Helen Bergman: Bad bike route
June 19, 2011
Steamboat Springs — To the people who organize bicycle tours through Steamboat: Why in the world do you bring 2,000 bicyclists into and out of town on River Road instead of U.S. Highway 40?
The lanes on River Road are not standard width; instead they are somewhat narrower. There is no shoulder on River Road. Add to that the fact that there are many blind curves and now, due to recent mud/rock slides, serious road damage. U.S. 40 has wide shoulders, standard lane widths, and is four lanes wide as it approaches town.
Is it because U.S. 40 has stoplights and bicyclists might be obligated to stop for a light whereas they blow through the stop signs on River Road?
I live in the Brooklyn addition on River Road. On Tuesday, I tried to just go on about my business as 2,000 bicyclists streamed past my house. A part of my business on Tuesday was to back my camper into my driveway. After waiting at least 35 minutes for a break in the bike traffic, I began to position the camper. Unfortunately, I'm not good enough to make it in one fell swoop and it required me to pull forward, momentarily blocking one lane of River Road. I observed that the break in the bike traffic was over and stopped where I was. A car would have allowed me the courtesy of finishing my maneuver. A bicyclist — no way.
Instead I had a female bicyclist cuss me out for blocking her path. I politely told her she could use the opposite lane to go around in front of my truck as motorized vehicles would do. She did take my suggestion after a few more unprintable words. I'd like to point out that she, as well as all the other bicyclists I saw Tuesday, failed to stop at the stop sign just south of my house, which had she and the others done, would have given me the time I needed to complete my maneuver. I thought bicyclists were subject to the same rules as motorists. Do you, the organizers and application approvers, exempt them?
Again, why do you put 2,000 people in harm's way by routing them down River Road? Do you intentionally want to create animosity between motorists and bicyclists? No matter what you think when you are setting up these routes, bear in mind that while on this tour, the bicyclists exhibit an attitude that they own the road on which they are riding. They will and do travel two and three abreast, making it a challenge for a motorist to safely pass them. The motorist gets frustrated following the slow-moving cyclists. I don't need to belabor what the end results can be.
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The bicyclists will and do blow through stop signs. That's irritating for those of us trying to pull in and out of our driveways. I don't think the bicyclists riding the tour would tolerate this kind of traffic if it were in their neighborhood. Why do the Brooklyn residents have to? You, Mr. and Ms. Organizer and Application Approver, have a safer, less obtrusive alternative. Why don't you use it?
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