Maroon Creek Road issues about behaving better
The most scary thing I have seen on my bike rides to and from the Bells are … the buses — closely followed by clueless wildlife.
Like many, I often enjoy a quick descent. A number of times I have found myself playing leapfrog with a bus. To be totally honest, I sometimes descend a bit above the speed limit and while speeding have been passed by a bus. This is terrifying, as a RFTA bus floors it to hit 40-plus mph on Maroon Creek road to pass. Then if I am really unlucky they stop to let off passengers before Highlands, and we get to play the game a second time or third time.
Not to be outdone, buses climbing the road often ignore descending bikers. Wanna add some gray hairs to your head, come out of a turn to find a bus charging up the hill passing some bikes and realize you are a couple of feet away from a head-on collision.
If you are wondering if I ever alerted RFTA to some of these exciting moments, ya betcha. Did I ever hear anything? Nope.
The buses aren’t really the point, though, it’s the old saw “the road to hell (or the Bells) is paved with good intentions.” Fees, limits, education all are an effort to do something when there really is no answer (good or bad). Aspen is popular, the Bells are popular, the Bells are part of the National Park Service — this means there is gonna be lots of traffic to the Bells, and some cars, bikers, buses will behave poorly. There will be bad accidents. Accept it and move on.
If pressed to propose a solution, maybe we could all take a chill pill. Buses could really limit their passing, cyclists like myself could pull to the side and give a bus a three-minute head start, cars and buses could use their horns to encourage single-file riding and only pass when it’s all clear. That is how it should be now. We all know how to behave better, we just don’t. Or I guess you can try to legislate good behavior, but if the bus drivers with their specific education requirements sometimes drive dangerously, do you really think a bike etiquette class or nominal fee will make Maroon Creek Road safer?