Letters: Why lowering the limit makes sense
Vail CO, Colorado
Reason to lower the limit
As the author of the study that recommends lowering the speed limit on I-70, I wanted to share the findings with the public.
In reviewing five years of data, it became evident that a majority of motor vehicle crashes in Eagle County were occurring on I-70. Crashes were twice as likely to happen up valley where the speed limit is 65 mph; however, serious crashes that involved a rollover or fatality were twice as likely to happen down valley where the speed limit is 75 mph.
Major causes of crashes included weather, loss of control, distractions, wildlife, and alcohol impairment. While speed can cause a crash it also influences the outcome, regardless of the cause. As crash speeds increase, the risk of injury and death increases exponentially, since the energy released in a crash is proportional to the square of the impact speed.
A national study compared states that raised the federally-defunct 55 MPH highway speed limit in 1995, and concluded that deaths increased collectively by 15 percent the next year.
Cycling death trap
On July 16 there was an accident on eastbound I-70 in Eagle that diverted traffic. My wife and I were cycling from Eagle to Edwards and got caught in the diverted traffic on Highway 6, also known to cyclists as Eagle County’s cycling death trap. With tractor trailers, dump trucks and every eastbound vehicle driving by us at 50 to 60 mph I thought the end was near.
There is absolutely no shoulder, no bike lane, not one inch of space to safely ride on this stretch of road. It’s no wonder there is conflict on the road between motorists and cyclists.
I implore Eagle County and CDOT to create a safe cycling environment for the many residents who take to the roads on bikes. Please give us a bike lane on route 6.