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Old 09-02-08, 12:15 PM   #1
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Tragic death of a touring cyclist in Colorado

This happened in July. There are some interesting comments below the article. Thoughts or comments?

http://www.montrosepress.com/article...3615674811.txt
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Old 09-02-08, 12:19 PM   #2
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This was a supported tour in Colorado. Here is a link to one of the participants journal.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=3596&v=lb
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Old 09-02-08, 12:30 PM   #3
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We rode this road on our tour last month. I had heard about this incident before we left, but no details.

Living in the area I knew about the stretch of road between Colona and Ridgway where there is no shoulder for about 2 miles and the road is narrow and winding and people still go 60mph. I was quite nervous about that part of the tour.

When we got to the end of the shouldered road in Colona, my bf and I decided to run nose to tail and stay very close together so cars could pass both of us at once. It all went smoothly and the cars were accomodating until the very end of that narrow section when a large flatbed truck almost ran us off the road.

Some of the comments with that story were pretty harsh toward bicyclists.
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Old 09-02-08, 01:26 PM   #4
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Some of the comments were harsh.... and representative of what I have heard.

It is amazing how many people really believe that the posted speed limit is the slowest speed a person should go on any given road.

And the idiot that really thought there were only 2 options when coming up behind a slow bicycle with oncoming traffic... to hit the cyclist or go head on into opposing traffic. Slowing down until it was safe to pass didn't even cross his mind.
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Old 09-02-08, 03:00 PM   #5
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Drivers and no shoulders were my biggest fear on the TA. There were a couple of portions on the route where bikes should not be and I was expecting to be hit.

Drivers, (the vast majority) will not slow and wait for oncoming traffic to pass. They will squeeze by come hell or high water. The notion of slowing to wait for traffic to pass is not a thought that occurs to 99% of them. I was blown off the road three times. Kissed once by an RV. Drivers do not love us. At all. I had several conversations with people who expressed nothing but distain for bicyclists. One encouraged her children to bean them with water bottles. Folks, it's not safe out there. Ride defensively, pull off (if possible) when trucks and opposing traffic converge. And, there's nothing you can do about knuckleheads. Ya roll the dice if you want to play the game. Again - it's not safe. There were times when I was absolutely terrified to be riding.

All that and several sections of the TA has to be changed for the protection of riders. They had better start thinking about it.
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Old 09-02-08, 03:22 PM   #6
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One encouraged her children to bean them with water bottles.
Now that is such a nice thing to teach your children. Did you actually hear this woman say this? Did you confront her? Maybe ask her what she thinks it would feel like with a manslaughter charge on her record.

It just amazes me how people just can't slow down. It makes no sense to get all upset over a few cyclists, buzzing by them at a high rate of speed at the risk of killing someone.

I have a number of people that show me curiosity, giving me amble room, only to go by me at a very high rate of speed in the opposite lane. I'm just waiting for a head on collision to occur right in front of me.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:52 AM   #7
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If you ever come to Ireland, please choose your routes very carefully, especially in the midlands. I've found some really nasty roads that I never want to cycle again. Similar attitude - "Why is a slow cyclist slowing me down on this narrow road?".

Disappointly, I was blown off the road by a semi on my recent tour in France. This is one of, if not *the* best countries in the world to cycle in. This was on a busy highway with no shoulders, and I should have taken the first exit I found off the road (I was in a hurry to my destination to get a train). Semi blew by me around 6"-1ft away at around 60-70mph. Scary!
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Old 09-03-08, 08:40 AM   #8
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All that and several sections of the TA has to be changed for the protection of riders. They had better start thinking about it.
Just my opinion, but...
I didn't find a single road on the TA to be as bad as riding just about anywhere I go near home. I found the TA route to be relatively safe and the vast majority of drivers to be courteous. None of my group was ever run off the road and I think we generally felt reasonable safe the entire way. Drivers generally allowed at least 3' which I consider adequate.

People were overwhelmingly friendly on and off the road. We got waves or rock on gestures at least 100 times more often that we got flipped off or had a horn blown at us. In fact I probably have some kind of hostile encounter with a vehicle 50 times as often at home than on the TA.

