Our View: Don't worry, be happy and share the road

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Lighted “Road Work Ahead” signs mark the east and west entrances to downtown Steamboat Springs, and since the first of August, anyone traveling through town most likely has experienced congested traffic and travel delays.

At issue

The recent traffic congestion in Steamboat is testing travelers’ patience.

Our view

Let’s avoid potential conflicts between motorists and cyclists during this time by reinforcing the “Share the Road” message.

Steamboat Today editorial board — May to September 2014

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Tyler Goodman, community representative
  • John Merrill, 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.

The ongoing U.S. Highway 40 construction project has tested the patience of motorists and even has led to sporadic incidents of road rage. In the past two weeks, the Steamboat Pilot & Today has received several phone calls and a letter to the editor concerning the need, especially during the highway construction project, for motorists and cyclists to practice “Share the Road” principles that have become the norm on Routt County roadways in recent years. These calls have come from cyclists and motorists alike.

When a trip through town that usually takes 10 minutes turns into a 20- or 30-minute waiting game, it’s easy to understand that tempers will flare. We encourage motorists to plan ahead, give themselves some extra drive time and simply take a deep breath when, inevitably, they find themselves stopped by the flag crew.

And, we remind local residents, that the situation always could be worse. Instead of being surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery during a temporary road project, you could be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a four-lane super highway during every morning and evening commute.

As a result of the congestion caused by the U.S. 40 construction, cyclists and motorists are finding themselves in closer proximity to one another, and there is the potential for increased conflicts between the two groups of travelers. Motorists need to be on the lookout for cyclists, and bike riders, in turn, should be courteous of drivers as they navigate on two wheels through the road construction areas.

For the most part, we think the majority of cyclists and motorists are patient with one another and are following the state laws that govern how both groups are to interact when using the roadways.

In light of the current congestion, we’d like to highlight a few specifics of the law that could help keep the potential for conflict at bay.

■ Motorists should be reminded that state law gives bicyclists the same rights to the road as motorists with a few exceptions as noted below.

■ Motorists are required to give a 3-foot margin when they pass cyclists, should pass only when it’s safe and never pass a cyclist in a blind corner or hill crest.

People riding bikes need to ride in the right-hand lane and use the paved shoulder of a road when available and safe.

Cyclists should ride single file when traffic is approaching or around congestion and never three or more abreast.

Bicycles are considered vehicles and are required to follow the same traffic rules as cars, trucks and motorcycles.

We realize that as Steamboat’s Bike Town USA brand grows, there will be more and more bicycles on the roadways, so now is as good a time as any to reinforce the Share the Road message. This community has made great strides when it comes to motorists and cyclists learning to coexist on local roadways, and it’s important that the multi-modal message continue to be championed, especially during stressful travel times when the concept can be tested.

In the end, it’s a matter of sharing the road and practicing mutual respect, and we know Steamboat Springs residents are up for the challenge.

Comments

Michael Bird 4 weeks, 1 day ago

This would have been a perfect time to remind bicycle riders that it is ILLEGAL to ride on sidewalks within the City limits as the many signs placed throughout the City clearly state. Sidewalks are only for pedestrians so bicycle riders please obey the traffic laws.

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jerry carlton 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Rhys Since the Pilot rare responds and you know computers, what happened to the most commented articles? Did I just do something weird to my computer or has it disappeared? Thanks in advance.

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rhys jones 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Jerry -- That box they have on the front page is called an applet, and I have no idea how or who controls it -- it seems to use its own judgment about what to display anyway -- I don't even look for or use it, so I don't know when it's here or gone.

What I'd suggest you do is click on http://www.steamboatpilot.com/discussions/stories/ then bookmark, make a Favorite (assuming you're using Windows Explorer like most -- click the star or whatever at the right side of the address bar at the top, see where that gets you; look for Favorites -- every version of Explorer is its own can of worms) or otherwise save that page on your browser, so you can recall it with a click. It lists all the most-recently-commented-upon articles, newest first. Stories can show up here, that don't make it to their applet. Let me know how that works for you.

I've been geeking out, cranking code, making new stuff, all afternoon, despite a hippie party happening around me. You'd be proud, Jerry. I just zoned out.

NOW it's beer-fifteen...

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Phoebe Hackman 4 weeks, 1 day ago

The comments list has been disappearing and reappearing for a couple of days, Jerry; it's not you. Some kinda glitch ....

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Jeff Kibler 4 weeks, 1 day ago

This article fails to mention the stalemate of stupidity that occurred a week ago at Hilltop and Lincoln. No one was allowed business entry and/or egress due to some idiotic flag twirler. No left turns from Western Convenience heading up Hilltop were allowed. No left turns were allowed into Western Convenience from the released few just heading up Hilltop from Lincoln.

Folks trying to cross the street from YV Bank to W. Convenience were denied access. This untrained flag idiot tried to hinder pedestrians and cyclists from proceeding, too.

Can't the contractor hire help with an IQ above 45 and a touch of common sense?

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Lee Cox 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Why does everyone merge way early. And then when I obey the signs and use both lanes until the merge point, those who merged early don't want to let anyone in! Hey, I am just obeying the signs!

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jerry carlton 4 weeks ago

Thanks Rhys. Never knew that existed and it works great.

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