Motorists lack courtesy toward cyclists
August 1, 2012
I see in the local papers that Aspen is actually considering putting in bike lanes! Most civilized cities have them already, and in Europe they are abundant, but Aspen is trying to be considered a “bike friendly” city, so maybe it needs to get on that. However, some things always bear repeating:
1. The fact that the bike path from the Aspen Club to Difficult Campground is not paved keeps road cyclists on the road. Therefore, please don’t honk at us, as though we were morons, when we are riding on the road, single file and as far to the right as humanly possible. Now I know there are bike riders who continue to ride two and three abreast on busy roads, and these people just give other cyclists a bad name.
2. Some cars don’t like cyclists on the road when there is an obvious paved bike path available. I would like to explain why some of us prefer to ride on the road rather than on the bike paths. First of all, as a good friend of mine points out, “bike” paths are really multi-use paths, which means they have walkers, children, loose dogs, runners, roller skaters, etc., on them. Plus, the paths are often curvy and narrow with decreased or no visibility in spots, and some are steeper than the actual road (see the Owl Creek path toward Snowmass and the Woody Creek path to the Intercept Lot). Serious road cyclists prefer being on a straighter road where they can go fast and see far ahead. Thus, the roads are often shared with cars.
3. If you are in a vehicle passing a bike, please move over to the left as far as possible (most people do this already). If it’s not safe to pass, then wait a few minutes. The bikes know you are there and want you to pass them safely.
4. Most important, please do not honk at us, as this startles us and could cause an unnecessary accident. We know you are there, so no need to honk.
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And to the driver of the brand-new, white Range Rover without license plates who almost drove us off the road today in front of the Aspen Club by honking endlessly while we were riding single file and on the right side: We hope you enjoy your stay in Aspen. We know where you’re staying, so please feel fortunate that we are nice people who won’t take revenge on your vehicle, and please try to be a bit nicer to those of us who choose a smaller carbon footprint.