Heavy road traffic in North Dakota’s “drill baby drill” region is forcing Adventure Cycling Association to relocate two established bicycle routes and issue new replacementent maps.
The Northern Tier and Lewis & Clark bicycle routes were redrawn to avoid the heavy traffic related to the oil and gas industry surge in northwestern North Dakota and moved southward generally to the Interstate 94 corridor.
Traffic rose over 4 years
Cartographer Jennifer ‘Jenn’ Milyko announced the changes at the Adventure Cycling blog last month. The national wire services picked up the story Tuesday under the headline “Bicycle group warns riders to steer clear of North Dakota’s oil patch due to dangerous traffic.”
The non-profit has been dealing with the issue for at least four years. Milyko writes that they made a couple of smaller adjustments to the Lewis and Clark bike route, such as relocating it off Highway 1804, which was named for the year the expedition headed west.
The latest change, however, moves the routes from around Williston and Minot to about 100 miles away.
Announcing the changes, Milyko wrote:
“Though we are saddened to be making such a major route change to two of our most well known routes — pulling some business from small towns in North Dakota — we made this decision based on the safety of cyclists and we hope our decision is met with patience and understanding.”
She thanked the touring bicyclists who reported the worsening conditions along the routes. One bike traveler, who posted his trip at Sleepless ‘Til Seattle, recorded the heavy traffic in video below.
Another story reports a growing litter problem along the roadside where trucks travel, including plastic jugs of urine jettisoned by long-haul truck drivers.
Towns will miss cyclists
A map replacement policy for the four redrawn map sections enables people who recently bought the maps to get the corrected ones for free. Check “Big route changes in North Dakota” for details.
While the North Dakota oil boom is helping some segments of the economy, moving the bike route will hurt businesses that have depended on the passing bicyclists for their livelihood.
The co-owner of Val’s Cycle in Minot told the AP that more than 150 touring cyclists stopped by every summer for parts or tune-ups. He expects cafes, stores and campgrounds will feel the loss.