I have been hit by a car. I have been hit by a bicycle. I have been bitten by a dog. I have narrowly been missed by a deer darting across the road.
For as many miles that I have cycled since my childhood you expect to have some accidents and close calls.
My suggestions and reflections about for the path options are:
1. Rail trails: Many are in quieter areas and away from traffic. They are marked and alert you about sidewalk and road crossings. Many may be bordered by a fence to restrict the surprises cutting across your path.
2. Residential streets: The speed limits are slower than city streets. Traffic may be limited to just the residents and guests. Watch out for people opening car doors and backing out of drive ways. I was bitten by a dog who felt threatened by me being to close to his territory. Every setting will have its surprises.
3. Sidewalks: You are away from traffic you think, but you always need to watch the cars turning off the road and people pulling out. Sidewalks are not used consistently and drivers forget that they are there. No matter how much color or lights you have, they are looking for bigger vehicles. Always be vigilante.
4. Road bike lanes: Stay in your lane and you are where the law says you have the most rights. That is also where cars expect you to be. Again, you really need to watch after yourself. Some bike lanes are created without attention to the condition of the road. Michigan has many patched road shoulders and these can force you into the roadway. Always keep safety in mind.
5. City streets: These are great because you are out with everyone else. They can see you the easiest because you are in their field of view.
6. Dirt and Gravel roads: These have become more popular with the advent of gravel bikes. When I was growing up in the 1960s you used the only bike you had. For me it was riding my 3 speed with 1 1/4" (32mm) tires and these worked. You will find that wider tubeless tires are most comfortable. These roads have fewer cars. Hopefully they don't have blindspots. Stay safe. Be alert.
I love my riding days and look to find interesting and informative items to share.
Pacific Coast Highway