Busted bikers gripe about citations
summit daily news
DILLON – After issuing tickets to errant bicyclists in June, Dillon’s police chief said officers are seeing better safely precautions by bikers in the area.
According to Chief Joe Wray, the hard-nosed approach to bicycle safety – specifically at dangerous intersections – has also inspired lots of negative feedback by locals and visitors who say “Yes, I’m guilty, but isn’t there something else you should be doing?”
Between June 13-28, police officers issued 22 citations and hundreds of warnings to bikers at two locations: The intersection of Lake Dillon Drive and Lodgepole Street; and the construction area at the corner of Tenderfoot Street and lower Goldrun Circle.
Wray cited lots of near misses and bikers not adhering to traffic laws as reasons behind last month’s crack down. But he also noted that he tried to educate people about traffic laws and bike safety first, through radio, posters and in the Summit Daily.
And at the last county police chief meeting, Wray said he promoted the issue to the other agencies, and everyone agreed to hang posters about bike safety.
“Laws apply to everyone equally,” Wray said. “Safety is my biggest concern.”
Bicycle issues came to light in May when officers did an impromptu survey at the intersection of Lodgepole Street and Lake Dillon Drive on a Saturday for 90 minutes. In that time period, the officers counted 53 traffic violations – often committed by parents with their children – such as going through the intersection and stop signs without looking for traffic.
About 95 percent of bicyclists aren’t adhering to traffic laws or they’re not wearing helmets, Wray said, noting serious concern for an apparent lack of safe biking practices.
When Wray approached council at Tuesday’s work session, asking for direction on policing reckless bicyclists for the rest of the cycling season, council asked for a focus on education and “pre-enforcement.”
“The majority of action is educational, preventative and proactive,” said Devin Granbery, Dillon’s town manager.
Due to quite a bit of negative feedback on officer enforcement of bike infractions, Councilwoman Lucinda Burns said she wondered if the town was being too heavy-handed due to the nature of complaints, specifically referring to officers being abrasive and unfriendly. She said she hoped for a balance between education and enforcement to get the best result.
And Councilwoman Mary Forsythe agreed: “Because we’re a resort town, those people (who received tickets) are probably long gone.”
Councilmembers also said that signs at intersections, warning bikers that they must slow down and stop, could be a good solution for breaking dangerous biking habits.
Caitlin Row can be reached
at (970) 668-4633 or at
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