It's unfortunate, but it's simply good advice: Touring bicyclists should probably steer clear of North Dakota's booming oil patch.
New maps are being created to help guide bicyclists around the roads through parts of western North Dakota that have become home to thousands of trucks every day. Add to that the condition of some roads, and you have a recipe for disaster. Large, heavy trucks and small bicycles do not make a good match.
Officials with the non-profit Adventure Cycling Association said the new maps reroute riders south, mostly along Interstate 94. Residents in many small towns in western North Dakota have become accustomed to hosting out-of-state riders passing through during the summer months. Decreasing rider traffic will negatively impact some towns, where the money spent by touring cyclists is a welcome boost to the town's economy. Even larger cities like Minot have benefitted financially and culturally from hosting out-of-state riders making their way across the country every summer. Sadly, that will drop considerably once the riders are rerouted to the south.
But it's a necessity, an unfortunate side effect of the state's booming economy. There's no argument that it's become downright dangerous to be a bicyclist on many roads in the oil patch. We'd rather see the bicyclists rerouted than have even one cycling-related fatal accident on a road in western North Dakota.