I ride a very busy road with a 3ft shoulder. It has lots of students going to high school and lots of trucks going through an industrial park. Its not a very pretty ride, but I feel fairly safe since I have a shoulder.
I am a 45 yr old happily married female. I am from Minnesota and used to ride a lot up there, but since moving to Florida 15 years ago I have only recently in the last few years started commuting by bike.