Vail Daily letters to the editor
July 31, 2010
Why paths don’t work
I am responding to Ken Wilson’s letter stating that “bikes belong on paths” in the July 22 Vail Daily. I don’t believe Ken is a cyclist, or he would understand some basic realities of this valley.
Our valley has a large population of elite and highly competitive athletes and casual cyclists who enjoy riding the largely uninterrupted roads. Cyclists live and come here to train because of the benefits of riding at high altitude, and because of the beautiful and varied terrain.
Some people believe our valley is cyclist-friendly, though I’ve experienced enough evidence to the contrary to scare me. I am an amateur cyclist. I race in the town mountain bike series and a handful of other endurance races. In order to train for mountain biking, I often ride the road. Speeds of a cyclist training on the road can well exceed 30 mph.
I’m happy to report that the cycling community is growing in our valley. Attendance for the first three races in the Vail Recreation District mountain bike races is up 38 percent over last year. Last year attendance was up 14 percent over the previous year. That means we’ll probably see even more riders on the road, as many mountain bikers train on the road as well as the mountain.
Bike paths are available for all non-motorized traffic, meaning that it is possible that on a path you will encounter small children walking with their parents, spread across the path. Many people walk their dogs on bike paths, again, spread across the path.
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Families often ride the paths, and I’ve seen 3-year-old kids riding who are not yet able to ride in a straight line. When riding at 20-30 mph on a winding and often interrupted bike path, coming upon a child or dog poses a huge risk to both the cyclist and the child.
Even if there is no collision, the cyclist that comes upon the casual walker or rider will likely startle that person (even if warning is given well in advance) and ruin their experience.
If it weren’t for these dangers, and I could ride the paths freely at a reasonable speed, I certainly would. I don’t enjoy being passed by 80,000 pound trucks, but I find this to be more relaxing and less risky than riding on bike paths, since the truck and I are traveling in the same direction and hopefully paying attention to the road.
As I see it, the bike paths are provided as a safe alternative for the cyclist who does not feel comfortable riding on the road. My husband often picks up our kids from school in a trailer behind his bike. He rides the paths whenever they are available, but there are portions of the ride (such as the portion of Highway 6 through the Eagle-Vail business district) where there are not paths. My husband is one of the most safety-conscious people I know, and he only enters the road to get to the next portion of path.
For the cyclists that are comfortable riding on the road, they must follow the same traffic laws that cars follow. Colorado bicycling laws state that bicyclists have all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle and can be penalized for violating traffic laws. If a cyclist blows through a stop sign or stop light, they can be ticketed and the violation counts against their driving record.
The law also requires the cyclists ride no more than two abreast, returning to single-file if riding two abreast would impede the flow of traffic. I have seen too many cocky riders two and three abreast, well over the white line, impeding traffic. This makes me angry, as it gives cyclists a bad image.
However, I think the majority of cyclists in our valley follow the traffic laws and are respectful of vehicles. Many bike-friendly communities have bike lanes on the road. I would like to see that in our valley.
Cyclists don’t pay to use the roads. However, most cyclists I know own cars. So even if they don’t use their cars, they do still pay taxes that pay for the upkeep of our roads. By riding bikes, and reducing the amount they drive, they are decreasing wear on the roads.
I would submit that there should be a tax credit for drivers who ride their bikes a certain percentage of the time instead of their cars. Not only are they reducing wear on the road, but they are reducing pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. But don’t get me started.
Ken mentions that there is no test or insurance required for cyclists to ride the roads. I suspect that is because the powers that be don’t see cyclists posing danger to anyone other than themselves. Have you heard of many cyclists injuring occupants of vehicles? I would bet there are exponentially more injuries and fatalities to cyclists as a result of vehicle collisions. I wish all cyclists would wear helmets and have good health insurance policies so that they wouldn’t be a tax to the system if injured. I preach it whenever I see anyone without a helmet.
I would be happy to take Ken out for a ride and introduce him to a wonderful life-long sport, if he hasn’t already had the opportunity. We all need to accept that a major element of our community is recreation and tourism, and that the incredible community that has grown up around this should be celebrated.
