Spoke Talk: On your left …
July 14, 2015
It's peak summer. The roads are busy with cars and cyclists. Emerald's trails are filled with recreationalists. The Yampa River Core Trail is packed with bikers, skateboarders, kids, visitors and dogs. This is the time of year to review the rules of the road, trails and pathways with youngsters, visitors — and even yourself.
Share the Road is a popular slogan. We see it on road signs, car bumpers and on the back of every city bus. As cyclists, we should remember that Share the Road goes both ways. Following is an overview from Bicycle Colorado's website of Colorado Bicycle Laws:
• Wherever you're riding, be courteous and share the road.
• Ride as far right as is safe on the road, and obey traffic laws, signs and signals. That means stopping at stop signs and traffic lights and yielding to pedestrians.
• Ride to the right on multi-use paths and warn other cyclists, walkers, runners and path users before overtaking and passing them.
• Bicyclists get at least three feet of space when vehicles pass.
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• Two bicyclists may ride side-by-side when doing so does not impede vehicle traffic. Ride single-file to allow vehicles to pass. The law reads, "Persons riding bicycles or electrical assisted bicycles two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.
• Don't ride upstream. Ride in the same direction as traffic.
• Signal your turns for 100 feet before you turn.
When riding on the highway, try to use turnouts when you need to stop, and don't gather below the crest of a hill where oncoming motorists cannot see you. It is never legal or OK to ride three or more abreast. In downtown Steamboat Springs, cyclists are banned from riding on sidewalks in the area lying within and bounded on the north and south by Oak and Yampa and on the east and west by Third and 13th streets. Several towns in Colorado have adopted the "Idaho Stop" or "Stop as Yield" law, which allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and a red light as a stop sign. Steamboat is NOT one of those towns, at least not yet. Every summer, cyclists are ticketed for rolling through stop signs. Save yourself some money and obey the laws.
Many of the rules of the road also apply to trails and pathways. Cyclists should yield trail to hikers, runners and horses. Hikers and runners, in turn, should yield trail to horses. On the Core Trail, call out your pass, ring your bike bell, whistle or make some other noise to alert others before you pass them. Generally, ride or walk on the right-hand side of the trail to allow others to pass if desired.
If you don't like or agree with the rules, get involved and work to change them.
Routt County Riders represents all types of cyclists. If you have input on rules you'd like better enforced or changed, attend our monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. the first Monday of the month at Centennial Hall. or contact us anytime at facebook.com/rcriders or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club's administrator.