Updated March 24, 2009 at 4:54 p.m.
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Editor's note: This story has been corrected from its original version. Motorist Kathy Whaley was cited for careless driving resulting in injury for her role in the accident that sent cyclist Wayne Ranieri to the hospital.
As winter gives way to spring, the Routt County Riders bicycle club is urging motorists and cyclists to be mindful of one another. At least two cyclists already have been injured this year in accidents involving vehicles.
Wayne Ranieri, an agent at Steamboat Village Brokers and married father of four, was listed in fair condition at Yampa Valley Medical Center on Monday after being hit while cycling near Lake Catamount on Thursday. Routt County Sheriff's Office records indicate that Kathy Whaley was cited for careless driving resulting in injury for her role in the accident. A phone message left for Whaley was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Wayne Ranieri's wife, Julie, said her husband underwent surgery Friday and has spinal surgery scheduled for Wednesday.
"We don't know how he's going to be," Julie Ranieri said, "so we're just asking for everybody's prayers."
On March 3, a truck struck Partners in Routt County Executive Director Libby Foster on Routt County Road 33. Foster said she suffered minor road rash and a mild concussion and continues to ride her bicycle. Brody Richard Jones was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, hit-and-run causing injury, careless driving causing injury and driving without a license. He was released from Routt County Jail on $750 bond and is awaiting trial.
"I was just extremely fortunate," Foster said, "but it was definitely a good fright."
C.R. 33 is one of six roads popular with cyclists that Routt County Riders is urging caution on, especially in the early spring before mountain trails dry up and absorb some recreational bicycle traffic off of roads. The others are River Road, which becomes C.R. 14 south of Steamboat Springs; C.R. 129 to Clark, Steamboat Lake and Columbine, U.S. Highway 40 on both ends of the city; Colorado Highway 131 to Yampa; and C.R. 14 over Yellow Jacket Pass to Stagecoach Reservoir and Oak Creek.
Accidents and other conflicts between bicycle riders and motorists have been on the rise in Routt County in recent years.
"We need to remind motorists that bicycles should be treated as slow-moving vehicles," local cyclist Barkley Robinson said in a news release. "That is especially important when passing or making right turns near bicyclists. On the same hand, bicyclists need to obey all the rules of the road that apply to vehicles. Always use hand signals for turning, stop at stop signs and stay as far right as possible."
Foster said her recent scare has made her a more conservative cyclist and that she now can't help but hold her breath every time she sees a black truck on the road.
"Just give us some room," Foster advised motorists. "We'll do our best to stick to the shoulders."