Follow the rules
July 28, 2010
As an avid amateur cyclist and professional driver, I would like to thank David Francis for his letter in the July 26 edition of the Aspen Daily News. He related an experience with some (probably) wanna-be pro bike racers running stop signs and hazardously disrupting traffic. Ever since the Lance Armstrong phenomenon in the last 10 years, I’ve noticed an increase in this type of behavior, which makes many drivers loathe all cyclists. I refer to the revered Armstrong, as he has inspired a whole new interest in our sport.
Newbies to the sport often don’t recognize that we cyclists have to obey the same rules as, and are indeed part of, vehicular traffic. This makes us all look like wealthy, spandex-wearing, arrogant elitists. Thus, I have noticed in my own riding experiences, an increase in “redneck rage,” a dangerous game in which the object is to mess with a cyclist.
My too-common anecdote took place on a beautiful Saturday this past May. It was a glorious day for a bike ride. It was also a glorious day for a wedding. I was working for a local limousine service, Smiddy Limo, and we were transporting the wedding party up to the Bells for the ceremony. There were probably as many riders heading up there as I have ever seen.
While most solo riders (probably more experienced) held tight to the right side of the road, not one single group of 2-3-4 abreast tightened up to single file. Even with a full fleet of 10 limos passing them, no one saw fit to “share the road.” We are all courteous drivers, aware that Colorado law mandates 3 feet of space while passing cyclists. This put all of us completely in the other lane, where we caused a hazardous situation for those descending (fortunately, no oncoming vehicular traffic was involved).
These riders think they are in the peleton at the Tour de France or something. I have seen this selfish attitude on the pass, up Castle Creek Road, on the Wasatch Parkway, and just about everywhere cycling is popular. And usually these guys are slow, too, so a driver has to slow way down to wait for a moment to get around the peleton. Then the geeks sit around at the coffee shop, still in their clammy chamois, and wonder why the not-so-courteous drivers mess with them.
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Go try riding three abreast on the stretch of Highway 6 between Gypsum and Eagle, and you are likely to have a dump truck up your ass, a horsetrailer swerve into your front wheel, a bitchin’ Camaro burn rubber in your left ear, or all of the above in one day! Believe me, I have had all three, and I was riding solo. Maybe it was the spandex I was wearing!
Share the road goes both ways … prevent redneck rage!
Chris “Dogger” Anderson