Riding on the Interstate

Did you know that you can ride your bicycle on Interstate highways? It's true! Of course, it depends on the state, the conditions, and the location. Riding your bicycle on I-95 is never a good idea, but then again, driving on I-95 is never a good idea, either.

In all seriousness, I was vaguely worried about riding on the Interstate this summer. I know it's legal in some states and not in others. I know individual states have their own rules. I know that the only way to get a definitive answer is to contact a state's DOT. It's just that, until now, I've been too lazy to actually do that.

California is an interesting case. It is home to some of the densest parts of the country (San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego) as well as some of the emptiest (Mojave Desert). The state came up with one rule to regulate bicycles on the Interstate, and it is sensible: bicycles are only allowed on the Interstate when there is no other road to the destination, and no usable alternate road is available. As an example, we'll be OK to ride I-15 into Baker, CA.

California in particular has long-distance bicycling maps that they will send you free of charge, so long as you call them up. I spoke with Kevin McGuire at Caltrans, the head of their bicycling division, and can pass his contact info along as necessary.

I found these pages to be helpful:
http://www.parrett.net/~rralston/bistate.html (Beware! Links and phone numbers are mostly out of date!
http://cms.transportation.org/?siteid=59&pageid=852 - definitive list of who to ask
http://www.adventurecycling.org/cyp/us.cfm - a good place to look for resources you didn't know to look for, in and out of the US.

Diligence, always!