Thursday, June 20, 2019
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Busyness reminder: Don’t assume you have the right-of-way

As we head into what is traditionally the second busiest weekend of the summer I’d like to throw out another safety reminder. 
A friend said he had a confrontation with someone at the Four-way Stop that carried over a few days later. As explained, he was driving into town and stopped at the stop sign. As he started up, a dad and kid on bikes popped in front of him and he shook his head and told them they couldn’t do that. 
The dad later angrily confronted my friend saying that bikes had the right-of-way at intersections. They don’t. 
A couple of things. That sort of extended confrontation may speak to the stress of the busyness of this summer. See page 2, where walking the razor’s edge is mentioned. 
More important are the rules in a communal society. Bikes do not have special privileges and in fact are required by law to stop and enter the flow of traffic as a vehicle. Even in Crested Butte, bikes are not special. I am sometimes guilty of not coming to a complete stop at the Four-way on my bike but I always look at all the drivers to see if it is okay to proceed. 
Which leads to the next issue. It only makes sense as a pedestrian or biker to slow down and communicate with your eyes or your mouth with people driving 3,000-pound cars. Teach your kids to look both ways before crossing the street. Not every driver pays attention and like it or not, a car can do more damage to someone on a bike than that bike will do to the F-150. 
I’ve seen kids blindly assume they can cross Elk Avenue anywhere just because they are pedestrians, and they seem to have the attitude that every car will automatically stop. They won’t. So drive, bike and walk defensively to avoid a tragedy.
As we start the slow-down of the summer season, take a breath and step off the razor’s edge. Don’t let the stress of the moment turn you into agro-man. Use common sense and don’t assume you have the right-of-way, no matter what you are doing at a crosswalk. Just something to think about as we move into August….

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