Summertime in Colorado brings so many great traditions, among them Ride The Rockies. Another summer tradition seems to be media trying to provoke tensions between cars and bicycles on our roads.
This year’s RTR crosses one of world’s highest suspension bridges over the Royal Gorge, but there is another gap that bicyclists need to cross: We need to do our part to increase understanding and cooperation on our public roads.
Recent stories in the news attempt to create an “us versus them” sensation around conflicts on the road. The reality is that most people in Colorado own both bicycles and a car and that our public roads serve many different vehicles. We are all “us” and “them.”
Colorado roads were mainly designed from a standard developed in the 1950s to move as many motor vehicles as quickly as possible. Over time our communities have changed and our neighbors and colleagues are seeking a variety of ways to get around. Driving is decreasing and bicycling is up. Now it is time for our roads and behaviors to catch up with the times.
Public roads have a new goal: to move people safely while giving them the freedom to choose how to get around town. Designing complete streets to help every person from age 8 to 80 arrive safely at their destination reduces conflict and injuries.
Bicycle Colorado is working as fast as resources allow to improve our roads and open up new transportation options for people. In addition, we reach out to all road users—people who drive, bike or walk—with tips for safe road behaviors. Here are a couple of short video examples: Bicycle Tips and Three Feet to Pass.
On board? Here are a couple easy things you can do to help:
- Remember the “3-2-1 Courtesy Code”– Give bicycles three feet when passing in a car, ride two abreast when clear and move to single file to help cars pass.
- Join the more than 5,000 people showing support for reduced tensions on the roads by getting a Share the Road license plate (link).
Now, whenever I pass a Share the Road sign, I also think of it as an opportunity to build a new bridge with others on the road.