Dangerous roads prompt bike route changes in North Dakota

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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.

Sad change

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.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2012/03/27/dangerous-roads-prompt-bike-route-changes-in-north-dakota/

1 comment

    • C2Cin2006 on April 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm
    • Reply

    This is indeed sad news. I biked the ACA Northern Tier route across North Dakota in 2006 and found it most enjoyable especially the small towns. One good incident sticks in my to this day. About mid day we (biked for 3 days with fellow I met in Cooperstown, ND) arrived at a small town along the CP Railroad tracks south east of Minot and looked for a place for lunch. As we looked down the “Main” St a CP Railroad maintenance truck pulled up and stopped. 3 well fed men emerged from the truck so i ask them where we might get a meal. They informed us that the only place to eat in town on that day was the Senior Center “just down the street” because the cafe was closed on that day of the week. We made our way to the Senior Center and were welcomed like old friends. The couple at the door said, “We have been expecting you” and we had a very nice meal with the local seniors (and railway workers). Actually we might have been off the exact route of the Northern Tier but the fact remains that visiting and spending a bit of cash in these small towns does help the local economy and is very interesting.

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