Motorists, cyclists need to employ good logic |

Motorists, cyclists need to employ good logic

The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Cooler heads need to prevail in the debate that broke out this month regarding bicycles and vehicles sharing the roads.

The letter to the editor that sparked the debate was from a writer who relishes getting a rise out of people, if history is any guide. He essentially warned cyclists to stay out of his way and chided them for straying off the bicycle trails in the area.

Indignant cyclists probably took this guy a little too seriously and responded in ways that fed into his desires.

As we see it, there is room for improvement in the behavior of both cyclists and motorists out on the roads. It is ridiculous to expect road bikers to stick to the Rio Grande Trail and the handful of other trail options all the time: There isn’t enough diversity. It would be like skiing Spar Gulch all the time. Besides, bikes have a legal right to use the roads.

When vehicles are going the speed limit on our side roads, bike encounters shouldn’t be a huge issue. Too many drivers get steamed when anything impedes their ability to go 20 mph over the speed limit. Routes like Fryingpan Road, Castle Creek Road and Upper and Lower River roads weren’t built for excessive speeds. Go the speed limit, slow down if you have to when you encounter cyclists and pass them when it is safe. It’s that simple.

That said, we empathize with motorists’ frustration with cyclists who insist on riding two or more abreast even when they know traffic is approaching from behind. Many cyclists want to chat with their riding partners. We get it. But there is a time and place for it.

Maroon Creek Road is friendlier than most routes for riding alongside one another because traffic is limited, but riders still need to stay alert for buses and occasional vehicles. On other routes, some cyclists could use an extra dose of common sense. Too many times this summer we have noticed cyclists riding two or more abreast on lower Fryingpan Road at inopportune times.

They aren’t doing any cyclists a PR favor by riding along and chatting on a weekend morning when a steady stream of boat traffic is headed up to Ruedi Reservoir. Motorists have a right to be peeved in cases when cyclists insist on staying two or more abreast.

It is imperative that cyclists remain aware of traffic approaching from the rear and switching into single file as quickly as possible, or just riding single file all the time. There is plenty of time to chat after the ride is over.

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