Spoke Talk: Sharing the road | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: Sharing the road

Ian London
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Cyclists ride on U.S. Highway 40 on Rabbit Ears Pass in a past Ride the Rockies event.
John F. Russell

Spring in Routt County means longer days, warming temps and muddy trails, although after this week’s weather, you could be forgiven for thinking winter is still here.

For many of us, this is the time of year to dust off the road bike and head out on our public roads for some exercise and fresh air. For others, it’s the time of year to start leaving the car at home and ride into town for work or fun. One way or another, this is a busy time of year for our roads.

It’s also the perfect time of year to think about road etiquette. We often hear the phrase “share the road” without thinking about what it really means. We apply it to others but not to ourselves. 

For cyclists, “share the road” means riding as far to the right of the lane as is reasonable. Wind, debris, visibility or speed of travel will all affect that call. Sometimes the middle of the lane is the safest place to be. Under no circumstances is a cyclist required to put themselves in danger to let a vehicle pass.

“Share the road” also means minimizing, but not eliminating, two-abreast riding. There is a commonly-held belief that Colorado law requires single file. It does not. 

If you come upon a group riding two abreast, wait a moment while they organize to let you by. It only takes a moment. When they let you pass, thank them for the courtesy. Or, wait for a safe place to pass. Motorists are permitted to cross double-yellow lines to overtake cyclists, agricultural vehicles, joggers and other slow-moving road users. 

At Routt County Riders, we encourage motorists to view cyclists as no different than pedestrians in a crosswalk. We have a right to be there. You should expect to see us and expect a slight delay in your drive when you do. But give us some space and a friendly wave, and we’ll do the same. 

Then we’ll all be in a better mood to enjoy the arrival of spring. 

Ian London is a local attorney and member of the Routt County Riders board of directors. His views are his own.  

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