Drivers clash with bicyclists on the East Side
June 15, 2010
Bicyclists and drivers are testing each other’s patience on the East Side.
Battles between cars and bikes have occurred for years on narrow highways in eastern Summit County. Cyclists claim drivers get too close, and honk or throw things.
But bicyclists litter, ignore stop signs and refuse to ride single file, drivers counter.
"[Bicyclists] are blocking the roads," Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioner Ken Henrie said last week. "Not even just during events, it’s happening when you get a large group."
Henrie spoke to members of the Summit County Council at a meeting in Coalville.
"There are a lot of bad feelings," Henrie said. "It maybe could be mitigated a little bit if we could get them off the main road."
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But the disdain for cyclists will not keep bikes off the roadways, County Councilman Chris Robinson said.
"I’m one of the culprits," Robinson said. "For anybody who wants to ride a bike, eastern Summit County is a wonderful place to do it."
"There are a lot of people who are biking on the roads over there and that is going to happen whether people like it or not," Summit County Councilman John Hanrahan said. "There has got to be a way to shift it so people view it as a good thing."
According to County Council Chairwoman Claudia McMullin, "the fact that it is not appreciated and liked is not going to change it."
"I think it’s important that we make it safer," she added.
Bicyclists often ride on State Road 32, a 55-mph road with no shoulders, Eastern Summit County Planning Commissioner Diane Foster said.
"It is a very serious issue," Foster said. "It’s not going to be pretty Something is going to happen."
Bicyclists are also disruptive and do not provide the East Side with "economic benefits," Henrie said.
"There is a serious sentiment against this," he said.
The operator of a Chevron station on the East Side "hates" bicyclists, Henrie said.
"They block his pumps. They block his business," he added. "They hang around there for hours at a time."
But money is spent by cyclists in communities where they ride, Hanrahan said.
"Let’s make it more attractive to businesses in the area that may benefit," he added.