Vail dismount zone: It was time to do it
But are pedestrian-cyclist conflicts more about manners?
Ask Jeanne Fritch if it was time to create a dismount zone for bicyclists in Vail Village and her reply comes quickly: “Yes.”
Fritch, an owner of the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail Village, is a cyclist herself, so she’s a little leery of a permanent ban on riding wheeled vehicles in the village. But, she added, during a summer like this one, when Vail Village has been thronged with guests on a nearly constant basis, asking cyclists to dismount is a good idea.
The Vail Town Council on Aug. 17 voted to create a dismount zone along the length of Bridge Street, and along Gore Creek Drive from Checkpoint Charlie to the Gorsuch Ltd. store.
Craniologie, a store on Wall Street, rents e-bikes to guests. Sam Zimmerman said the dismount zone is “not a huge deal” for customers. “No one is not renting because of it,” Zimmerman said, adding that employees direct guests to the quickest ways out of the dismount zones.
But, Zimmerman added, enforcement will be important if the dismount zones are going to work.
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“Twice I’ve seen people flying down the street on mountain bikes,” he said.
At 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits on Bridge Street, Chris Naples said he hasn’t seen much effect from the new dismount zones.
“I’d say 99% are still riding,” Naples said. Naples also noted the big summer crowds in Vail Village, adding he’s “surprised” more people haven’t been hurt mixing wheeled vehicles with pedestrians.
Fritch said the new dismount zones probably wouldn’t be needed “if people were more respectful.”
Fritch said a recent guest at her hotel was recently dining outdoors in Solaris plaza. She said a youngster rode up to the guest’s table, and asked if they could move so he could ride through.
You can guess what the answer was.
“That gives you an idea of disrespect we’re seeing,” Fritch said.
When the Town Council voted to impose the dismount zones, Council member Brian Stockmar noted he was walking in Vail Village when he was struck by a child on a bike, then upbraided by the child’s mother.
“It will be an inconvenience,” Fritch said of the dismount zones. “I’d hate to see a flat-out dismount zone all the time,” she added. “When it’s not crowded, it’s not a problem.”
The dismount zone includes Bridge Street and part of Gore Creek Drive in Vail Village.
The dismount rules apply to wheeled vehicles including bicycles, scooters and Segway-type vehicles.
Pedestrians have the right of way in areas where it’s OK to ride.