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Boulder County cyclist-motorist conflict study may be model for

The Longmont Times-Call: Boulder County cyclist-motorist conflict study may be model for other areas

By John Fryar
© 2010 Longmont Times-Call

BOULDER — A process of crafting recommendations for reducing conflicts between cyclists and motorists sharing mountain canyon roads may someday be adapted to other parts of Boulder County.

For the time being, though, an initial county-sponsored effort to improve the safety of both drivers and bicycle riders has focused on such mountain routes as Lee Hill Drive, Olde Stage Road, James Canyon Drive and Lefthand Canyon Drive.

On Thursday, Boulder County commissioners got a report from representatives of a panel of motorists, cyclists and mountain residents that met several times last year before crafting a package of recommendations for physical roadway improvements, increased law enforcement, and education and outreach efforts.

County transportation director George Gerstle said that working group was formed to see if anything could be done to reduce tensions among riders, drivers and residents.

The results of the panel’s recommendations are expected to be tested this spring and summer, when the bicycling season begins.

The only member of the general public to speak at Thursday’s commissioners’ meeting was Helen Bushnell, who lives east of Boulder, on Ord Drive near Baseline Road.

Bushnell said the working group’s report assumes that most bicycle riders are recreational cyclists but that where she lives, many of those cyclists are commuters “going somewhere.”

Gerstle said he wanted to see if the process of getting stakeholders together to address potential problems on the mountain roads would work, before applying it to other parts of Boulder County.

While the working-group process itself might someday be applied elsewhere, Gerstle said, the recommendations for reducing
cyclist-motorist conflicts on mountain roads wouldn’t necessarily be the right solutions for situations that drivers and riders encounter elsewhere in the county.

County commissioners Ben Pearlman, Will Toor and Cindy Domenico applauded the working-group process and the mountain roadway-sharing recommendations that have resulted.

Reducing potential conflicts will be an increasingly important issue throughout the county as both recreational and commuter cycling increases, Toor said, because Boulder County already is becoming “one of the centers of the bicycling world.”