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Cyclists worry about HWY 1 rumble strips

Published February 28, 2012

SANTA CRUZ, CA (BRAIN) Feb 28, 19:18 MT—Veteran cycling journalist Jim Langley is organizing a campaign among California cyclists concerned about the specter of rumble strips along the shoulder of Highway 1 near Santa Cruz.

"[T]his is arguably one of the most famous cycling routes in the world," Langley said in an email to BRAIN. The coast road is used for dozens of cycling events, including part of an Amgen Tour of California stage.

State transportation officials say they are considering cutting rumble strips on an 11-mile section because data show a higher than normal number of accidents from vehicles leaving their lanes. Rumble strips have been shown to reduce these kinds of accidents by 25 percent, they say.

Langley said the road's narrow shoulders make rumble strips inappropriate.

"Endangering cyclists just makes the road even more dangerous," he said.

This photo taking during 2010 Tour of California shows where the race route leaves Highway 1 and enters Bonny Doon Road. The area is along the section where CalTrans is considering adding rumble strips. Photo: Jim Langley.

"These rumble strips would be up to a foot wide and run continuously inside the white line on the road’s edge and down the centerline, too. Cyclists would need to use great care not to hit them or they could be knocked off their bike, lose control and crash, get knocked into the traffic lane or even get a flat tire over these jarring bumps. Also, they would shrink the width of the shoulder for safe riding and force riders to deal with the erosion issues and cracked pavement on the extreme inside of this old, heavily used and super-scenic coastal road."

Langley is asking concerned cyclists to email CalTrans about the project at

CalTrans' Steve Price said the project is still in the "scoping phase" and that the state will consider the needs of cyclists and respond to the emails pouring in as a result of Langley's campaign.

"I doubt we will do it if there is not adequate shoulder," Price told BRAIN. He said that state codes call for at least 4 feet of shoulder to the right of a rumble strip on roads that cyclists use. He said the section under consideration has shoulders that are between 5 and 8 feet wide.

Price said some cyclists appreciate rumble strips because they warn drivers veering onto a shoulder and they give cyclists an audible warning if a driver behind them drives onto the bumps.

CalTrans is considering the rumble strips north of Santa Cruz, from Milepost 20.41 near the Mission Street/Shaffer Road intersection to Milepost 30.55 at Swanton Road.

Steve Frothingham

Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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