Q: Can bicycles be ridden on Interstate 84?
A: “Bicycles can be ridden on I-84 as well as all of the other interstates in Idaho,” said Adam Rush, Public Involvement Coordinator for the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Communication.
He said U.S. code and the Federal Highway Administration state: “There must be exceptional circumstances for denying bicycle and pedestrian access either by prohibition or by designing highways that are incompatible with safe, convenient walking and bicycling. Even where circumstances are exceptional; states, Metropolitan Planning Organizations and local governments must still ensure that bicycle and pedestrian access along the corridor served by the new or improved facility is not made more difficult or impossible. For example, there may be ways to provide alternative routes on parallel surface streets or by providing shuttle bus service.”
“The transportation department encourages bicyclists to wear reflective clothing, have lights on the front and back of bicycles and be careful to stay on the shoulder of a highway route,” said Rush.
According to the Idaho Bicycle Commuter Guide, at 40 mph, the stopping distance of most motor vehicles is more than 180 feet (including reaction time). Wearing retro-reflective clothing allows drivers to see from a greater distance, up to 500 feet. Retro-reflective material greatly increases visibility in low-light conditions because it returns light directly toward its source, such as an approaching car or truck.
League of American Bicyclists ranks Idaho 28th nationally as bicycle friendly, and Idaho is seventh out of 13 in the West. The ranking is concerned with actions by state legislatures. Idaho spends the fifth least per capita of federal funds on biking and walking of any state despite having a high percentage of commuters who bike and walk to work.
Idaho defines bicycles as vehicles, and cyclists must ride with the traffic flow and as far right as conditions safely allow except under any of the following circumstances:
When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions including those caused by substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge; or
When a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable.