Spoke Talk: Cyclists, motorists sharing the road well



Courtesy photo

Paul Matheny

Call me crazy, but I’m impressed. Based on my observations (I ride my bikes almost every day), cyclists and motorist are doing a noticeably better job sharing the roads so far this season.

Since I have written a few articles about road and mountain bike etiquette, I can’t help but critique all the drivers that pass me when on my road bike and all the riders I see whether I’m riding or driving.

The great majority of drivers are being very considerate about staying 3 feet away when they pass cyclists, and they also are being patient and waiting for a safe opportunity to pass on our narrow two-lane roads.

The bike riders generally are riding so that they don’t impede traffic when there are vehicles overtaking them as well as signaling their upcoming turns and moving off the road surface when they stop for a break. Those are great, self-preservation techniques in addition to being good cycling manners.

When I see a rider or driver practicing these responsible acts, I make a point to wave to let them know I recognize and appreciate their thoughtful behavior.

I’ve also witnessed mountain bike riders being considerate by yielding to horses and hikers as well as uphill riders on the trail. There seems to be a lot of care being taken to keep the tires on the trail and to keep the singletrack single.

Downtown, more and more folks are riding with the direction of traffic and then dismounting and walking their bikes on the sidewalks.

It hasn’t always been this way, but the increased awareness and consideration by all road users is a noticeable and welcome change. Certainly, there still are examples of less-than-desirable riding and driving, but they are becoming more the exception rather than the rule. By and large, it seems like things are trending in the right direction.

Too often, we only hear about these topics when there is a problem, so I thought a positive word might be in order.

Paul Matheny serves on the board of Routt County Riders. He can be reached at jpmatheny@gmail.com.


dave mcirvin 3 years, 8 months ago


It sure ticks me off when I see my fellow cyclists riding two abreast in front of traffic nearly as much as some loser attempting to maneuver as close as possible to a road rider when there is nary a vehicle in the other lane for over a quarter of a mile.


john bailey 3 years, 8 months ago

i have one small request , please do not stop at the crest of Yellow Jacket Pass. or at least get farther from the pavement. I know its a pretty view but, the last 2 days sets of riders are stopping in both directions and , well I think ya'll can see the problem with the site lines up and down the hill. maybe ya'll just want to see a head-on between vehicles. I think that is a reasonable request. stay cool everybody. ready to hula?......~;0)


Michael Bird 3 years, 8 months ago

Paul, I invite you to watch the sidewalk bike riders by the entrance to the Post Office. Picking up my mail during the last 12 days, bike riders were on the sidewalk 10 days and would not move or exit their bikes. Today it was a rider hauling a child bike carrier who almost hit we who were attempting to enter the post office. Sadly,these sidewalk bike riding activities are not the exception.


rhys jones 3 years, 8 months ago

Obviously the City has bigger fish to fry than some petty miscreants terrorizing the sidewalks. I have NEVER seen any type of enforcement of the sidewalk bike/skateboard ban. I see the Yellow Shirts pedaling around, but I don't know what they do.

That's why my sidewalks are the alleys. Food trucks the only obstacle. No zoo for me.


Brian Kotowski 3 years, 8 months ago

One common denominator I've noticed re: cyclists hogging the road - they're not equipped with a 3rd eye or some other rear view mirror arrangement. I can't even imagine saddling up without my 3rd eye.


George Fargo 3 years, 8 months ago

I drive and bike, and on the open road, yes, I see bikes and cars sharing well for the most part. But in town, bikes seem to lose their brains. They go wherever is to their advantage - street, sidewalk, crosswalk, between lanes, passing on the right, etc. As I was stopped on Lincoln for a red light at 5th, a bike rode up between the two lines of cars, stuck his nose out into the intersection, and blasted on through the red light. And I'll bet he wants me to respect his right to be on the road....


jerry carlton 3 years, 8 months ago

Went into town this morning, stopped at two redlights and same female cyclist passed me on the right and blew through both red lights. Wonder if I had followed her and called police and signed a complaint they would have given her a ticket? Probably could not have kept up the way she was blowing through lights.


Brian Kotowski 3 years, 7 months ago

I've never seen, or even heard of, a cyclist being cited.


rhys jones 3 years, 7 months ago

Melanie -- So they cite ONE bicyclist, only AFTER he provides false information, not on Lincoln, and that makes you happy? There are fewer bikes in the alleys, than on the sidewalks. Making them relative interstates. Want to find the tourists and idiots? Lincoln Ave, 3rd-11th. Look both ways. Walking, you'd be safer on your own bike.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 7 months ago

So, my wife and I are walking along Yampa this morning in front of Boathouse toward 5th. 3 male bicycle riders riding side by side toward 5th taking up their whole side of Yampa chatting away oblivious to the pick up behind them. So I ask myself, just why did the city of Steamboat paint those bike lanes on Yampa? Maybe they thought Yampa has already become a promenade.


Doug Starkey 3 years, 7 months ago

So, I'm driving into downtown yesterday towards the post office, verifying I'm going 25mph in a 25 mph zone by using the radar sign and my speedometer, and two cars pass me on the left going 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. So I ask myself, why did the city of Steamboat put up those 25 mph speed limit signs?


jerry carlton 3 years, 7 months ago

Latest example of our "safe" bicyclists. Walking to the concert Friday, The traffic director at the rodeo grounds intersection stops cars,and waves us on and a female bicyclist turns right and almost hits my wife.


rhys jones 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, well pedestrians have the right-of-way in the crosswalk I was in today, on a small almost-empty road on the mountain -- except for the young mother in the RV with two kids, approaching quickly. I would have gladly ceded the right-of-way with a wave, letting her roll by unimpeded, in consideration of time, and fuel consumption, had she even glanced... no need, she rolled through anyway, not slowing down or even looking sideways. We wonder where the kids get their sense of entitlement; you just have to look up the family tree one generation. Bikers or drivers, I think the grabbers are the problem.

I can tell whether I want to know somebody or NOT, just by the manner in which they transport themselves. Personality flaws are thus revealed.

Jerry -- Maybe the Rockies will bounce back after the All-Star break. I hope they are exploring their coaching and management options. Speaking of which -- what a roust in the Nuggets camp, eh? And you were at the free show? Why didn't you come up and say Hi? I always hang out on the shady side of the sound board.


rhys jones 3 years, 7 months ago

Pat -- Couldn't agree more. A miniature "Stop" sign on the pedestrian-crosswalk sign could go far, indicating it is drivers' RESPONSIBILITY to (and liability not to) yield to pedestrians.

Everybody's in a hurry. I'd expound, but I've got to run.


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