Finding common ground
May 31, 2011
With the fourth-annual "Share the Road" event set to ride this Monday, June 6, Scott Dudevoir of ColeSport is trying to deliver a message to folks who prefer two different modes of transportation.
The ride is a biking-awareness initiative created after Park City resident and cyclist extraordinaire Bill Corliss was killed while riding near Saratoga Springs in March 2006.
Sharing the road correctly is of utmost importance and that is why Dudevoir and ColeSport continue to fight for both sides to respect road equality and safety.
"It really works both ways," Dudevoir said. "I think motorists certainly have a brake pedal I don’t think they use all the time, but certainly cyclists don’t always abide by the rules."
Dudevoir said the often-animated relationship between cyclists and motorists hits a boiling point at times, but says organized rides such as this will help breed a desired middle ground.
"It is all about presently spreading the word about what’s going on and trying to educate the community," he said.
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Dudevoir used an example of a close friend who used to ridicule cyclists in Brown’s Canyon prior to the start of construction a couple years back. He said his friend couldn’t quite fathom slowing down and avoiding cyclists and said the necessity to drift into the oncoming lane, caused by the bikers, was dangerous.
"We aren’t here to scrutinize," Dudevoir said. "The message is: If cyclists end up abiding by more rules, it’ll end up taking more pressure off the motorists and vice versa."
Dudevoir, who acts as an ombudsman of sorts, says cyclists in and around Park City often don’t stop at red lights or stop signs, which, in turn, put much more pressure on motorists to always keep a watchful eye.
"That’s the thing I’m trying to get across," he said. "We really shouldn’t do that."
Captain Rick Ryan of the Park City Police Department said the department has been in support of the ride since its inception and sees its importance.
"Members of the community see it, they have an interest and can find out what the message is," he said.
"I have not had anyone come forward with any negative comments about (the ride). Everything has always been positive; comments that it’s a great contribution to the community. People enjoy seeing that participation."
Dudevoir and other members of the Share the Road committee are also searching for answers with the city on how things can become easier for both cyclists and motorists on the pavement. For example, they are exploring whether bikers can ride two abreast on the shoulder.
"There’s some gray areas," Dudevoir said.
As Park City’s cycling community continues to boom, Dudevoir said there is still much work to be done. He looks around the country at very cycling-friendly communities and sees that same potential right here in town.
"You’ve got a brake pedal," he said. "You don’t have to be going over 60 miles an hour all the time."
The Share the Road committee is going through steps to help put signs up around Summit County asking cyclists and drivers to share the road. While the process is, as Dudevoir said, "painstaking," there are some signs already up: One is on Highway 32 near Jordanelle Reservoir and one on the frontage road behind Home Depot.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is also conducting a share-the-road-type event scheduled to weave through the entire state that will be rolling through Park City on June 14.
"That’ll be another way for us to spread the word," Dudevoir said.
The local ride is a 17-mile trek that will begin in the ColeSport parking lot on Park Avenue on Monday, June 6, at 5:45 p.m. It is a no-drop event, meaning there will be a rider in the back to stay with the last rider.
Dudevoir called it a "social ride" and not considered a race. The group, which he estimates will be around 100 or so, will have a police escort through almost the entire race.
The ride will take Highway 224 to Old Ranch Road to Trailside to Silver Summit parkway, over Highway 40, right on the frontage behind Home Depot and then back in on Highway 248.
When asked what it means to have the support of the city, the Park City Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s office, Dudevoir said, "They’re volunteering their time, which is very nice. They believe in it."
"Anytime you can heighten people’s safety awareness on the road is a benefit to everyone," Ryan said.