Making room on the roads
With the bikers, joggers, dog-walkers, buses and delivery trucks, the valley’s roads can sometimes seem awfully crowded – and dangerous.To encourage more cooperation between the motorized and non-motorized, a group of local bikers recently woke up at the crack of dawn and delivered donuts to the drivers of some of the valleys largest trucks, garbage haulers and buses.”Everyone I gave donuts to was pretty pumped and thought what we were doing was a great idea, it was a lot of fun,” said Zach Bingham, a volunteer with the Vail Cycling Foundation. “We just wanted to thank them for giving us space on the shoulders all summer.”Donuts were distributed to drivers at Waste Management, Vail Honeywagon, B & B Excavating, ECO Transit, Avon Public Works, and Vail Public Works.”Being a cyclist myself, I definitely understand what it is being a cyclist trying to avoid big trucks,” said Byron Harrington, a Vail Honeywagon dispatcher.The Vail Cycling Foundation is a recently organized nonprofit group that promotes bicycle safety and awareness, youth and adult development, and is planning to host local cycling events. The organization is founded in memory of Brett Malin, a local bike racer who was struck and killed by a semi-truck in New Mexico during the Race Across America in June.”After the accident in New Mexico, I really don’t have any animosity toward truckers, and possibility feel more connected with them,” Bingham says. “We’re all users, it’s not one group over the other, it’s everyone on the open road.”While handing out donuts, the cyclists requested any ideas or feedback from the drivers regarding bicycle safety on local roadways, says Adam Palmer, another volunteer. “There have been a lot of comments in the paper recently from drivers and cyclists pointing the finger at each other,” Palmer says. “I think that while there are a handful of irresponsible people on both sides, for the most part drivers give cyclists plenty of room on the road and most cyclists don’t obstruct traffic or disregard traffic laws. “It’s important to realize both users have a right to use our local roadways and to work together to eliminate conflicts,” Palmer says. “Nobody wins when bicycles and vehicles collide.”Harrington says the biking community is doing a good job connecting with large-truck drivers while the county should extend recreation paths to Wolcott and all the way to State Bridge, to keep more distance between bicyclists and big vehicles.”That campaign they’re doing I think is going to do a whole lot of good,” Harrington says. “Now, if we can just get the county to build bike path on U.S. Highway 6 west of Edwards – that would be a great, great thing.”That whole route riding out to Statebridge and back is a great loop,” he adds.Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at email@example.com.Vail Cycling Foundation welcomes input from the public on ways to improve safety on our roadways and/or promote cycling in the area. They can be reached at (970) 390-7302 or PO Box 6402, Vail, CO, 81658.