October 26, 2007
Aspen, CO ColoradoTravel etiquette, be it on the highway or on the bike trail, captured the attention of online readers of The Aspen Times last week, Letters to the editor on both topics generated plenty of online comment.HOV insanityRegarding the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Highway 82 between Basalt and Buttermilk, there was this:The HOV lane doesnt work because it doesnt make any sense. It doesnt seem to be helping anyone downvalley from Buttermilk.Perhaps trucks (like the dump trucks) should be restricted to the right lane only? Most of the reasoning behind people using the HOV lane (albeit illegally) is because theyre stuck behind dump trucks and heavy equipment vehicles that can barely get up to 20 miles per hour – but those trucks must use the left lane. Its insanity.Im sorry. Ive lived here for 4 months and cannot at all see the reasoning behind the HOV lane – even if everyone did obey the HOV restrictions…Im not sure anything would be any better.There was also this:My personal favorite: I hate being in the slow/left lane around Shale Bluffs and thru Snowmass Canyon. I WANT to go the speed limit in those places…especially when the road is slick. And I want to have space between myself and other vehicles. Instead, I am constantly forced into a pack of impatient tailgaters wanting to go 65mph.I am much more comfortable in the right/fast/incorrect lane letting those people pass me and skid merrily on their way. Watch the pileups again this winter; someone should set up one of those sports betting sheets!And this:I dont think half of the slow idiots in the left lane even realize that the HOV laws only apply for 3 hours a day and only on ONE side of the highway. Plus, theyre so afraid of getting a ticket for being in the right lane (because they don’t know when they should & shouldnt be there) that they just say better safe than sorry and continue to plug up the left lane.Why do the HOV laws exist? Why is it Im breaking the law when I have to pass a huge dumptruck on the right because hes only going 35 miles per hour? Why cant we just drive like the rest of the country…pass on left, drive in right?Its unnecessary insanity in an already whacky valley.Said another:Scrap the crap is right. Its not working.Cant we just follow the rules of the rest of the driving world….please?? Pretty please??And finally,Well I say keep the complaining up about the unnecessary and ineffective HOV lane restrictions…you never know, we may get somewhere.Ding, dingon your leftAn Oct. 26 letter to the editor urging the use of bells by bicyclists approaching pedestrians on the Rio Grande Trail (just one of several letters on the topic of conflicts on the trail), prompted this online response:Bells are useless for pedestrians to hear when they are listening to an I-pod.Then came this reply:Anybody who wears an I-pod — and cranks the volume so loud that hes effectively eliminated sensory input from the outside world — deserves whatever fate befalls him.These people should have bullseyes painted on their backs.Another letter in the bikes vs. pedestrian debate elicited this observation:Pedestrians are far less thoughtful of their obligation to be considerate than cyclists are: Often theyre chasing after unleashed dogs, completely oblivious to their surroundings, and completely unconcerned about policing-up their pets crap.It doesnt matter which side of the path a pedestrian walks on, because bike traffic approaches from both the north and south: Whichever direction a pedestrian travels — and whichever side of the path he chooses — he just needs to be aware that hes sharing the facility with other people.Another reader offered this, in part:If there have been instances of cyclists running over pedestrians, they havent been widely publicized. The reverse is true, however; there are plenty of instances of cyclists whove been derailed by unleashed pets, walkers with baby-strollers advancing two-abreast, and joggers who obdurately refuse to observe the rules of the road.There are plenty of jerks in tights who think theyre Lance Armstrong gutting out the last 30 seconds of a time-trial, but the examples of inconsiderate behavior are definitely NOT LIMITED to cyclists. Readers may comment on any article at aspentimes.com by clicking on Comments at the top of the article. Comments reprinted here appear as they were posted, without editing or correction.