To the editor:
I wanted to write to address an important issue here in Vail. Heading west on Mary Ann Cleveland on a busy Tuesday morning after dropping my daughter off at school, I approached a large group of bicyclists. I slowed down and got as far left as I could. Now, I should note that these bicyclists were staggered diagonally, nearly halfway on the road. Then, to my surprise, the bicyclists began breaking off of their makeshift peloton and heading to the front, further encroaching on the vehicle lane. This racing took place from just east of Empire High School to Houghton Road.
I am an avid road cyclist, and I have ridden my road bike since high school, participating in the wonderful races and events that Tucson holds. We are fortunate in Tucson to have such supported streets, and even The Loop, that has bicycle lanes so that we may enjoy riding around during our nearly year-round beautiful sunny days. With that being said, what I saw on that Tuesday morning was appalling. These bicyclists had zero regard for other vehicles on the road and presented a potentially very unsafe roadway. Racing in a peloton has its place, but it is certainly not on a two-way, extremely busy, main street in Vail. I understand that riding in a large group can give you a kind of rush and excitement, but racing on major roadways and riding in car lanes is completely foolish, unsafe and against what most bicyclists stand for- safety. Every bicyclist it seems, myself included, have been affected by a fellow bicyclist that has been hit or killed by drivers on the roadway. I ask then, why do bicyclists, then, put themselves into a very dangerous situation on the roadway, putting not only themselves at risk, but also the other drivers that they share the road with? I would have let this type of behavior slide seeing it just the one time, although I was so bothered by their reckless behavior.
However, I have continued to see such behavior over the last 3 weeks. Bicyclists riding in the roadway, riding diagonally staggered into the car path, and standing on their pedals and pounding their way to the front as if they are in the home stretch of a Tour de France Stage. I understand the joys of riding a bike in Tucson, and like I said, we are very fortunate to have such a bicycle friendly city, but the bicycle lanes are there for a reason. Riding onto the car path, racing on busy city streets, and putting all of those on the road in danger is completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed. This behavior cannot continue if we are looking to build a safe, bicycle friendly city. There are plenty of roadways in Tucson, namely The Loop, which provides bicyclists a car-free cycling experience. These bicyclists need to use the appropriate roadways to conduct their reckless behavior. This is a very big issue here in Vail, and I am certain it will be addressed.
Mr. Andrews, Vail Resident.