Cyclists at risk riding Aspen streets and trails

Heartbreaking, but not surprising, to read about the safety concerns of our seniors (Debbie Overender, Aspen Daily News, May 19). “Today I had lunch at the Pitkin County Senior Center. I was dismayed to hear that many seniors are afraid of walking on our bike trails for fear of being knocked down or falling as they jump out of the way of cyclists speeding by them. Some seniors have totally stopped walking on our trails because of the danger.” 

As a 40-year Aspenite, the past 26 years as a cycling instructor, I notice safety issues daily. Rio Grande Trail and Maroon Creek Road in particular have become crowded and dangerous. Solutions include boosting education and a dramatic increase in enforcement. Many folks know what to do but simply don’t do it. Solutions on the ground have been challenging. Enforcement agencies are short staffed. 

We’ve already seen a little girl killed downtown and a man hit and run while crossing Main Street. 

Speeding motorists put everyone at the greatest risk. I witness this almost daily in and around town. Speeders often run stop signs and blast through crosswalks.

Inattentive motorists create risks for all. I just returned from a challenging mountain bike ride. The steeps, rocks and roots didn’t bother me. It was surviving near head-on collisions at the beginning and end of my ride as motorists cross into my lane. 

Every time I ride our “protected” ped/bikeways on Hallam and Hopkins, I dodge entitled private and commercial vehicles driving several blocks putting walkers and cyclists at clear risk.

Off-leash dogs are commonplace. I almost ran over several dogs on the upper Rio Grande this week. Owners seem to feel entitled to ignore leash laws and apparently care little about their best friend’s safety. 

Erik Skarvan