Ulrich Salzgeber: Bike education needed
October 2, 2011
Congratulations to all the groups and individuals who have worked so diligently to bring bicycling to the forefront of our community. Our moniker of "Bike Town USA" dovetails nicely with our longstanding "Ski Town USA" and portrays us as an active, healthy outdoor community. The summer was filled with great local cycling events as well as highlighted regional and national events like the Ride for Yellow and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (quite the party). The opportunities are ever expanding and being recognized by publications like Outdoor magazine and designations such as being named a gold bicycle-friendly community. We should be proud of these accomplishments and continue to market and embrace this effort.
No doubt we have seen more locals riding bikes to and from work, running errands and for everyday usage, though it didn't seem to positively affect traffic or parking, but that is another letter for another time. The increased bike usage also brought increased poor and dangerous behavior. Riders not stopping at stop signs, riding on the downtown sidewalks which I thought was illegal (is it?), riding the wrong way on the designated paths on many of the roads, etc. It has been a long time since I took bike safety on my three speed Schwinn in grade school, so I am sure that a lot has changed. Most, I would think, is common sense, but I really would like to know. If I am in a car and the first at a light with my right turn signal on, is it proper for a group or family of bike riders to pull in front of me? I always thought that as a vehicle of the road they were supposed follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles. Perhaps that has changed. I know I am not alone in wondering what is proper and what is not. I have witnessed many instances of drivers being extra cautious of riders, which is great except by doing so they are potentially endangering other pedestrians and drivers.
I believe it is incumbent for the various biking organizations and bike shops to form a committee and create a brochure with some basic rules, directions and courtesies of biking. These should be distributed in all locations that rent and sell bikes as well as the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and lodging members. Oh, and please make them available to the rest of us who interact with riders on a daily basis. We also want to do the right thing. Perhaps a weekly safety article in this very paper would be warranted. An educated Steamboat Springs will lead to a safer and more tolerable community allowing for the continued expansion of bike riding in Routt County.