Wolf for sheriff
I have lived in the valley for the past 25 years, and like most in the valley, work very hard to survive in this community. As difficult as it can be to make a living, my family and I have remained in the valley for several reasons. Most importantly, I believe it to be a safe place to raise my son.
However, I have been troubled by recent observations relating to the areas DUI tactics and other areas for which my tax dollars are being used.
Recently there was a comment made stating it is not officers’ duty to punish; rather it is the responsibility of a judge. In my opinion, this statement is very true. However, it does not excuse the fact that for awhile not all DUIs were taken into custody, but rather given a summons to appear in court, and otherwise slapped on the wrist.
My son is riding on these streets, and so are all the other innocent people who probably had no idea that some DUIs weren’t even being arrested.
I ask myself, is it really fair to put offenders of any crime in our jail? I cannot afford a Wii, or big screen TVs. I think everyone would agree that these are luxury items, not used to punish someone for putting the public at danger, or hurting someone or their property.
I find it quite coincidental that now that it is election time, this absolutely ridiculous procedure is changed. I wonder if it will change back after the election is over. If Wolf is elected, I think not.
I had an opportunity to speak with Wolf, and I was impressed by the things he had to say. His views are just how the Sheriff’s Office can help me with my venture to get the most bang for my tax dollar buck.
Wolf has taken into consideration the youth of the community. His plan to offer an internship for the local high school students is something of great value. As a parent, I appreciate the opportunity that my son will have. I wonder why I was never offered this choice when I graduated from Eagle Valley High just seven years ago.
His ideas include a reserve program! This means smarter training not only for the deputies, but also for the citizens who would like to be proactive in their community. This would bring citizens and law enforcement together as a community not as two separate entities. This is a profound idea, so simple yet never in affect before. Eagle County, being such a tight knit community, would be a perfect candidate for such a program. This begs the question: What has taken so long?
The time has come to not just get by, but to take a step up and make some improvements. I believe that to elect anyone other than Wolf would be a huge mistake!.
Meagan Skoronsky Eagle
Wolf for sheriff
I consider Charles Wolf an excellent candidate for sheriff of Eagle County. If the people of Eagle County want a sheriff with honesty and integrity, you need not look any further. He is a man of outstanding character and a true American.
It was a pleasure to have had him as one of my officers in New Mexico. Let’s get our country back to the America we all knew and loved. Vote for the man that will always fight for truth, justice and the American way.
I endorse the candidacy of this fine young man and highly recommend your consideration of Charles Wolf as your next sheriff of Eagle County.
Lanny G. Maddox Chief of police (retired), Ruidoso, N.M.
Keep Hoy as sheriff
I am writing this letter as an endorsement for Joe Hoy as sheriff of Eagle County. One of the most important things a leader can do to be successful is to know the territory. And Joe Hoy knows Eagle County.
Back in the 1990s, I was principal of Minturn Middle School and Joe Hoy was our DARE officer for the east-end schools. During this time, Joe worked hard to know every student’s name and to be engaged with the teachers in the classroom. He was very visible around the school during school hours and at many school events. Under his leadership and guidance, the DARE program flourished and evolved to what it is today.
I know Joe has made a huge impact as sheriff of Eagle County during his tenure. For those of you who do not know about Joe, check out the website “Joe Hoy for Sheriff.”
His accomplishments as sheriff are too numerous to mention in a letter to the editor. His record is there for you to see in other important areas like crime prevention, interagency cooperation, fiscal responsibility and community involvement.
Joe Hoy knows Eagle County. His experience and leadership is too valuable to pass up. In these tough times for Eagle County and the Vail Valley, we need an exceptional leader in the Sheriff’s Office insuring the safety of our citizens and our many visitors. Joe Hoy has been that leader and Eagle County needs him to continue in that position.
Keith Thompson Edwards
Child left off flight
I don’t know if you will find this newsworthy, but my 12-year-old daughter was removed from her flight today because the United Airlines flight that she was on was overweight. It was the last connecting flight of the day to the Eagle County airport, and my sister, who dropped her off, left once my daughter boarded the plane. She lives an hour away from the airport.
