E.J. Levy recently sent me an article about Colorado State Highways and how many of them have paved shoulders 4 feet or wider — a great way to make roads safer for bicyclists. Colorado has had a policy since 1999 to add these shoulders to their state highways. Nine years later, 72% of their state highway roads have them.
I am not sure if this includes Interstates, where in Colorado they are sometimes open to biking (e.g. I-70, I-76.)
So what’s the story in Michigan? As of last year, 35.8% of MDOT trunklines had paved shoulders 4′ or greater. That percentage does not include Interstates, which are not currently opening to Michigan bicyclists.
That’s 3,031 miles of state roads with wide paved shoulders.
According to Josh Debruyn, MDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, “In the last two years, MDOT has added 365 miles of paved shoulder suitable for bicycling and the number continues to grow every year.”
We expect these to grow as well now that the Governor has directed MDOT to do more.
And don’t think paved shoulders are just for bicyclists. They help roads last longer, provide a safe pull-off area for vehicles, and allow vehicles to pass bicyclists more safely.
Now if we could only get the Metro Detroit road agencies (e.g. Road Commission for Oakland County) to step up and make this same committment to bicyclist safety.