I made a presentation to the Apple Valley Town Council last night (Tuesday, March 26th) about adding rumble strips to bike lanes.

Here is the text of my presentation:

There are several roads around Apple Valley that now have bike lanes. I, as a cyclist, very much appreciate them. Unfortunately, Apple Valley Road — which should be one of our safest passageways given its generous vehicle and bike lanes — has seen two bad accidents in the past couple of years.

I mentioned this to a cycling friend the other day, and his response was immediate: “Are there rumble strips?” he asked.

Now, for the drunk who ran down Tim Moreno and Steve Stearns, rumble strips might not have made a difference, although perhaps they would have prompted his passenger to intervene in time to prevent the collision.

For the “distracted driver” who struck and killed Kevin Olin, though, the rumble strips might have been enough to return the driver’s attention to the proper operation of his vehicle, and Mr. Olin might still be with us.

Therefore, I request that the Town cut rumble strips into the asphalt alongside each current and future bike lane. Furthermore, I request that these rumble strips to be on the “vehicle side” of the bike-lane line. That is, the rumble strips should not encroach into the bike lane, which already seems to be too narrow to prevent vehicular mayhem from occurring to its users.

I know as a cyclist that rumble strips are not fun to ride on, even when crossing them as you sometimes must. Therefore, I am attaching copies of an analysis of installing rumble strips, which covers the inclusion of passing zones that are accessible to bicycle traffic without diminishing their effectiveness in guiding wayward motor vehicles back into their proper lane.

Attached: Analysis of Gap Patterns in Longitudinal Rumble Strips to Accommodate Bicycle Travel.

It was perhaps fortunate that I followed a gentleman who has been after the Town Council for months (years?) about safety on Apple Valley Road. He pointed out that the mandatory road surveys have not been done properly, so that traffic conditions, cross streets, driveways, population density, and other factors have been misstated. His recommendation seems to be to lower the speed limit on Apple Valley Road, and as part of his presentation he mentioned that a pedestrian had been struck by a car recently.

This provided an excellent segue to my presentation, which seem to be well received by the council members. Mayor Pro Tem Art Bishop said that in his many years of experience as a fireman, he had seen how rumble strips save lives.

Council member (and former mayor) Barb Stanton — long a supporter of cycling and bike safety in the High Desert — commented that although the Town has done a lot, it can still do better. She asked the Town staff to prepare a report on the current state of bike lanes in Apple Valley, along with plans for other bicycle-related projects (signage, road improvements, etc.), to be made public so everyone can see what has been done, what is being done, and what is planned for the future.

Mayor Pro Tem Art Bishop did raise a question about what legal obstacles the Town might have to negotiate in order to add rumble strips. I was not given an opportunity to respond, but am e-mailing each member of the council that Hwy 246 — which is the major road that runs from Lompoc to Buellton to Solvang — has rumble strips. Hwy 246 is wider and straighter than Apple Valley Road, runs through a predominantly rural farming area, and the speed limit is (if memory serves) 10 mph lower than Apple Valley Road. When I visited that area recently, it was heavily patrolled by CHP. Even so, the bike lane is protected by rumble strips. Obviously, if we have to deal with CalTrans there well could be a problem getting anything done, but to the best of my knowledge, each of the roads in Apple Valley that has a bike lane is under the control of the Town, not CalTrans.

I plan to stay in touch with Council Member Stanton, and will pass along any information I receive from her.


Just received this note from Council Member Scott Nassif:

Thank you for the great idea. It is my hope that there is a way for us to install the rumble strips not only on Apple Valley Rd., but anywhere we have a class one bike path. It is hard for me to believe that the cost would be that much, but you never know when government is involved. 😉


[Brad Miller, Town Engineer, has recommended against adding rumble strips to protect /advocacy/bike%20lanes/2013/06/06/apple-valley-rejects-rumble-strips.html).