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Change the HOV laws

Dear Editor:

I was a visitor to Aspen/Snowmass for 10 years and for the past seven years I have lived and practiced dermatology in Basalt. I have never understood our HOV policy and I believe we need to change this policy immediately. In every locale in this country, slow traffic stays to the right and passing takes place on the left. All drivers are taught this in driving school. It is a question that is asked on every driving test and every driver’s renewal exam. Yet, here in the Roaring Fork valley, we operate in a way that is counterintuitive to what is taught and enforced in all other areas of the United States. We invite visitors to our valley and expect them to understand the concept that we enforce slower traffic in the left lane and faster traffic in the left lane during the busiest travel hours. Pass on the right and slow traffic stay to the left. How crazy is that?

I have asked police officers, on several occasions, why we have this policy. They really don’t have a good answer, but the RFTA bus system is always part of their answer. As hard as this may be to fathom, there are buses in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and yet, they still keep passing lanes to the left and slower traffic to the right.

I went for a motorcycle ride on Friday afternoon. I was heading southeast on 82. It was 4:30 p.m. and I know the rules so I was going 55 mph in the left lane. A car with California license plates was close on my tail flashing her headlights. In any other part of the country, I would simply move over to the right lane and allow her to pass. But, the cars were going so fast in the right lane that I could not move over, nor did I choose to go over 55 mph. It was dangerous and uncomfortable for me and it was that incident that finally encouraged me to write this letter.

Our HOV policy is dangerous, ridiculous and not understood by visitors or welcomed by locals. It is time to change our HOV policy. It will decrease road rage, be more easily enforced by our police officers and will be consistent with the rules that are enforced in areas where our visitors come from. We will no longer have to explain to the police that the reason that we were in the right lane is that we were getting ready to make that right turn. What a lame excuse that is. Please change this policy now! Do it for the elsewhere educated and for me.

Jay Gottlieb

Basalt


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