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Rec paths can be dangerous

Laura HansenFrisco

We love visitors to Summit County and want them to have a safe experience. This also demands that recreation path users of any age, sport, residency and experience be assured a safe experience as well. I routinely see groups of cyclists dropped at the top of Vail Pass by local bike shops. Recently, we witnessed a young girl from such a group lose control on one of the steep switchbacks headed east near the top of Vail Pass. Unfamiliar with the steep trail and tight corners, it was a miracle that she wasn’t seriously hurt or, for that matter, didn’t hurt someone else on the path. Farther down, another family was going so slowly that cyclists following could barely stay upright while waiting for uphill traffic to clear for passing. The ride down is exciting, but a dangerous trail for inexperienced cyclists and for those sharing the path with them. The rental shops require tourists to sign a liability release. I wonder if that piece of paper would protect the shops from lawsuits by other people injured by their clients who made no such consent. The practice of delivering inexperienced cyclists to the top of Vail Pass, or any mountain pass with such a steep descent, is putting all users in danger. And the bike shops had better recognize this responsibility before an incident occurs that will enrich the lawyers.Anyone, tourist or local, should be able to enjoy the rec paths. I suggest the bike rental shops take care to impress on their clients that they are not alone on the trail. Stay on the right side except to pass and, if you must stop, stop off, not on, the path. We locals should not be afraid to offer gentle reminders to offenders, and demand that the bike shops take greater care with those they let loose on the paths.


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