Dear 100 Hour Board,
I am trying to find the safest bike route from home to work and back. I live near 400 E and Center St. in Provo and work at Timpview. I have a couple of options,
1) University Avenue
Pros: Has bike lanes on both sides
Cons: Imminent death from congestion, crazy drivers and construction. So, not really an option, I would prefer to stay away from this road.
2) Cut through south of campus, ride up Canyon Rd (N 150 E) past the stadium
Pros: Not very busy in the morning, wide-ish road.
Cons: No bike lanes, pretty busy in the afternoon
3) Cut through south of campus, ride on 900E by the MTC.
Pros: Has the West side huge sidewalk on 900E (which I believe is legal to ride on, at least what I could find online doesn't say it's illegal to do so)
Cons: Furthest distance of the three, pretty much can only ride on the West side of the road on the giant sidewalk.
I think the best option is to ride up Canyon past the stadium on the way to work in the mornings, and then home on 900E, stick to the sidewalk (if this is legal), and cut back through south of campus for the final stretch. I am fully up for any suggestions or ideas if someone can think of a better option.
I do everything else to be sure I am seen, I have reflective gear, head and tail lights, it's just a little scary out there Provo.
-Trying not to die
I think the main things to consider are traffic, bike lanes, and visibility. Bigger streets will have more space and better visibility, but more cars. Smaller streets will have less traffic, but you'll have to worry more about sharing the side walk with pedestrians and cars coming around blind corners.
Personally, I think your plan is pretty solid. I looked at a few different routes and that seems as good as any. Just be careful and wear reflective gear. One winter semester I was wearing black sweats and forgot my reflective gear. I biked back home from campus on 900 E and got hit by a car! (It was going like 3 miles an hour on a right turn, so no big deal) I also had 2 more close calls. So moral of the story is wear reflective gear and pay attention!
In case you'd like to talk more about this specific bike route or others, try stopping by or contacting the Provo Bicycle Collective; they would probably have the most expert advice on biking around Provo.