Sharing The Road In Colorado Is Not A Luxury, It’s A Law

Road Bike Sign
At AAMCO Colorado, we want all motorists to drive safely. This requires a vehicle that is safe to drive, which means that if you need an Arvada Auto Repair, or an Aurora Car Repair, or even a Transmission Repair in Denver, you should be quick to find the nearest AAMCO Location nearest you. Be sure your vehicle is ready this upcoming winter!

There is a video online, which can be viewed Here, that has started a stir in the cycling groups within Colorado. The video is of a man tailgating two cyclists on the road last month and harassing them for over 5 minutes by driving closely and honking his horn behind them. It persisted for so long that witnesses admitted to having to drive around the driver, James Ernst of Erie, while traffic backed up behind him.

The Result
The video was caught by one of two cyclists, who were riding on a two lane road which did not have a shoulder. The two riders attempted to be polite by riding on the outside of the white line, which by law is not required. They also rode single file to give more room to passing drivers. Eventually, the two bicyclists had to stop entirely to let the enraged man pass. Fortunately, the the video captured an image of the mans license plate which they subsequently turned in. Police officers tracked down Mr. Ernst and issued him a citation for harassment, impeding the flow of traffic, and improper use of a horn.

The Law: The Bicycle Safety Act
The Bicycle Safety Act was passed in Colorado in 2009. There are many parts to it, but in essence it states that all motor vehicles must allow three feet to separate cyclists and motorists when in passing, which also allows vehicles to cross yellow lines when passing. Cyclists, on their part, must ride as far right as the deem safe. As a vehicle approaches from behind, all cyclists must fall into single file so as to give motorists the chance to pass. Beyond that, it pretty much requires both cyclists and motorists to use common sense and decency with others on the road. This, obviously, does not mean you can scare cyclists by driving to close on purpose, nor harass them by using your vehicles horn unless needed.

The Reason
For starters, James Ernst is 75 years old, so it can be well assumed he has never been one to enjoy the thrill of riding a bike. As a sport it hasn’t become popular until relatively recently and you should be able to understand why a surly old man may have a hard time sharing the road. He probably hadn’t had to do it for decades upon decades. People hate change, and Ernst no doubt has seen much in his 75 years worth of living. Also, Colorado has an enormous cycling population, which means there are an abnormal amount of cyclists on the road at any point and time.

Having to dodge and be aware of those trying to share the road shouldn’t be a nuisance, or annoying. But coming from a non-cyclist, it is. Especially when cyclists are supposed to be beholden to the same rules motorists are, yet they often breeze through red lights, stop signs, and find the only time the rules apply to them is when it’s in their favor. Now this is obviously not always the case, and having grown up with many cyclists around, I am quite able to not let the rage set in. However, some craggy old man is probably not as able. This by no means makes what he did right, and rather, it was quite mean tempered and uncalled for, and as such, Ernst should be ashamed for acting like a child. Perhaps next time, rather than enduring a drivers harassment, you should just let the man pass. That would have quickly and easily resolved the issue. Not to mention it probably didn’t calm him down when the cameras were brought out, if anything that would have just set him off more. How upset would they have been willing to make an elderly man who was enraged and tailing them in a vehicle that ways multiple tons? Seems a little short sighted, but either way the cyclists were in the right, and James Ernst hopefully will have learned his lesson in a obtaining a little patience with having to share the road.

If you are interested in an Aurora Auto Repair or Transmission Repair, be sure to find an AAMCO dealership near you. Because those who know, go to AAMCO!