Our View: Watch where you step off the curb


Steamboat Today editorial board — June to December 2013

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • David Baldinger Jr., community representative
  • Lisa Brown, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

State and local law enforcement agencies, and in particular the Steamboat Springs Police Department and its community service officers, did an admirable job managing traffic during two days of the USA Pro Challenge this week. We commend them for that, but it makes all the more puzzling the department’s approach to enforcing jaywalking laws at intersections on Lincoln Avenue this month.

We agree with Steamboat police Chief Joel Rae’s decision that in the interest of public safety, his department needs to deter people from crossing at the uncontrolled Lincoln Avenue intersections with Sixth and 10th streets. However, we’re concerned about the approach taken thus far, which has involved community service officers writing warnings for people on their way to the Mainstreet Farmers Market.

The officers, who were asking for IDs and handing out written warnings on the north side of Sixth and Lincoln at the Farmers Market, just as easily could have been standing on the opposite side of the street, greeting those same people and directing them to cross at Fifth or Seventh streets.

The problem with crossing Lincoln Avenue on foot at uncontrolled intersections is the heavy back-and-forth commuter traffic mixed with heavy trucks that have longer stopping distances. After all, it is U.S. Highway 40. But if the goal of the Steamboat Springs Police Department is to guard the safety of pedestrians, why were the community service officers directed to wait for pedestrians to cross the busy street before interacting with them?

The officers have a difficult job, and sometimes displeasing the public goes with the territory. We get that. The community service officers typically have shown the tact and judgment that reflects an understanding that they are working in a resort community. Their use of discretion is evident at free concerts throughout the summer, for example.

And we would be remiss if we failed to point out that the city has made significant progress a block away from Lincoln on Oak Street, where there now are bike lanes and painted crosswalks with fluorescent signs calling for motorists to yield to pedestrians.

However, we have observed that when the city has installed a new stop sign in the past, it has undertaken a teaching process with motorists, sometimes placing bright flags on the new stop sign and giving drivers the chance to get acclimated to the new sign. Perhaps stenciling “No pedestrian crossing” near the curb at the two uncontrolled intersections would be a way to help remind pedestrians of the constraints at Sixth and 10th streets.

We support the enforcement of jaywalking on Lincoln Avenue but urge a more patient approach to educating residents and visitors to the change.


Michelle Hale 3 years, 8 months ago

Lets add some Colorado Law for those who ride bikes. note


Riding on the right doesn’t mean hugging the curb or edge of the road. It means riding as far right as practicable and still being safe from debris, obstacles and traffic.

When to take a lane A bicyclist may take the travel lane where traffic is slow and the lane is narrow, there is no shoulder or bike lane, when approaching an intersection, or if you are moving at the same speed as the flow of traffic. Moving to the center of the lane establishes your position and prevents motorists from passing until there’s enough room.

Ride Single File Play it safe and ride single file. This provides more room to maneuver and allows other bicyclists and motorists to pass. However, you may ride two abreast if you’re not impeding the normal flow of traffic; or when you’re riding on a facility exclusive to bicycles.

This is not my view, this is from CDOT. Not was we observe in this county but LAW anyway.

Michelle E. Hale


Michael Bird 3 years, 8 months ago

Michelle, I applaud your above comment. Information leading to more safety is very mportant but I didn't realize that any bicyclists used our streets since so many are on our City sidewalks riding past the "no bicycles riding on sidewalks " signs, intentionally disregarding City law, and endangering the public especially the very young and old.


David Moore 3 years, 8 months ago

Add to the above comment the Gondola square area, where it clearly states in several places to walk your bike. I was almost hit today, Sunday, by some self righteous twit cruising swiftly through people within the square. I was distracted and should of been paying attention because I know in my own head few follow the rules anymore, but, I was not and turned around to find myself within inches of being taken out. I am a mountain biker and I do ride the mountain a lot, however I walk my bike in the square, just like I am supposed to. When in town, I use the core trail, like you are supposed to and which I thought was designed to keep bikes off the streets. I think some just either have a death wish or severe entitlement syndrome, my guess is the latter.


jerry carlton 3 years, 8 months ago

Sunday morning I pulled up behind two bicyclists at corner of third and Lincoln waiting to turn left onto Lincoln. I was in center lane and another vehicle was in left lane. Just as I stopped, the bicyclists decided they had waited long enough and made their turn onto Lincoln. The other vehicle and I waited another 30 seconds for the green light. I am thinking about running for city council based on a platform of banning bicycles and dogs from inside Steamboats city limits. "No more poop on our shoes and no more bicycles on our sidewalks!" will be my campaign slogan. Rhys, will you be my canpaign manager?


rhys jones 3 years, 8 months ago

Jerry -- You have opened up a hornet's nest, and me with nothing else on my schedule today except a haircut -- some people get a hairdo, while I get a hair-don't -- every day is a bad hair day, for some of us -- one of my many crosses to bear -- and I digress...

I would happily go along with the dog ban, and not because of the poop, but the noise pollution. You should hear this neighborhood at 5 AM. By 7 it's settled back down to just construction noise. The next-door neighbor complains to the cops about our woof-dog, yet lets his two run freely at all hours, main contributors to the early-morning din. Yep, dogs would have to go, although we could restrict that to barky dogs who don't poop.

Bicycles are a different matter, not inherently messy, evil, or noisy, by themselves, and do indeed offer a cheap, reasonable, and fun transportation alternative. The problem is inconsiderate riders, and I would happily form and head a foot patrol for Lincoln, nail the bastards myself. Incognito; they'll never guess, until I pop them.

6th and Lincoln used to have painted crosswalk stripes, and being uncontrolled by lights, pedestrians automatically had right-of-way there... now, like 4th, it's a good place to dash across the street between traffic groups. Good luck controlling that one; we'd need a full-time officer for that alone, which is not in my budget. Maybe we need cops at 10th and both 12th's as well. Then one halfway down every block, to nab miscreants such as myself... I guess now that pot's legal, the cops need something to do, without pestering the drunks.

Jerry, I don't know if I'd make a good campaign manager for you, but I'd be proud to serve, if called upon. Between the two of us, we could probably knock out a helluva platform. Eggheads beware!! Any bribe attempts will have to be REALLY slick.

Now the hair lady calls; I'll check ya on the flip-flop!!


Michael Bird 3 years, 8 months ago

Given time to digest your remarks, I have come up with a plausible solution. First you need to design a spiffy sidewalk bicycle police uniform for yourself. This would eliminate any complaints from you. Then you will be stationed on any sidewalk within the City and issue tickets to the 6,100 average hourly amount of bicyclists who ride on City sidewalks but issue no warning tickets as the posted signs have already provided adequate warnings. The collected $$$$ will be used to pay for the additional police officers who will be placed at the locations you recommended.


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