Sign says "Road Closed Ahead", go or no?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by BillsburgGS, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. BillsburgGS

    BillsburgGS Been here awhile

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    Do you see a "Road Closed" as a stop/re-route signal or a "pause then go suggestion"?

    Unless I am running late and in a "cut my losses" mode I can't help but react with a "maybe for most people, but I am more likely than not going to be able to find a way through" reaction. I'd guess my success rate is at least 50%, either just weaving around obstructions (potholes, half jack hammered road, or maybe a shallow creek bridge out/under construction (happens a fair amount in MO).

    Sometimes it's truly impassable so I turn around.

    I know it's shallow but I feel badass when I do make it through!

    I do not go when I see workers active on site.

    Do you go or turn when you see the sign?

    :wink:
    #1
  2. Hurricane Bob

    Hurricane Bob formerly: Bomber1965

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    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/OFTVCNjCIBs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  3. Seth650

    Seth650 Been here awhile

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    I can go around the steel gates that block most woods roads here, but it looks dumb bounding through with only hikers, hunters and dog- walkers. Unless you're wringing it you're likely to be someone's cell phone photo set forwarded to the DEP. Also they're unmaintaineds in a bad way, like dropped wash-outs, fallen hemlocks, etc.
    #3
  4. D R

    D R ----

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    When roads are closed, there is usually a good reason which may or may not be readily obvious from where the sign is posted.
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  5. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    ...but quite frequently, it's possible to take 700-800 pounds of bike and rider over roads and across bridges that would not safely handle 3,000 pounds of car (let alone 6,000 pounds of light truck).

    I got a little jaded about "road closed" signs after Tropical Storm Irene did a vicious number on a lot of Vermont roads. Many of the roads that were subsequently posted "Road Closed" were completely passable, especially on a GS (let alone a real dirt bike). Most of them also wouldn't hold up very well to a lot of traffic, but I never caught any guff riding cautiously between two of the towns 50 miles apart on Route 100 that had limited accessibility.

    At this point, a lot depends on how well I know the area and how much I know about why the roadway is closed. There's another road near Rutland that had a closed bridge on it for a couple of years (may still, for all I know) but that was frequently used by mountain bikers. Hypothetically, I may have scouted it on foot the first time I came across it and then scooted right on through subsequently.

    If I'm somewhere I don't know, I'm generally inclined to pay attention to "Road Closed" signs, particularly when they are of the black-and-white, have-legal-meaning variety. When it's orange spray paint on a warped 4x6 sheet of plywood, I take it under advisement that I may need to turn around (which is similar to how I generally treat "No Outlet" and "No Thru Traffic" signs when the GPS indicates the road goes through).
    #5
  6. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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  7. jnclem

    jnclem True Airhead

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    A couple years ago, my brother and I were riding over Paradise Divide above Crested Butte in the fall. We got over to the Scofield Pass side and found a raod closed sign on the east river road headed back down to town. I told him doubted it was a problem since I hadn't heard that the road was closed. Keep in mind this was October, at about 4:30 pm. We figured that even if it was "closed" we could just go around it on the GS's. We got all the way down into the valley and found that they were installing the biggest culvert I have ever seen. Seriously, this thing was about 12 feet in diameter. The whole road was torn up, and the ground on both sides was pure swamp. We had to ride back up, over the dived and down the switchbacks, then back to my home west of Gunnison.

    I at least think about it now before I go through road closed signs.
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  8. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

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    "Road Closed Ahead" only means "ride slowly and watch out for road workers/obstacless". In at least 90% of the cases there's no need to turn around.
    Once when the road was covered in snow and I wasn't sure about it's condition, I asked one of the road workers if it was ok to drive through.
    Just be aware that they have the right of way all the time and if you encounter police, stay friendly and polite and if they demand you to turn around, do it without discussion after asking them once if they can't make an exclusion for you.
    #8
  9. GerJ

    GerJ Blijde rijder

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    Two years ago in the Czech republic we came at a road that according to our (none too recent) maps should be open, but had been closed meanwhile to motor traffic. Going back would have meant an immense detour, so we chanced it. It went OK, apart from foul looks from walkers. I remember from my own hiking days how I felt about motorcyclists disregarding closed signs...
    #9
  10. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    I go through them, but ride slowly/cautiously until I exit past the sign on the "other side" of the closure.