Out of curiosity, specifically what sections bothered you?
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Old 09-03-08, 01:01 PM   #9
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Drivers always seem to be in a hurry and slowing down seems to be the last thing they will do. Unfortunately for us cyclists who are always slower and are at a distinct disadvantage. This was made evident to me riding on a two day trip from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara this past weekend. On the second day riding about 5 miles south of Lompoc on the 1 going S. I noticed a car going N. driving rather fast. Right after the car got behind me I heard screeching of tires. I looked back to see the car at a right angle to the road heading into the southbound lane, then dust clouds as the car veered off the road into a ditch. I turned around to find the car on its side in the ditch. I walked down to the car at the same time a few motorists showed up. We pushed the car so the person could get out. The driver of the car was OK.
One of the other drivers had been passed by this car and noticed one of the rear tires was very low as they got passed. Apparently, the driver knew she had a low tire and wanted to get to a service station before it went completely flat. Whether she was going too fast or the low tire contributed to the loss of control, I don't know, BTW, this happened in a curve in the road. What I do know is that if I had been a minute later in my ride, I would have been fighting to avoid getting pasted by an out control car coming right into me. My takeaway is that I felt a little like I was an alien in another world at the mercy of irresponsible drivers that have little to lose by their actions. I as a cyclist had everything to lose as I surely would have if she hit me.
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Old 09-03-08, 05:40 PM   #10
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There was a feller killed couple years ago just north of Canon City, on organized tour. Hit from behind on a flat, straight section of road in good weather, daytime by off duty cop, so hard nearly decapitated. The dude was a bike safety trainer for Bike Friday so he also knew what he was doing. Never heard what happened to the cop. Probably promoted him to Sheriff of Denver.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:07 PM   #11
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RIP Bill Bliss.

http://www.bikefriday.com/billbliss

This is good reading:

http://www.bikefriday.com/node/232
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Old 09-04-08, 07:30 AM   #12
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"Did you actually hear this woman say this? Did you confront her?"

Oh, yeah. She said it to my face. And yes, I confronted her. Actually, she confronted me and I wouldn't stand for it. Logic was lost on her. She actually threatened me several times. The conversation, if that's the real term, started off: "Hey you, sprocket-head!"

"None of my group was ever run off the road and I think we generally felt reasonable safe the entire way."

P, I believe young women and multiple riders got a much bigger break from drivers than a solo male rider. In fact, I'm certain of it. I think solo riders pay the price for arrogant groups of riders. And there's a few, make no mistake.

"Out of curiosity, specifically what sections bothered you?"

The road to Stevensville is one. I was expecting to be hit at any time the entire lenght. Solid two-way traffic. Also, the road after Hazard Creek were there is no shoulder of any sort and it wends its way through a (fortunately) short canyon with double log trucks passing on either side. I got off my bike and walked it, as traffic allowed. I believe these were both in Montana. I'd have to consult the maps to be more specific. I will too, because I'm writing ACA about them. I know they love thier TA route, but this ain't 1976 anymore. There were other places as well, but those two stand out.

Last edited by foamy; 09-04-08 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:25 AM   #13
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"None of my group was ever run off the road and I think we generally felt reasonable safe the entire way."

P, I believe young women and multiple riders got a much bigger break from drivers than a solo male rider. In fact, I'm certain of it.
I agree that young women and groups probably get treated differently than a solo male rider. We were what appeared to be a father and two daughters, so we were probably the ideal group in this regard.

OTOH, groups are harder to pass unless small and riding very close together.

Most of the riders we met along the way seemed satisfied with the route and seemed to be surprised at how courteous and friendly the people they met both on and off the roads were.

There was one guy we met who had problems everywhere he went, but he was the only one. He had problems with staff at motels, campgrounds, and stores. He met hostile people in most towns. We just figured he expected problems so he found them due to having that vibe. He was the only person we met who mentioned any such issues.

We met an a-hole here and there, but they were few and far between. Overall our impression of the folks we met on and off the road was extremely positive. We were actually surprised at how courteous and friendly most motorists and truckers in particular were.

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I think solo riders pay the price for arrogant groups of riders. And there's a few, make no mistake.
Not sure I see what you are getting at here. Do you mean groups of tourists? Arrogant in what way?

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"Out of curiosity, specifically what sections bothered you?"

