Jason Patrick: Share the road

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Many years ago, advocacy groups from across the country started a campaign to ask all of us to be respectful and safe around bicyclists on the highway. We know the slogan, we see the signs and we are preached to repeatedly by our bicycling friends about being sensible and patient while passing bicyclists. I admittedly am one of those people who get somewhat annoyed by bicyclists riding side by side, but I understand the attraction of our county roads, and I understand why bikes tend to gather on Routt County Road 14, so I stay respectful and safe while grumbling to myself.  

However, this year I repeatedly am finding that although many cyclists demand motorists share the road, they refuse to give the same courtesy. In the past two weeks, we have received the cattle that we run on pastures on both sides of C.R. 14 for the summer. We slowly are moving the cattle to the pastures that they will live on until fall. On four separate occasions, we have moved a set of cattle down C.R. 14. None of these drives have measured more than one mile, and we have been sensitive to try to schedule the moves during slower traffic times.  

On three of our four cattle drives this year, we have come across different bicyclists who just flatly refused to sit quietly while we tried to drive the cows past them. On one occasion, we were told among a flurry of obscenities that we were wasting this particular bicyclist’s day off, so he refused to stop and proceeded to stampede 120 head of yearling cattle over the top of us and through a fence.

All that we ask is that when encountering a cattle drive, bicyclists stay quiet and patient and allow us to softly drift the cattle past them. It might take a couple of minutes, but it will keep the cattle and cattlemen much safer. Much like bicyclists ask all drivers to stay quiet, patient and wait for a safe place to pass — which sometimes takes a couple of minutes but keeps everybody safer — we ask the same. Basically, I challenge all cyclists to give the same respect and courtesy that they demand and, to put it in your own words, share the road.

Jason Patrick

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Tracy DelliQuadri 2 years, 6 months ago

I no longer take the small children I care for daily on walks up Spring Creek, because we almost got run over by a mountain bike last year. The biker did not slow down, did not alert us that is was approaching (far too quickly) and came within inches of my large stroller. At that moment all four two year olds were out of the stroller enjoying the aspens along the trail above the first bridge. There was another three year old on a strider bike. If any of them had misstepped in that instance of being passed by the speeding bicyclist, they would have been severly injured or worse. My children learn to dive to the edge of any trail we happen to be on if I alert them to the approach of a bicycle. A lot of bicyclists slow down and allow small children to get out of the way. Many more don't, and it is very dangerous.

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Ulrich Salzgeber 2 years, 6 months ago

I wrote a letter to the Editor last fall offering to sit on a committee or task force to try and come up with a rules and etiquette of the road for both drivers and bikers. I received a lot of response but not one from any of the biking groups around Steamboat. We need to get a handle on this situation before it becomes more confrontational. Respect needs to be mutual and all rules and laws of the road need to be respected. If we required all bicycles to be registered and licensed than Jason could have obtained a number to report to the police and perhaps received compensation for the damage.

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Joe Solomon 2 years, 6 months ago

Much like with drivers and people alike, there are a good percentage of riders that obey all of the rules and are incredibly courteous while on public roads and trails. And much like them all, there is a small percentage who just don't seem to care at all - making us all look bad. I've been in many a big group ride where everyone stops at signs, gives a little to let cars get by and seems to flow with traffic and pedestrians alike - and I've had to occasional riding partner that seemed ready to fight a motorist the first chance they got. I will say - in their defense - that it typically stems from a bad encounter they've had a some point. I was coming back from a ride last week and crossing 3rd onto Fish Creek, took the stop sign and waited my turn, and a gentleman in a large truck decided that I needed to skip my turn and give me the middle finger to boot. So yea, I've had some angry days too as I am sure some drivers had towards a rude cyclist.

I have to agree with Tracy too as I've dodged downhillers as I've climbed Spring Creek (multi-use trails will always be a tough compromise, especially when little ones are involved) , and even was literally brushed up against last week while walking with my kids on the Core Trail (and to the guy that rides the Core Trail every day with your red kit, earphones on, head down, riding up on you like a bat out of hell and not saying a word until we jump out of our shoes -take it to the road please before someone or yourself gets hurt).

And this does seem to be an issue that the riding groups here recognize and take seriously. I think the notion of "registering and licensing" cyclists is reaching, and while it is an understandable reaction to the current climate, we should probably focus our efforts elsewhere as this will never truly happen.

Perhaps this is an issue that can be addressed at our big bike summit, and offer the community a chance to participate and work together with our cycling groups to come up with a viable path towards mutual understanding and respect. And if you guys think our situation here is a bad one, then I invite you to one of our group rides back in our original hometown of Atlanta - this place will seem like nirvana to you!

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Robin Craigen 2 years, 6 months ago

Jason, there is no excuse for the behaviors that you described. I imagine that there are as many cyclists who were disgusted and disappointed to hear of this story as there are other road users.