    If I encounter workers, I stop, park the bike, take off my lid and walk over to them. I don't lie, admit that I saw the sign, but respectfully explain that frequently I am able to cross "closed" roads with little to no difficulty on a dirt bike. I ask if it's okay/possible for me to continue at my own risk. Even if the answer is in the negative, I ask if they are aware that there is a shorter diversion route than the signposted one. The reason being, even if the road really is insurmountable, there are often trails/paths etc. that cars couldn't get down that would allow you to bypass the obstruction. Worth trying up in the mountains where diversions can easily mean backtracking an hour out of your way!

    I have been in a situation where I would have quite possibly died of hypothermia had I obeyed all the road closed signs (they closed all the roads in a remote area, because of snow, trapping me in the middle of the mountains), so feel that blindly obeying them is not the answer...
    #10
  11. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Posts are about different kinds of "road closed".

    If it's a steel gate it means the owner does not welcome me and I don't go.

    If it's a yellow sign on a post or temporary barrier I go look. I've talked to workers replacing bridges or culverts. No problem being there or looking.

    I've had fun times on roads that were closed for budget problems. I've had to turn around plenty. It's part of the calculation before I go. Closer to home or shorter days and I'm more likely to look.

    My experience with Irene is different from kbroderick's. In NY I had to turn around just a few times and I started respecting the signs. I was also a few states from home and trying to get to a family visit farther away. Might have been different if it was just a county from home.
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  12. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    I generally respect the sign unless I know for sure its passable.

    Came across this sign last year, road was fine but I could see after a rain storm why its there....goes right along a swamp.. A little rain and that road is underwater.

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. r60man

    r60man Been here awhile

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    Years ago a toad that my father took to work every day was closed for a massive project. The construction was projected to take about a year, and the detour would have added several miles and many minutes to his trip. At the time he rode a full dress Harley. He went down and chatted with the crew one day and they told him that they would keep a "lane" open for him as long as he was careful all would be OK. He took them donuts and coffee a few times and he used the "closed" road all year long.

    He had a police officer follow him one day and he just kept going. He saw the cop talking with the crew in his mirror. Never got a ticket. Sometimes it pays to be nice to people.
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  14. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    I should probably have qualified my post with a note about being aware of the worst-hit roads...I didn't even try getting through Route 4 to Rutland or a couple of the other spots that made the nightly news.

    On the other hand, there are other roads that are still posted closed that I wouldn't even think about trying to get a car or truck through that are passable on a GS (and very passable on a dirt bike). Some of them do have lurking dangers, though (such as general instability or sinkholes). I guess I'm more inclined to view the signs as suggestions...
    #14
  15. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    If you are special, just go on through.
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  16. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Hell, I'd go just to se what's up.
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  17. lakota

    lakota Geeser

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    +1
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  18. cwadej

    cwadej Keeper of the truth

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    those signs are like a Siren song. I can't resist them, no matter how much I try. I often end up turning around, but I still went.
    #18
  19. Rhombic

    Rhombic Typical KLR *****

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    Road closed, no outlet, not a through road, bridge out, no winter maintenance beyond this point etc just make me think "oh yeah, we'll see about that!" I've had to turn around at times but also found a way through at times also. If my map and/or GPS say it's a through road I'm probably going to go see.
    #19
  20. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    My reply on p.1 is about public roads. I enjoy closed roads.

    Mud season is the exception. I stay off any road marked "closed for mud season" or even any dirt road with a temporary "road closed" sign during this time of year. The residents/users/owners may well be using the road occasionally but as little as possible until it firms up.

    As the owner of a dirt road I see how much damage a careless or rowdy driver can cause. I don't want to be that person.
    #20