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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gutless wonder in Colorado

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to say stupid things when you're hiding behind the cloak on anonymity.

The latest example of this is in the Boulder, Colo., area. An anonymously written flier is calling upon residents of rural mountain communities in Boulder County to stage a blockade of the return leg of the Sunrise Century ride on July 25. Here's what the flier says, according to the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder:
“On July 25, in celebration of driver’s rights, many cars will use the Left Hand Canyon Road, drive slowly and many may break down unexpectedly, blocking areas to the cyclists on the return leg of the ‘Sunrise Century.' Many cars and safe drivers all working together can send a message to the Statehouse to restrict cycling on our roads which are our only alternatives during family emergencies, commuting and required duties.”
The Daily Camera reported the the fliers started being distributed days after a Boulder driver was ticketed on suspicion of endangering a cyclist on Lee Hill Road.

Officials in Boulder County say conflicts between cyclists and motorists have been increasing in recent years, but have intensified this year. On Aug. 5, a new law goes in effect in Colorado that increases cyclists' rights. Based upon information from Bicycle Colorado, here's a summary of the law:
  • Requires motorists to give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bicyclists. (A similar law went into effect last year in Illinois.)
  • Allows cyclists to ride side by side as long as they don't impede the normal flow of traffic.
  • Makes throwing items at cyclists and intentionally driving toward a cyclists offenses.
  • Allows cyclists to ride as far to the right as safely possible.
Bikerpelli Sports, the organizer of the Sunrise Century, has this response to the controversy:
"A special thanks to all our supporters during this interesting time. ... And remember we will do whatever it takes to create a safe, fun & enjoyable ride for all our dedicated athletes regardless of the obstacles that others may try to create. We don't shy away from a challenge any more than you would!"
I've always contended problems would be minimized if motorists -- and cyclists -- simply follow the rules of the road. In this case, I hope common sense prevails and that cyclists and motorists will share the road in Boulder County.

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