Share the road, crowd told
Robin Valline sat in a wheelchair at City Park recently, his body still healing from a when a driver struck him as he rode his bicycle at Quinn’s Junction in June.
Valline’s appearance is the poignant event during a rally meaning to encourage drivers to respect bicyclists and people walking alongside the road and vice versa.
The organizers dubbed the event the ‘Share the Road Rally,’ and people like Valline and others injured in accidents talked to the crowd, numbering about 100, urging them to be safe.
"It’s growing in importance. There’s more and more people here, more and more cars, more people riding bicycles," Valline says in an interview, his left arm in a cast that is decorated with a sticker promoting the ‘Share the Road’ thinking.
Valline continues to recover as a discussion about how to keep people safe on the roads unfolds in Park City.
The event occurred as City Hall prepares to launch what is expected to be a wide-ranging study of how bicyclists and walkers can be safer. The Park City Council in June, during the government’s annual budget talks, approved a $150,000 earmark for the study.
A group of Parkites calling itself the Coalition for Safe Streets pressed for the budget money, testifying to the elected officials and organizing a pack of bicyclists to ride to City Hall in solidarity before a hearing.
The City Council on Thursday is scheduled to discuss making Park City easier to navigate for people not in cars. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. in the City Council’s chambers at City Hall.
Valline, who is 50 years old and a semi-retired gallery owner and art consultant, says bicyclists must realize to ride single file when they are on the streets but says that drivers in some places become annoyed when bicyclists are riding on streets.
"I see there is a big resistance in some of the communities and an attitude in the rural countryside here that bicyclists are a nuisance," Valline says.
Park City is full of bicyclists, walkers and hikers and for years the local government has tried to make the community a safe spot for people not driving cars, using methods like crosswalks, signs and bicycle lanes.
Carol Potter, the executive director of Mountain Trails Foundation, a non-profit, is pleased with the turnout at the rally and the discussions occurring in the Park City area. She sees the idea to make Park City safer for walkers and bicyclists as having momentum.
"It’s just on a roll. I’m so thrilled. When I got here, Park City was backcountry mountain biking," she says, explaining that, in the last few years, more Parkites are riding on roads instead of driving.
Potter hopes that City Hall secures grants for trails and funds to make routes to schools safer. She says that publicity like T-shirts and educational programs, is the best way to teach bicyclists and drivers about safety.
"The only way I know to do this is beat it into them," she says, adding, "Just so they remember ‘Share the road,’ ‘Share the road.’"
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