Three of us (all females) left our homes in Park City early this past Sunday morning to enjoy a long ride over to Kamas and up Brown’s Canyon Road towards home. We all live here to enjoy the outdoor activities that this beautiful area offers.
A horn blew from behind us as we made our way into Kamas and turned right off S.R. 32 to stop at the Chevron for refreshments. From the gas station, we turned to see a man exit from his pickup truck and begin to argue with a motorist in a small car behind him. The car driver was angry that the truck had blocked his passage to the shoulder to make a right turn. The truck driver explained to the man that he blocked him because he was afraid we, on our bicycles, couldn’t be seen. The truck driver said that the cyclists had a green light, were in the proper lane, used the proper right-turn signals and had right-of-way.
As they continued to argue, a family in another car pulled up to us. A woman rolled down the window and told us we had caused the argument because surely we had crossed the intersection against the traffic light. We assured her we had a green light. She then told us we had obviously failed to give the proper turn signal. We assured her we all had made the correct right-turn hand signal. She had not actually witnessed our turn.
She then became more aggressive and told us that all cyclists make their lives miserable. She yelled at us that we didn’t pay taxes and had no right to use their roads. I offered that Utah law clearly states that motorists must share the road with and yield to pedestrians and cyclists. We three own our homes, and pay Park City and Summit county taxes on our vehicles and property.
Finally the woman told one of my friends that she hoped that she would "get slaughtered out there." We were stunned that this woman, who had not seen the incident, could so hatefully express this to a fellow human being. What sort of message was she sending to her small child, who was in the car with her?
I have read numerous accounts of near-accidents and antagonism towards cyclists in The Park Record. It has become common knowledge among avid road cyclists that verbal and physical attacks are becoming routine. My friends and I attended the "Share the Road" rally at the Miners Hospital and listened to many cyclists and pedestrians express their concern over this increasing hostility.
It is imperative that cyclists remember to use proper turn signals, ride in single file (no matter that the law allows two abreast), and use caution as we share the road with motorists. It is painfully clear that some Summit County residents not only think cyclists are a nuisance, but wish that they were dead.
Equally important is the need to educate city and county residents about laws governing pedestrian and cycling "rights-of-way." We urgently need our county law enforcement officials to become aware of the dire need to monitor our roads so we can peacefully coexist and hold accountable those motorists who seem to lack appreciation and respect for human life.
In addition, please read an adjacent letter with a detailed explanation from a representative of UDOT, explaining how county, state, and federal roads are funded. This may help Summit County residents understand how their roads are paid for and that all tax-paying residents of Utah "own" the roads.
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