I've been considering the commute to work since Christmas, have got a bike in mind but just wondering what people's thoughts are on the route? Either dual carriageway or the backroads (not even classed as B-roads). Backroad route is longer but is it safer?
Dual carriageway or country roads for commute?
Yes and no - I personally go minor country roads - the surfaces are rougher but when I used major roads I had many near misses with cars cutting me up. I have had little problems with minor roads - ones which are very narrow that can't overtake (realistically) and have to slow down for the tight corners - I personally don't like dual carrageways as the flow of traffic if VV fast and although your unlikely to become a statistic if/when you do its gonna be bad
Yes, probably safer though probably not as much as you think. I'd use the back roads anyway just because it's more enjoyable and I wouldn't mind getting up a bit earlier for it.
Not sure about safer but probably, and definitely far more pleasant.
I stay on quiet roads where I can, much more relaxing.
Thanks for the advice, the main issue for me on the dual carriageway is the 7 roundabouts I'd have to negotiate, scary enough in the car!
Am going to borrow a road bike and see how long it takes me this weekend
It depends on your definition of safe. You'll be more likely to have an accident on back lanes imo, but they tend to be minor affairs. It's far less likely that you'll have an accident on a dual carriageway, but when you do it's going to be serious..
I'd stick to the lanes myself, if only because it will be more pleasant.
The other thing is the edges of a DC are full of crap and tend to be rough and unworn.
Also on the backroads you my find that a lot of the drivers go that way fro the same reasons that you do, ie not getting wind up on the DC.
Back roads are more interesting. Dual carriageways tend to be straightish, dull and soul destroying.
especially in a headwind. The wider the road the slower you feel. Leave it for the cars.
i used the A3 out of london the other day - major road! but it has an excellant cycle track that runs along both sides and is off highway
I do see people cycling on the dual carriageway but they don't look like cyclists, if you know what I mean.
Studying the OS maps looks like a green lane cut through that could save me some time, looking forward to an explore
I often commuted down a 60-limit dual carriageway, it was far less scary than some of the 60 limit single-lane roads in the same area where you'd get cars rocketing through at 50-60 not expecting a bike (or anything) around the next corner.
Dual carriageways are wonderful, not only do you get a smooth open road with few stops, but you also get a massive reduction in any headwind that might be present, due to the traffic blasting past.
Back roads everytime for me and would typically avoid duals at all costs - people drive with motorway mentality on them. back roads are usually more scenic & just make for a mellower options, the statistics probably say something else, but I have always felts it's safer.
If it's any help I could ask the guy on the floor above me who lost his leg after an 'encouter' with a lorry on the local dual carriageway while commuting to work.
I follow a similar route but avoid the dual carriageway like a plague preferring to take the 4 mile hit to stick to quieter (generally 30mph) roads and cyclepaths. No guarantee that someone isn't going to take me out but it makes the journey a lot more pleasant.
The more interesting point to me is that, despite around 5 miles of my route being on a cyclepath which runs parallel to the dual carriageway, I often see cyclists on the main road instead of the cyclepath. Whatever tickles you I guess!
Is there a pavement down the side of the dual carriageway ?
I'd ride on that.
Surely only you know which is the best option? Knowing the local traffic etc.?
I could ask on here - which should I take: the straight A road with partial cycle paths, or the B road over the hill?
Only I know how crap the A road is with about 20 sets of lights and all the junctions where the cars have right of way over the cycle paths!
minor roads, if you have to use roads.
dual carriageways scare the crap out of me TBH.
It's far less likely that you'll have an accident on a dual carriageway, but when you do it's going to be serious..
this is why
A lot of drivers aren't going to expect to see a cyclist in a dual carriageway, and some are even convinced that bikes aren't allowed on them. That's no reason not to use one if it's the quickest and best route, but it's something that I'd factor into a decision.
A lot of drivers aren't going to expect to see a cyclist in a dual carriageway,
Straight road gives plenty of vision and time for them to react though, and lanes are very wide so they can squeeze over if they cock it up, very rarely had a close call on dual carriageway. I find, localy to my old place, people would rocket through country roads like they were race tracks despite having zero visibility, and then have no room to correct when they see you. But it all depends on the roads in question.
I often see cyclists on the main road instead of the cyclepath. Whatever tickles you I guess!
I often picked the road over the cycle path too, because the cycle path was littered with glass, broken every 300 yards by side roads where cars would approach the junction as a give-way rather than a stop, and I had more near-misses and punctures in a month of path riding than in 6 of road riding! Local conditions etc...
Dual carriageway lover here; one of the good things about them is that a DC is designed to allow faster vehicles to overtake slower ones, and if everbody plays nice, that means less conflict and impatience ('cos we all know, impatience, not bad drivers causes accidents :roll:).
They also have clearer sightlines and as most DCs are upgraded versions of the original route between two places, they are shorter too.
