Courtesy, common sense due two wheels or four

No one but the allegedly drug-influenced driver of an SUV could have prevented the tragedy that occurred Wednesday on U.S. Highway 50 near Land’s End Road when a bicyclist was killed as the SUV veered onto the shoulder.

But other accidents, including another nonfatal one that occurred in the area Wednesday, could be prevented and hard feelings avoided if motorists and bicyclists paid attention to the rules of the road and were careful to watch out for each other.

“Share the road” has become a cliché, but it is still valuable advice for riders and drivers alike.

In Wednesday’s fatal crash, bicyclist Eunjey Cho, 25, was riding with a companion on the shoulder of eastbound Highway 50 when a Chevy Trailblazer driven by 29-year-old Tonie Rosales drifted onto the shoulder and struck Cho, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Rosales was jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Cho was airlifted to the hospital, but died late Wednesday afternoon. His riding companion was apparently not injured.

Our condolences to Cho’s family. It is horrible that his young life was abruptly ended while he was engaged in a healthy outdoor activity and was apparently following the rules. The prison time Rosales will likely receive if she is found guilty of his death is small consolation for the loss of Cho’s life.

Bicycling is a great means of staying physically fit and enjoying the beauty of western Colorado. But it is increasingly becoming an economic driver in this community. People come from all over the country to engage in cycling activities here, from extreme mountain biking in places like the Lunch Loop, to testing their road bike endurance and enjoying the scenery on rides over Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa and vineyard and orchard country. And they spend a good deal of money in this community when they visit with their bikes.

Motorists need to respect bikers and watch out for them. One critical part of doing that is to give them a wide berth on the highway, maintaining a minimum of three feet when passing. Being courteous, allowing cyclists room to turn and not crowding behind them at stop signs are also important.

However, as a letter on this page indicates, sometimes cyclists are less than respectful of motorists. But they must obey the laws, as well. They must move as far to the right as is safe and practicable. And, while it is legal to ride two abreast (but no more than two), Colorado law says cyclists cannot ride two abreast if they are impeding traffic.

More rules for motorists and cyclists, and links to state laws regarding bicycles, can be found at http://www.bicylecolo.org.

There is plenty of pavement in western Colorado and room for both two-wheeled and motorized vehicles. It just requires courtesy, common sense and being aware of others on the roads. And no one should be driving when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


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