Cycling is a dual carriageway madness or sensibubbe?

hot foxhot fox ✭✭✭

Here's my dilemma! I have two possible routes to commute on a Saturday, one mainly on a dual carriageway with a baby hard shoulder I can use which is satisfactory when the road is not too busy but the junctions and roundabouts are fairly hairy. The other option is 25% further and double the hills and is a relatively narrow road so it can prove tricky for a car to be able to overtake as it can be quite windy too.

So what is best from a safety perspective? I can allow extra time and hills are obviously great training so either journey is viable. My cycling chums all seem to think country road but my logic tells me dual carriageway drivers have more room to overtake especially when I have the gutter to use!

Opinions, experiences and logic greatly appreciated as my hubby thinks dual carriageway is suicidal and I don't agree to be honest! 



  • I've cycled a dual carriage way .. some are far safer than others, you can be far more visible on a d/cway than a country lane

    Its down to the individual area

  • SteadyCJSteadyCJ ✭✭✭

    As per M..eldy,
    What is the speed for the dual carriageway?

  • I much prefer cycling on a dual carriageway to cycling on it all the time on my own......

    The cars have wider lanes and can accomodate you more. and see you earlier.just be positive at roundabouts and own your own space.......

    I never use the hard shoulders or go inside the white line as that is where all the crap gathers and it is more likely to get you a puncture........


    I also think if a car does a hit and run on me on the lanes i could be in the hedgerow for hours dying slowly...........If are car did a hit and run on me on teh dual carriageway there will lots of other traffic to see me and phone an ambulance so better chance of survival

  • Junctions and roundabouts are usually the worst part. Do you see club riders along it ? If they're not riding it - I wouldn't either.
  • popsiderpopsider ✭✭✭

    If its a proper stretch of open road DC I wouldnt risk riding it regularly on my own.     The same arguments about visibility etc are made about time trialling on DCs but the death rate is far worse than on non DC routes.

  • Have the option for my daily commute and always go dual carriageway. Agree withthat Seren

  • I saw 5 or 6 cyclists from a club on the dual carriageway today - first time I can recall that. Cyclists look awfull vulnerable on what can be not much less than a motorway.

  • JB I think they can be thats true ... I use the local by-pass which is a dual c/way but I would not use the southern A5, both are dual c/ways but they are very different roads
    I have seen cyclists on the A5, rather them than me
    I have had more near misses on the lanes but that would be because I travel on them more then A roads image

    One piece of advice given to me when I first started cycling was to treat every veh like it was going to kill you  ....   as a cyclist you are vulnerable wherever you are

  • Its the junctions are the worse it is worthwhile turning down em and make your crossing a bit further down

  • PSCPSC ✭✭✭

    lanes every time for me.... quieter and more fun.  I hate main roads - but clearly (from above posts) it's personal choice.  Try both and see which you like most.  Time of day is going to make a big difference too.  Might be worth going in on the shorter route and home on the quieter route.

  • I've never considered it probably because I just don't need to near me. Be aware that the hard should may have debris in it. Also if the speed limit is 70 and there are no speed cameras people could pass you at up to 100mph on a Saturday (assuming it's vaguely quiet). That's a lot draft and could be uncomfortable. 

    Whatever you do wear loads of high vis. I drive ambo's at speed and having good high vis really gives extra time to be spotted; particularly as people probably won't be expecting a cyclist. 

    I personally wouldn't. When I drive to Windsor on the DC I invariably think organ donar - but I think it depends on the nature of the DC - as the others have said. 

  • One of my routes home from work goes along an A road - it can be quite hairy at times - I see other cyclists around from time to time on that section but the trucks are just freaky they get a bit too close at speed for my liking - which is probably why I don't go that way very often.  I like country lanes I can see and hear the vehicles coming from aways off so Im not surprised by them or them by me coming.

    I second the hi-vis wear - I look like a fluro lemon but you can see me and go around me and that's all I care about.

  • I think it depends on whether you confident to ride on dual-carriageways and A-roads. I cycle through a dual-carriageway on the way to work daily and if its during the busy periods, its just a matter of using awareness. If I near to a junction or roundabout, I looked behind so I know when to put my hand out to indicate. I also look ahead to consider when to proceed through a junction/roundabout. I also thank any driver who allows me through. I agree with visibility. If its during the day, I tend to wear red, green because it stands out. Night, its mostly lights on my clothing, head, bike and wheels. More visibility to the driver, the more they keep their distance and know where you are.

  • I saw a cyclist on Speke Boulevard (main road in and out of South Liverpool for those who don't know it) and I was absolutely CERTAIN it must be illegal, until I found it that it wasn't.