My daughter is the one who contacted me, not the airline, to inform me of what happened. She was scared and in tears. I had to ask my daughter to put an airline employee on the phone and was immediately met with excuses and, of course, she passed the buck to someone else. When I asked to talk to the person that made the decision to remove her from the plane I was given the 1-800 number! You know, the computer!
I feel this is completely unacceptable and irresponsible on the airline’s part. What do you think? It will be another week until my daughter returns home from her visit with my extended family.
I am planning on speaking with an attorney regarding this matter to see what I should do. I mean hell, if someone else is suing an airline over a lost bag, that’s nothing compared to an abandoned kid, right?
Anyhow, if you are interested in this please give me a call.
Unworthy of my vote
Watch how people who are courting you treat other people. Are they nice to their parents and sisters and brothers? How about ex-spouses and boyfriends and girlfriends? Co-workers, customers and clients? Cab drivers, waiters and waitresses? Because nobody’s special. How they treat those people is ultimately how they’re going to treat you.
If Scott McInnis will rip off and lie to “long-time” family friend Rolly Fischer and then blame Fischer for his (McInnis’) behavior, he will lie and rip off you, who he’s probably never met, or only met superficially at a political function.
Dr. Malik Hasan said in several media interviews, “I was disappointed both with the quantity and the quality of work he put into it. Now that I’m hearing even the small amount of work he put in – the news seems he may have plagiarized it – that’s a double disappointment.”
If Scott McInnis performed disappointing “quantity and the quality” of work for which he was paid $300,000, the taxpayers and voters of Colorado can expect even less if he’s elected governor which pays less, is much harder and he can’t fool Rolly Fischer into doing for him. Nobody’s special. If Scott McInnis lied and ripped off Rolly Fischer and Dr. Malik Hasan, he’ll lie and rip off you.
Nick Isenberg Glenwood Springs
Didn’t have to shoot
Last week you ran an article about a Cordillera resident who shot and killed a young bear at his residence. The article lacked certain information that sheds a somewhat different light on this incident. Foremost, that individual had notified security about the bear and had been warned repeatedly to remove the bird feeders from his residence as that was what was attracting the bear to the house. He refused to comply.
The article indicated that the individual was threatened by the bear. According to information received since the incident, the shooting happened when he arrived at his house and upon entering his garage heard scuffling on his roof. After getting his gun, he went outside and saw the bear hanging from the edge of his roof, whereupon he shot the bear three times.
Bears are going to take advantage of opportunities that provide them access to easy sources of food such as bird feeders, open garages and garbage cans that are not secured.
When situations such as this happen, there are other options available to homeowners such as pepper spray traps, rubber shotgun bullets and calling the Division of Wildlife, which may decide to relocate a bear, especially a young one. It is a shame that none of those methods was tried first in this incident.
Bill Stephenson Cordillera
Speaking the truth
In response to the excellent, insightful, well thought out, truth telling column by Bill Sepmeier, in two words, sir: Hear! Hear! Thank you for shining the light on the very roots of the problem as, not only a resort community, but as a state, a country, a people of this Earth.
Your parallel of the “freshman” will long remain in my thought process in trying to make sense of the craziness of our behavior. Some get it, but the expense of the vast majority that do not is putting us all in peril.
The Earth has been taking care of itself long before we got here, and will continue to do so after we are gone. We need to use our “superior intellect” to live with, not use up, our only true bank, the Earth.
You are so correct in that we are using up our “trust fund” living high with no regard to what happens down the road. As parasites on this globe, we need to learn to be interdependent and take good care of our host or we will eventually be discarded and cease to exist.
Talk about stealing from our grandchildren’s grandchildren! Right, left, white, black, American, Asian, Christian, Muslim makes no difference when we as a human race are cast off.
Got to hope, though. Hope that people like you are listened to and receive a larger voice. I encourage you (if you haven’t already) to submit your excellent thoughts to the Denver Post and beyond.
Raymond Metzler Greeley