I do understand why inexperienced cyclists find them daunting though, but dont kid yourself thinking that rural lanes are safer.
the two problems i worry about on dual carriageways are
1- the exit/entry sliproads - VERY dangerous.
2- people fiddling with phones/ipods or whatever and drifting into you.
i'd avoid at all costs.
I agree that it depends entirely on your local roads. I'm lucky to have one of the better maintained sustrans routes (Route 1 I think) on my commute to work and the minor road sections which I have to use are generally fast and safe for me. The dual carriageway, the A189 in Northumberland is fast, generally unlit with poor visibility in a number of places, and has a number of poor junctions which seem to result in at least one vehicle accident a day over the 10 mile stretch.
The cycle route follows the dual carriageway separated by either a fence or hedge for a number of miles and I couldn't justify the additional risk of using the dual carriageway knowing what the choices are. It is noticeable that those choosing to cycle along it are not 'serious' cyclists and who appear to be less aware of the risks.
Why not just do both routes and see which you like best.
Dual Carrageway there and B-roads on the way back?
I'm sure you'll soon find which is the best for you
Crossing entry slip lanes on a dual carriage ways scares the crap out of me.
Is the trafic moving fast on the dual carriage way. They can be ok if there's heavy traffic and it's slow moving. Even easier if there is a hard wide verge. The speed differential can be quite alarming. Being overtaken by a coach or lorry at 60ish miles an hour creates a lot of turbulence.
Personally I'd go country lane everytime. But then when I road bike I see more bikes than cars on the lanes I use in Northumbria.
in aberdeen ill take the dualers over single carridge way any day
rat racing around here is absolutely insane you get litterally rammed off the road round here on the country roads if you give them an inch ! if they cant get passed they will sit on your wheel and toot at you till you move ! dualers are mostly stationary traffic! so it really does depend on area !
It depends on the backroads - the road condition on some of them is pretty poor and there can be sections with poor visibility, blind corners, hedgerows and cars speeding. Had a few offs over the years with potholes or front tyres slipping due to unseen run off from the fields road a downhill corner.
However despite that i'd still say i prefer the back roads, one thing that is overlooked is how nice it is to breath in clean air when going at a good pace - busy a roads have all the problems with fumes and pollution and general road mankiness with grit, brake dust etc.
Depends on the roads in question.
I use a dual carriageway for 3 miles twice a day. It is a 40 limit (not that its always observed mind) and while the speed diferential is high, there is plenty of room for everyone and visibility is good. Only 2 roundabouts too, which help.
I can also use countrylanes and to be honest, becuase they're used as rat runs, I've had more problems with speeding motor traffic and idiots pulling stupid illadvised stunts on those near rush hour than I have on the DC.
It makes me wince whenever I see time trials being run on "drag strip" dual carriageways. However, I do acknowledge that small lanes - especially single track roads - also present real dangers.
You cannot eliminate risk, but you can mitigate against it.
So, if the DC has no slip roads, I would be happier. The fact it has a series of roundabouts - presumably sizeable - is problematic. I use a large roundabout in Manchester twise daily, and am still very mindful of some of the near misses I have had over the years.
It sort of depends what time you expect to be on the roads, and what traffic normally uses them at htose times. For example, I found myself on a fast DC the other night on a chaingang, but it was pretty empty. I bet it would be horrendous in the day time. Equally, we then found ourselves on tiny unlit lanes needing big ol' lights to see and be seen.
For me, I would rather avoid the nose and feeling of continued terror on a DC, and would risk the small lanes and learn where they are safer and where they are dangerous. And, when there aren't cars around you, enjoy the tranquility and countryside.
There is the principle of the thing to consider
First a road appears in the natural line between two points,
It gets used by all traffic until some complain about it being too slow,
It then gets dualled, fair enough up 'til this point.
Then some drivers are allowed to start treating it as a full motorway, especially with cyclists and others* acting like surrender-monkeys and letting them get away with it, finding alternative i.e. longer routes etc' allowing motorists to get used to roads with no cycletraffic.
Then it gets reclassified as a motorway.
With anything in life, if you dont use something, it gets taken away.
* Yeah, I know some of you wil say stuff like " oh, but I'd rather be an alive surrender-monkey than a dead cyclo-martyr", but I've been cycling on such roads for 28 years, I'm still alive, and the near death experiences I've had have ALL happened on quiet county roads.
I'm a surrender monkey
As much as I like principles, I prefer to keep my legs. Feel free to do a few miles on the A189 if you get the chance to keep the facility open for cyclists.
Alternatively, I'll stick with the quieter route I enjoy more.
depends what time of day your commute is too.
Aye, suit yourself, but as you may notice, I get REALLY F*****G ANNOYED at this subject (not at individuals)
Those cyclists west of Edinburgh had the only direct route closed off to us, with no suitable alternative (and I believe the 'cycling friendly council has further bans on the way)
Its no longer worth my while to commute by bike, and I'm still F*****G livid
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