Summit Stage planning to allow bikes at night
SUMMIT COUNTY – Bikers, rejoice.
Summit Stage administrators are in the process of figuring out how to outfit buses to carry bikes after dark – a change to a current prohibition that limits some cyclists’ travel in Summit County.
The operations policy change, brought on in part by County Commissioner and occasional pedaler Bill Wallace, should begin next spring.
Wallace, who until recently served as the Board of County Commissioners’ representative to the Summit Stage board of directors, raised the issue at last month’s Stage advisory board meeting.
Wallace said he has asked the question of why bikes can’t be allowed on buses’ front racks after dark, and he asked once again.
“I was at a Rockies game in Denver, and I saw people loading their bikes onto RTD buses, and it was after dark,” Wallace said. “I wanted to know why RTD buses can carry bikes at night and we can’t.”
The long-standing Summit Stage policy has been seen as a hindrance among some cyclists.
If someone rides from Breckenridge to Copper Mountain after work, for example, and grows short on energy to get home or with a flat tire, that person would have to call for a ride or leave a bike locked at Copper.
The Stage policy is based on safety, as the alignment of racks and number of bikes on them block bus headlights.
According to RTD operations staff, bus drivers are able to accommodate bikes after dark because of the profusion of streetlights in the metro area and because Denver “doesn’t have dangerous mountain roads like Summit County.”
Summit Stage director Bill Watterson said there is plenty of demand to warrant the change, but it will take some creativity.
“We know there are a lot of folks out there who will be happy with this,” Watterson said. “We’re moving in a new direction, but it’s a work in progress.”
He pointed out some differences between Summit Stage and RTD operations. RTD buses use two-bike racks, which do not interfere as much with headlights. Because of the high demand for bikes on buses, Stage rigs are outfitted with four-bike racks. In addition, Watterson said, many of the stops where bikers would board Stage buses are not lit and would need to be.
And finally, the Stage is in the process of converting part of its fleet to smaller, 30-foot buses, that likely won’t be delivered by manufacturers in time for the beginning of biking season next year.
“So the buses that will be running at night in the future aren’t here yet,” Watterson said. “We don’t have a complete solution yet, and we’re in budget season. We’ll figure something out.”
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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