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Bicyclists have right of way on roads even if alternative bike path exists

Rick Eisenberg - Breckenridge

I’d like to respond to William Pitcher’s letter to the editor published Aug. 21 regarding his near collision on the Dam Road.

First of all, per Colorado state law, bicyclists have a right to ride on all public roadways, regardless of alternative options.

Personally, you won’t find me on a roadway when a bike path is available, but it is a choice that some bicyclists make for various reasons.

There is a definite safety concern for the advanced bicyclist in using certain sections of the county bike path, especially paralleling the Dam Road which is quite twisty.

Inexperienced bicyclists (often tourists, but not always) present grave hazards to other bicyclists by stopping and dismounting directly on the bike path, often out of range of any reasonable line of site to the next rider.

The desire for high speed travel by bicyclists in training for races drives them to the roads for safety. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but that it is legal.

What disturbs me about your letter is that you feel that it was the bicyclist that almost caused your premature demise.

Perhaps the bicyclist played an indirect role here, but it was the big hunk of RV and SUV that careened into your lane with no regard for your safety that should and would be held responsible should a crash have occurred. Your letter seemed to indicate that one bicyclist was present.

A quick reminder on riding two abreast on public roadways: It is perfectly legal, except when cars are approaching from the rear, then very illegal.

While on the topic, a disturbing trend I’ve been noticing this summer is bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road, against traffic, particularly through towns and residential areas.

Not only is this illegal, but it is amazingly dangerous, particularly across intersections. Please, follow the rules of the road and stop giving reasons to motor vehicle drivers to get mad at other law abiding bicyclists.

Finally, a note on riding a bicycle on sidewalks. It is perhaps OK in quiet residential areas, but not OK in congested towns. Strangely enough, Colorado law gives pedestrian status to a bicyclist riding on a sidewalk, but allows local control over whether it’s legal in the first place. I would encourage local authorities to enact laws to disallow riding (but allow walking) bicycles on sidewalks in core areas of town.

Let’s be safe out there, people.

Rick Eisenberg

Breckenridge


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