    It's certainly suicidal to cycle on THAT particular dual carriageway. There is a major junction with an expressway linking to the M62 and it's difficult enough to navigate in a CAR when there is traffic simultaneously joining and leaving the road, which regularly moves at 80mph.

    This weekend I've had the "pleasure" of travelling the entire length of the A14 to Felixstowe for a family wedding and I noticed that they have dogleg cycle paths on there where they take you OFF the main dual carriageway at junctions for your own safety and return you to it when there is less chance of you ending up in a Findus lasagne. I can't think why nobody has put this idea to Liverpool City Council...... image

  • I expect they have LB ... It's down to cost I suspect

    its standard to do the dog leg off the junctions where it's safer for a cyclist to cross ... Supposedly 

  • They still seem to have to cross the slip road though Melds, in order to rejoin the carriageway? Do they have to do it from a dismount position?

    It looks like it means that the traffic joining the dual carriageway from the slip road at up to 70mph is NOT met by a cyclist blocking their path, doing at best probably 20 image


  • In the morning on Speke Boulevard, a cyclist would wait for bloody hours for a gap in traffic to get ACROSS one of those things.....image

  • hot foxhot fox ✭✭✭

    My bit of DC is a section of A43. Having driven up and down it yesterday my section is more cyclist friendly than other bits. However cars do race up there at over 70 which is the speed limit. Maybe because it's next time Silverstone There are particularly gritty bits of the hard shoulder. The junctions do have a sign for cyclists to dismount and cross at the shortest point but no other cycling lane info. I have never seen another cyclist on there, ever, and I do look out whilst on four and two wheels! I have another suggested B road route to try so I will probably do a combo, perhaps only hitting the DC on early mornings and avoiding at 4.30 Saturday afternoon. 

    Thanks all x

  • LB  It is likely assumed that traffic approaching joining a DC is slowing whilst those joining it are speeding up, also if you dont take cyclists down the junction a little way to cross you then have a cyclist with DC traffic to their right and cars approaching from the left, by crossing the (assumed) slower lane of traffic further down you are reducing the risk
    I think as  Hot Fox alludes to most will advise getting off to walk across - I am not sure which would be the best option for me as I am just as much a liability on my feet as I am on 2 wheels   image

  • Meldy is your southern bit of the A5 the bit past MK? I sometimes see cyclists there and it scares me... No f*cking way would I cycle there there are loads of cycle paths in MK as an alternative.


  • Yes thats the one Aly .. although I tend to use the by pass at the bottom (Stoke Hammond) and that is quite quiet out of hours

  • Alybea...cycle paths scare me the most.......lots of curbs and gravel.dogs either off leads or on extended leads.young children walking doing what young kids poo and leaves.....and lots of narrowings that i can't get my bike through....when clipped in i am a nervous wreck on a cycle path...give me a dual carriageway anyday instead

  • hot foxhot fox ✭✭✭

    M'Eldy you must be near me! I work near Milton Keynes and commute on A5 or A43 or roads through Buckingham. I have not cycled on A5 but have seen people do so on the stretch nearer my end, Towcester way. A43 is maybe not so busy....

  • Yes I probably am !!    I am south of MK tho, just by Aylesbury but regularly cycle up towards the Winchendons and Oving/Pitchcott

  • seren nos wrote (see)

    Alybea...cycle paths scare me the most.......lots of curbs and gravel.dogs either off leads or on extended leads.young children walking doing what young kids poo and leaves.....and lots of narrowings that i can't get my bike through....when clipped in i am a nervous wreck on a cycle path...give me a dual carriageway anyday instead

    Scariest place in the world to cycle: Regent's Canal towpath on a sunny sunday afternoon! 

  • Canal towpaths are not good anywhere when the sun is out !

  • Im also near MK,

    Never cycle on the grid roads as most drivers treat them like a race track, also avoid A5 and A421 with a passion.

    I dont like any busy roads, particularly A roads, duel carriageways arent much better.  I just cant relax and enjoy my ride, always on guard for the next car/HGV which is going to swoosh past at 50+ mph.

    Nearly all my riding is done on B roads, most traffic is therefore passing you at around 30mph.  Luckily for the most part Buckinghamshire drivers seem pretty considerate.

  • Trouble with MK cycleways is there is lots of glass from the idiot teenagers who think its fun to smash bottles.

  • Give me back roads over dual carriageways any day of the week. Even then though there are plenty of single carriageway roads that I steer clear of near me. The A69 Newcastle to Carlisle to the west of where I live is constant all day everyday with cars doing 60+. The military road ( route along Hadrians Wall )is a lovely place to be however on a bike it's a different matter. Again a fast road with hidden dips and crests. I use it sparingly to link up from one area to another if it can't be avoided.

    The DC/SC is an argument that has gone on forever and will continue. Each to their own I suppose image

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