The challenge, as Joe points out above, is that there are a few "bad apples in the barrel" who are raising the level of tension in the community - and that applies to drivers and riders alike. Once you have seen one flagrant disrespect of the rules you start to judge others, especially if the incident involved a level of confrontation.

I am personally at the point where I hope that the local Police Dept and Sheriff's office can raise their level of enforcement - reducing speed of drivers on County Roads, and chasing down cyclists who run red lights and stop signs and weave through town as if no vehicle rules apply to them. The 90% who follow the rules won't even notice, but the errant 10% need to change their ways.

Rules need to be enforced.

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Joe Solomon 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom - it's not a matter of fair or not. It's a matter of a realistic expectation, and while one can argue that it may or may not solve some perceived issues, it just won't happen and we should focus on attainable solutions.

Not even bringing in the issue of more government regulation (which I am sure can offer up its own thread), there are too many variables. Do I need to license all of my children and their strider bikes? How will you pay overworked law enforcement officers to now monitor and ticket cyclists? Is someone going to police the millions of off-road trails for rule breakers? If cyclists, then we can argue for rollerblades and skateboards? Ocean kayaks sometimes get in the way of licensed motor boat drivers, so can we lump them in?

So while I welcome the suggestion and a desire to fix things, I truly believe that efforts can be better spent on attainable results like one-way trails, dedicated lanes to keep cyclists and motorists "apart," and enforcement of cyclists that do break the rules on the road. And there is no issue around "fair" as you put it, but only one of safety.

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bill schurman 2 years, 6 months ago

Jason,

Right on. I would add that one of these days a bicyclist will be hurt or killed at night when they ride without ANY lighting and generally wear dark clothing.

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Joe Solomon 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom - looks like we will agree to disagree on this one! And for the record - if I come across x tons of cows trying to go past me, you can be sure that I will be taking a nice break while they pass. Just seems like the smart thing to do :)

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Robin Craigen 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom, all I can say is keep calling the cyclists in to the Police. The Police respond to complaints - if we don't complain they have nothing to go on. That is the case with any kind of infraction that they are not witness to.

As for the means to identify them, you might be surprised at how distinctly you can identify the luridly dressed cyclists you are seeing. They are often very individual in their style. Simple colors and descriptions could go a long way to finding them. Sadly I do not think you will find peace in a licensing system.

At a level that will be palatable to a nation of cyclists that have never been licensed the economics just don't add up and are not believed by many to provide the solutions that you are asking for (http://bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/2011/07/29/license-to-ride-2/).

Through Routt County Riders we will continue to work on education of all road users so that better sharing of roads and adherence to traffic laws happens.

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john bailey 2 years, 6 months ago

mornin tom, before i join your group, i need to know what a posy is? and could the tuesday group ride please go single file on the twistys on yellow jacket. i''ll share the road, but come on people think! gona be a long, hot, dry summer

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Robin Craigen 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom, cut back on the caffeine...

FYI you don't have to "for-warn" me about anything. If you read my previous posts you will see that my point is that we need more enforcement to get cyclists to ride by the rules. (we agree, so stop "yelling")

IMHO license plates for bikes is not a magical solution. The problem is a few riders (and other road users) who think the rules do not apply to them. I understand that registering riders is your solution, but I respectfully disagree.

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Joe Solomon 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom - you've basically taken a civilized argument and just turned it into a frenzied call to hunt down cyclists. It continues to amaze me that, while Robin agrees with you on a few points and is working towards essentially the same goal, you continue to act like you have been wronged on a colossal scale and are now seeking some type of frontier justice. The more you write, the more it seems as if law enforcement needs to monitor you and not the few cyclists that you continue to reference.

You obviously have people that agree with you, so until you show up at a meeting, draft some legislation to your points above, solicit your local and state representatives, or ask for a special session at the Bike Summit to discuss this topic and come up with a solution (all actions that our local groups take), you are just another guy who tries to get his point across with all caps, lots of quotes and a frenzied tone. I'm just going to drop off this thread and let you rile up folks on your own.

@John - yes, they should all be single file at all times, especially on group rides and winding roads. RCR can help enforce that rule, and you should call this in if this continues to be a problem (it is a danger to both cyclists and cars).

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Cory Prager 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey Tom as we speak I am training a black bear to ride a unicycle through stop signs and will be recorded by a Sandhill crane with a go pro attached to him. Feel free to call the cops I ride a bright green bike I am 5ft 2 and have tattoos of monkeys an parrots. Glad to see your making so many friends on the Internet it's really cool you know how to use it.

Love coco

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john bailey 2 years, 6 months ago

well i'll be a monkeys uncle. cory you are talented . so you were the one riding the fog line on 131 yesterday,tempting fate,huh? why don't you use the shoulder properly, move over man. come you guys it ain't that hard. lovely day today, by the way. tom, whats with all the " " " "?LOL

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Cory Prager 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey John the only bike I own for the road has a big motor. I am not a road cyclist spandex makes me look fat.

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Cory Prager 2 years, 6 months ago

Glad you liked it Tom! I could not help myself .have a good day on the forums

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