Vail Daily letter: Rules of the road |

Vail Daily letter: Rules of the road

There are companies that take tourists to the top of Vail Pass in a van — from both sides, Vail and Copper Mountain, then let them coast back down on a bike. That’s fine — it’s more of an amusement park ride than a workout, but I don’t begrudge visitors from the lower levels of our planet the thrill of flying down the pass.

But as one of the many riders in the valley who does actually climb the 2,200-plus vertical feet before reaping the reward of a fast descent, I do begrudge the poor level of instruction tourists get from drivers and guides who set them free to make their way to the bottom. Three times in a single day last week, I came close to a collision because no one had told these downhill riders the “rules of the road” — or no one had told them loud enough — or no one had told them twice!

So this letter is an appeal to all those companies that rent-a-lift to tourists: Please more emphatically explain to people before they begin their ride down the mountain that, one, they should stay on the right side of the path, particularly where there’s a bold yellow line designed to prevent a downhill rider from plowing into someone going the other way (one of my near-misses was a day-dreamer in a group who forced me clear off the path); two, when they stop to take pictures or a piss or anything else, move all together off the path (another near-miss was coming around a curve and right there in the middle they were standing with their bikes, smiling for the camera); and, three, anyone going uphill has the right-of-way and where this counts is at the gate near the top of the pass (I had to screech to a halt on my own way down when a group of almost a dozen was stopped right at the gate, chatting away and oblivious to anyone trying to get through).

Sure, these are “First World” problems, but it’ll be safer here in our First World if the rent-a-lift companies that carry tourists to the top try harder to keep them, and us, safe.

Greg Dobbs

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