The road to Stevensville is one. I was expecting to be hit at any time the entire lenght. Solid two-way traffic. Also, the road after Hazard Creek were there is no shoulder of any sort and it wends its way through a (fortunately) short canyon with double log trucks passing on either side. I got off my bike and walked it, as traffic allowed. I believe these were both in Montana. I'd have to consult the maps to be more specific. I will too, because I'm writing ACA about them. I know they love thier TA route, but this ain't 1976 anymore. There were other places as well, but those two stand out.
I don't remember the specifics of the road to Stevensville (Rt 93 right?), but I vaguely remember that being a pleasant day for us. We were going the other direction and may have been there a different day of the week or time of day, but nothing about the road really sticks out in my mind, so it certainly wasn't an ordeal to me.

I have no idea where Hazard Creek is. The only one I found was in Idaho, but didn't seem to be on the TA route.

I will say that we were generally lucky about hitting places at times when problem traffic just wasn't there. There were a number of times when locals commented that we were lucky to hit places at a time when the traffic was particularly good either because of day of week, or time of day. Sometimes this was by plan, but mostly it was by dumb luck.

The only place I really remember other riders complaining about the roads or traffic were in Yellowstone and the section on Interstate 80. The folks who complained about I80 didn't actually ride it but took a ride from a motorist instead. I80 seemed pretty safe to us although not very aesthetically pleasing. The guys who complained about Yellowstone rode through it on Saturday and Sunday morning. I have to admit that I was a slightly nervous about all the rental RVs in Yellowstone, but we didn't have any problems.
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Old 09-04-08, 04:44 PM   #14
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Oh, don't get me wrong, The only ephiphany I had on the trip was that this is one great country filled with great people. I had a great time, met loads of friendly, interesting folks with a few exceptions.

The arrogance I'm speaking of is riders who hog lanes riding two or three abreast and/or won't ride the shoulder when it's sprinkled with gravel etc. and expect vehicles to go around them, which they do, but riding in the road when there's a wide shoulder exasperates drivers and solo riders are easier to take it out on.

P, that Stevensville road gave me new gray hair. I rode it during a weekday during the early afternoon. Happily, it was followed by the nicest bike path I've ever been on. I'll try and figure out the road with the canyon and no where to go. And yes, generally I was happy with the route, but I do think a few changes are in order.
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Old 09-04-08, 05:28 PM   #15
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I am glad you came away with a favorable impression of the folks you met. I felt like the great folks we met were a big part of what made a trip like that worth doing.

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The arrogance I'm speaking of is riders who hog lanes riding two or three abreast and/or won't ride the shoulder when it's sprinkled with gravel etc. and expect vehicles to go around them, which they do, but riding in the road when there's a wide shoulder exasperates drivers and solo riders are easier to take it out on.
Hmmm, you might have put us in that category. We didn't ride on rough shoulders if traffic was light. We rode each a bit to the left of the one ahead and therefore kind of strung out across the lane at times in order to draft when there was a strong quartering wind day in and day out in Kansas. There was very little traffic then, like a car every 10 minutes, and we did move right when a car was coming. Once or twice we didn't move over in time and someone had to go around, but never when there was oncoming traffic. I never considered it a problem, but a couple drivers may have been put out.

We probably weren't too obnoxious though because we got tons of waves and rock-on gestures from cars and semis alike. We almost got tired of smiling and waving. I had kind of expected truckers to be hostile, but most were friendly and courteous. The guys hauling coal or logs and getting paid by the load were in a big hurry as expected, but they weren't bad either. Some passed a bit close, but I thought they were generally allowing just enough space that I wasn't worried. If a rental RV passed that close I might have worried, but the coal and log guys are pro's and I trust them to know how wide/close they are.

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P, that Stevensville road gave me new gray hair. I rode it during a weekday during the early afternoon. Happily, it was followed by the nicest bike path I've ever been on. I'll try and figure out the road with the canyon and no where to go. And yes, generally I was happy with the route, but I do think a few changes are in order.
We were on the section of road near Stevensville late in the day on a Monday, and even after looking back at our pictures I can't recall anything that was a problem in that area, maybe traffic was lighter late in the day.

There were places where we passed through on a Sunday and folks said "Wow you were lucky to be here on a Sunday, there are lots of logging trucks on this stretch during the week". It seemed like we were leading a charmed life
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