicycle on. Don't believe me? I challenge anyone to ride their bicycle down the middle of the shoulder on Hamilton Boulevard between Dauphin Island Parkway and Rangeline Road. You may need a chiropractor and neck brace after the attempt.
My sincere apologies to motorists. As a responsible bicyclist, I do not wish to ride my bicycle in the same lane of traffic with you because we both know the standard traffic lane on Alabama State Roads is not built wide enough to accommodate both a slow bicyclist and a speeding vehicle at the same time.
I have been begging that State roads be constructed to include a 3 foot wide paved shoulder outside of the white line for over 40 years. That way I can ride exclusively on the paved shoulder and motorists can pass by this bicyclist without having to change lanes. Everyone wins with a maintained paved shoulder that bicyclists can ride on. As a motorist, have you written ALDOT lately to complain about how dangerous slow moving bicycles are when they ride in high speed motor vehicle traffic lanes?
While bicycle advocacy groups try to do good by getting "Share The Road" signs installed, the reality is slow moving bicycles and fast moving multi-ton vehicles simply cannot safely coexist in the same narrow lane together. The only thing Shared when Sharing the lane is a higher risk of injury or death.
Both motorists and bicyclists lose when someone grinds rumble strips in the middle of the paved shoulder forcing bicycles off the shoulder and out into the lane of traffic. Now motorists are forced to break the law by having to cross a solid yellow line on Hamilton Boulevard to pass the slow moving bicycle in their lane of traffic.
ALDOT needs to stop putting bicycle terrorism rumble strips down the middle of paved asphalt shoulders. People movement corridors should include room for bicyclists and pedestrians. If the State cannot build people movement corridors safely, they need to stop building them and stop wasting money repaving unsafe corridors.
Keep in mind that Dauphin Island Parkway is a proposed bicycle route in the Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan which City of Mobile, Mobile County, and ALDOT engineers all had a part in creating. This Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan keeps getting ignored on road construction projects throughout the City of Mobile. This SR-163 road is suppose to include a 4-foot wide paved shoulder for bicyclists to safely use. Instead, bicyclists get a much narrower paved shoulder which thanks to rumble strips, force them to NOT use.
When the next bicyclist gets run over and killed along a route that was re-paved without regard to the Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan as is in this case, let the lawyers have a field day because it appears only legal intervention is going to stop ALDOT from discriminating against Bicyclists.
If the objective of rumble strips is to alert speeding motor vehicle drivers who are playing on their smartphone that they have veered out of their lane, then the rumble strips should be put ON BOTH the White and Yellow lines helping to prevent the car from veering out of the lane in either direction. Rumble strips on the White line would alert motorists that they are veering onto the paved shoulder also known as a designated bicycle lane.
The way these rumble strips on SR-163 are installed, it appears the oil and gas industry did the work for the sole purpose of deterring bicycle use. The more they monopolize motor vehicle traffic and deter human powered movement, the higher their profits. I wonder if ALDOT or AASHTO gets any money from the Oil and Gas industry directly or in the form of political donations. Some reporter should dig into that because it doesn't make sense for ALDOT to keep building people movement corridors designed for motor vehicle use only.