I am not sure if Alberta Transportation is just bored and looking for make work projects but the cutting of rumble strips along every highway seems to be getting out of control! I will call it now that sooner or later a cyclist will be killed attempting to avoid these strips on highways they where not designed for!
I know my blog as of late could be classified more as a rant, but I have been letting the everyday things become an annoyance. Venting them here on my site brings closure to them in my mind. That said, today's rant, however, is a big one (to me). It is regarding Alberta transportation cutting in rumble strips along the shoulders of highways that were not designed for them. Let me clarify a couple things before I start on this. I am very much in favor of having these safety strips along the newly renovated highways such as #9, east of my farm. These highways were designed for them and provide plenty of room for cyclists and potential vehicular breakdowns to move to the shoulder. Both benefit from these rumble strips by having a lane between them and the ditch. The source of my irritation is placing them on the existing 30-year-old highways that are too narrow to start with, and then some idiot at Alberta Transportation decides we need put rumble strips on the remaining eight inches of shoulder.
Let me point out a couple flaws with this theory – it could be argued that if a driver were falling asleep at the wheel that these would wake him up. TRUE; however, if there is a cyclist on the road (due to the rumble strips on the shoulder), s/he would be killed by this same sleeping driver prior to them drifting off to the rumble strips. Secondly, is it really saving this driver, as s/he is already eight inches from being off the road? All it’s going to do is scare him/her into overcompensating into oncoming traffic, thus again causing two or more deaths. Again, don't get me wrong; I am all for the strips on properly designed highways. But let’s just leave the crappy deteriorating highways to die a natural death until infrastructure allows funding to properly fix them.
Also, as a farmer that takes pride in being able to operate equipment in a straight line (prior to GPS steering), if Alberta Transportation still feels it is necessary to continue this make work project, can they at least hire someone who can drive a straight line down the shoulder as opposed the drunken sailor that did highway 56 south of the Morrin corner? Potentially, with proper operating skill and caution, a very skinny lane between the rumble strip and ditch could be achieved even on these deterioration highways; however, this has not been the case around this area where random swerves with this machine make it impossible for any cyclist to maintain the 1 mm contact patch required to keep a road wheel on the pavement (Dinosaur Trail merge lane at the Tyrell Museum is another quality job!). My apologies to whoever this operator was. You can tell me how hard it is to drive this huge machine in a straight line. But again, it just supports the fact it should not be on these skinny shoulders. If you like, I would be happy to drive it for a day and you can ride my bike on the mess it has created. Anyway, that's my two cents for what it’s worth. And yes, I do feel better now.