Essential tips for riding a bike safely in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Essential tips for riding a bike safely in Aspen

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Know the rules of the road in this bicycle-friendly town

By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by the Aspen Police Department

In a town as small as Aspen, it's essential that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists work together on the roads and trails to ensure everyone's safety.

Summertime road-trippers experiencing Independence Pass put a great deal of stress on Aspen's roads and parking capacity each year. That's why riding a bike through town is one of the best — and often quickest — modes of transportation.

"Riding a bike in Aspen is a fabulous way to experience the city," said Aspen Police Sgt. Rick Magnuson. "You can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells more easily on a bike. Plus, free parking!"
Thanks to Aspen's many bike lanes and sharrows, which are marked shared lanes, cyclists can ride around safely amongst the cars. And with many miles of dedicated trails and paths, cyclists can often get around without using many public roadways at all.
Magnuson points to some added bonuses of cycling, too: It's great for releasing exercise-induced endorphins, plus it's great for the environment by reducing Aspen's carbon footprint.

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Rules of the road
Sharing the roadways with cyclists is a common way of life in Colorado, but if you break some commonly known rules as a cyclists, you risk putting yourself in greater danger. Magnuson said some of the most common laws that cyclists break in Aspen are not stopping at lights and stop signs, riding on sidewalks or pedestrian malls, riding that causes an obstruction to traffic and not using proper lighting at night.
For Highway 82 and side streets that intersect it, cyclists must stop at all stop signs, but stop signs away from Highway 82 are exempt. Cyclists must slow down as they approach all other stop signs, though, and they must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, cars and other cyclists if any are present. This law is commonly known as Stop as Yield – it does not give cyclist the right to ignore stop signs!

Elected officials are in the process of creating a cohesive plan for electric bikes on city and county trails. For more information about the latest updates, visit http://www.ebikesroaringforkvalley.com. For the state of Colorado's bicycle laws, visit colobikelaw.com.

Here’s the local knowledge you need in order to safely ride your bike around Aspen this year.

Riding a bike in Aspen? Do these things:
● Use hand signals.
● Ride as if you were driving a car — cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles.
● Announce when passing on trails, such as “passing,” or, “on your left.”
● Make eye contact with drivers.
● Use proper lighting at night.

Don’t do these things:
● Don’t ride against traffic.
● Don’t ride on sidewalks or the pedestrian malls.
● Don’t ride in groups or side-by-side and obstruct traffic.

Getting through town
Aspen has designated thoroughfares for cyclists in Aspen. If you’re looking to ride your bike around town, here are some helpful tips for how to navigate around without endangering yourself or others.

1. Hopkins Bike/Ped Way
The most widely used bicycle way in Aspen is called the Hopkins Bike & Pedestrian Way. It picks up at the Marlot Open Space bridge and connects to the downtown core area at Paepcke Park. The Bike/Ped Way is a street roadway that motorists are to travel only one block at a time in this area. This runs in an east/west direction.

2. Sharrows
The City places sharrows, or shared lane markings, that inform motorists to expect cyclists to be in the travel lane. Sharrows are located:
● Along the entire length of East and West Hopkins.
● Along East Durant Avenue from South Garmisch to S. Original Street (east/west direction)
● Along West Hallam Street from North 7th Street to North Aspen Street. This would be the second most used in town street beside the Hopkins Bike/Ped Way, also in an east/west direction.
● Along Rio Grande Place from Spring Street to North Mill Street
● Neale Avenue, from Main Street to King Street.

3. Bike Lanes
● Along North Mill Street from Main Street to Puppy Smith, this bike lane area has recently added a bicycle box for southbound bicyclists at the traffic light.
● South Aspen Street – From East Durant Avenue to Main Street
● South Original Street – East Cooper Avenue to Neale Avenue

— Justin Forman, City of Aspen Engineering Department.

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