Safe bicycling depends on safe drivers
Bicycle riding has increased dramatically in Glenwood Springs since the closure of the Grand Avenue bridge. The safety of cyclists and their help in reducing motor traffic congestion depend on safe, alert and courteous drivers.
Some 400-500 cyclists are on local trails and streets every day, taking advantage of a convenient way to complete practical local trips. This creates a new experience and traffic dynamic, both for riders and for drivers. It is a different scene out there, requiring new habits and attention to detail.
Many drivers realize that every couple of bicycles they see represent a car that is not part of the traffic delays and congestion that motorists face. Correspondingly, the great majority of drivers are watching for cyclists, deferring to them at intersections, obeying traffic signals intended to protect cyclists and pedestrians, and otherwise helping make cycling safe and successful.
Even good habits can use some refreshers and tips, and the more drivers who embrace them, the better for everyone. Examples include:
• Strictly obey traffic controls — stoplights, no-turn signals, stop signs, speed limits.
• Stop short of crosswalks and trail crossings at intersections; do not stop in the crosswalk.
• Stop before turning across crosswalks and trail crossings, even if you think you have the right of way.
• Look both ways before driving across a sidewalk or out of a driveway.
• Signal your turns.
• Particular intersections where attention to cyclists and special signals is important include 27th/Glen Avenue, 23rd/Grand Avenue, 14th/Grand, Seventh Street, 6-24/Devereux Road, West Midland/Devereux Road.
• A no-right-turn signal for eastbound drivers at 27th and Glen corresponds to the crosswalk signal; obey it.
• Southbound right-turn lanes at 23rd and at 27th cross the bicycle route; look carefully before proceeding.
• Pass wide when overtaking cyclists. State law requires a minimum gap of 3 feet; allow more room if you can.
• Do not turn in front of a cyclist after passing them; it is impolite at best, and it can be deadly.
• Marked bicycle routes on Blake Avenue, Pitkin Avenue and Donegan Road carry many riders and warrant motorist’s extra attention.
• The roundabouts at West Glenwood include crosswalks equipped with flashing signals for cyclists and pedestrians; always yield at those crosswalks.
• When parking parallel to a marked bicycle lane (Blake, Pitkin) do not park in the bicycle lane.
• Look back to be sure a cyclist is not approaching before opening a car door; get a clear look back by using the “Dutch Reach,” opening your door with your right hand.
• Watch out for bicycles at popular destinations with jumbled traffic and parking lots — grocery stores, post office, schools, shopping malls, parks, Hot Springs Pool, all of downtown.
Increased bicycling is to everyone’s benefit during this local travel adventure. Bicycles and drivers both can make it a safer and smoother experience.
Join Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates in riding and promoting local bicycle use. For more information, call 618-8264, or write email@example.com.