Serious mountain bikers should consider hikers | AspenTimes.com

Serious mountain bikers should consider hikers

Dear Editor:

In his column last week about the rules of the road for multi-use trails, Roger Marolt stressed that hikers should defer to serious mountain bikers like him. He closed his column by saying: “Every time out, we have one eye on the stop watch and the other on the heart monitor so chances are good that we don’t even notice you (the hiker) …”

I have been totally deaf for 40 years, and simply don’t hear anything coming from behind. In the mid-1990s, I started a left turn on Main Street at the same time a 20-ton fire truck started to go around my left. In 1973, I was leading a group that included Howie Mallory down a fall line gully on Pyramid Peak when someone knocked off a wheel-sized rock. In both cases, I escaped death by a whisker.

I’ve nearly been gored from behind twice by bike handlebars on the Smuggler Mountain Road below the platform. As anyone can see, the relatively smooth path frequently shifts unpredictably from one side of the gravel road to the other, so that the both hikers and bikers are constantly changing lanes. In addition, people lurch from side to side as they step around loose rocks. On the Smuggler Mountain Road, I wear a ski racer’s bib given to me by Doug Driskell, the ski patrolman, on which I’ve spelled out DEAF in electrical tape.

Many people listen to music or are deep into conversation or daydreaming coming down a road or trail. Serious downhill bikers should consider that many hikers may not react to their shouted warnings in time.

David Bentley

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