Drivers, Bicyclists Must Learn to Share the Roads

By opinion | Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY), January 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

Drivers, Bicyclists Must Learn to Share the Roads


opinion, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY)


Those who bicycle on the streets of Cheyenne should raise a hand in salute to City Hall. Just be sure to maintain a straight course as you guide your bike with the other hand.

The recent announcement that officials will spend $157,000 to put bike lanes from downtown to Lions Park and back - with more to come - should be music to your ears. This is a long-overdue, but still welcome, recognition that that the Capital City is about more than pickup trucks, oversized SUVs and black smoke-belching diesel rigs.

Hey, don't get me wrong. The drivers of these vehicles have every right to the streets. They pay their fifth-penny sales taxes and state sales taxes and other taxes that keep Cheyenne's roadways in good shape.

But, ahem, so do those who travel those streets on two wheels, propelled by their legs. They, too, pay their fifth-penny sales taxes and state sales taxes and other taxes that keep Cheyenne's roadways in good shape.

And that is what continues to be so disconcerting about the debate underway here about bicycle paths and trails, as well as making Cheyenne (really, all of Laramie County) more multi-modal friendly. This will be ever more important as this city seeks to prepare itself for the future. If Cheyenne cannot adapt to modern trends - like the need to provide for alternative forms of transportation besides fossil fuel-powered vehicles - it will continue to chase away the very young people that it says it so dearly wants to attract and keep.

I wrote here about the anti-biking attitudes of many locals about six weeks ago, and bitter, angry, almost threatening comments continue to appear on the WTE website.

Consider just three: "How about since the roads were constructed for automobile use, using money provided by the drivers of those automobiles, you, by way of a bicycle tax, fund your own bike lanes and extra needs?" "Bicycle riders free wheel - they don't follow the rules of the road very often. ? They are risky, arrogant, generally think they own the road." "I will be calling the cops on (every biker) that breaks even the most minor traffic law. Once again the taxpayer gets stuck paying for and future maintaining something that isn't needed. If the bicyclists want this so bad, let them pay for it." But this is where those who opposed bicycling on city streets get it wrong. The roadways already are supposed to be shared between motor vehicles and bikes. That is why there are Wyoming laws requiring drivers to make way for bicyclists when they meet up with them.

Just because up to now bicyclists have been mainly absent from the city's streets - unlike, say, Fort Collins, Colorado - does not mean they have forfeited their access to cars, pickups and SUVs. …

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