Cyclists rally for shared roads | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cyclists rally for shared roads

AVON, Colorado ” When it comes to motorists and cyclists sharing the road, David McHugh said cars always win. Vail Valley cyclists got together Wednesday for the second annual Ride of Silence here ” it was the seventh annual ride for cyclists around the world. The Ride of Silence is like a procession ” cyclists silently ride in a straight row at a slow pace and reflect on all the cyclists who have died while sharing the roads, said Linda Guerrette, the local organizer of the ride. “I feel pretty strongly about getting the word out about sharing the road,” she said. Guerrette said the Ride of Silence is about making the road safe for everyone, from cyclists who log thousands of miles per year to the families out on an afternoon ride. McHugh knows what can happen out there because his friend, Brett Malin, a Vail cyclist, was killed by a semi truck in New Mexico while riding in a race. McHugh missed last year’s ride, but he made it Wednesday. He said not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about Malin, so he wanted to ride in his honor and help spread the word to motorists about sharing the road. “(Motorists) should realize the car is going to win every time,” he said. A new Colorado law, passed just this month, requires motorists to pass cyclists with at least 3 feet of space. Moving the steering wheel a couple of inches, McHugh said, could mean saving a life. Steve Holland, a Vail cyclist, said the problem is that 3 feet could look like one thing to one driver, and a completely different distance to another. He just wants drivers to be more aware of cyclists and to share the road. Guerrette spoke to the group of about 30 cyclists before they headed from the Beaver Creek Bear parking lot to Dowd Junction and back and told them to set examples for sharing the road, especially when they’re driving their cars. The problem with cycling laws like the one Colorado just passed is that cyclists typically know about them, but motorists don’t, she said. “Unfortunately, people around (cyclists) don’t necessarily know the same rights,” she said. Another misconception is that bikers have bike paths wherever they go and should stay on them, she said. There are bike paths throughout the valley, but they’re not everywhere. The paths are often recreational paths, meaning cyclists might come across a woman pushing a stroller or someone out walking the dogs. “A lot of times it’s actually safer to be on the road than on the bike paths,” she said. While cyclists try to ride on paths whenever they can, many agree riding on the road is frightening. “It scares the daylights out of me,” said Lauren Bailey, an Avon cyclist.

Cyclists, drivers need to share the road

I manage Pearl Izumi, a local business in the cycling industry and am a cyclist. There are many in our community who utilize a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. While I recognize that roadway space is a finite resource, more people on bikes really is better for drivers: less people in cars means less traffic for you. Cyclists are not pedestrians. They are not required to use crosswalks. They follow the rules of the road and are considered a car. While I understand that it can be frustrating for a driver to wait to pass a cyclist on the road, it is legal to ride two abreast in the states of California and Nevada when not impeding traffic. The nationwide standard for passing cyclists is 3 feet, which is now law in Nevada. Road cyclists are very different from recreational cyclists and are not required to ride on bike paths. Road cyclists are often traveling at speeds that are equal to those of automobiles and those speeds create unsafe conditions for slower recreational cyclists and the families and tourists that utilize our bike paths. Cyclists have a right to ride on the road, though they should always be doing so in the direction of traffic. If they are not following the rules of the road, they can be ticketed for a traffic violation just as an automobile driver can be. It is extremely dangerous for cyclists when people lose their tempers. Two cars can have a minor fender bender but if a car and a cyclist collide, the cyclist could die. It is not worth it for either party. I hope that I can see cyclists and drivers co-exist on better terms in my community. Lauren Lindley South Lake Tahoe

Tahoe motorists perturbed over cyclists in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — On the heels of America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride rolling around Lake Tahoe earlier this month, locals are reminding bikers and motorists that safety is a two-way street. "I believe if we share the road, we truly have to share the road," said Dr. Tim Schroeder, a Tahoe City resident and former competitive cyclist. "It doesn't go one way." The 23rd annual bike ride sponsored by Bike the West and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society started and ended at Montbleu Casino Resort & Spa at Stateline on June 1. Roughly 3,500 cyclists circled Lake Tahoe clockwise, and aside from Northbound Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road) being closed from 6:30-8:30 a.m., the lake's highways were open to through traffic during the ride. According to accounts from Schroeder and other locals, the bike ride presented safety issues due to cyclists riding abreast and in packs, and refusing to move to the side to allow vehicles to pass. "They are attempting to take over the road, and people get pretty edgy," Schroeder said. Curtis Fong, founder, CEO and event director of TGFT Productions / Bike the West — which produces America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride — said safety is of the "utmost concern." To ensure safety, Fong said the public is noticed of the event in advance; signs reminding cyclists to share the road and ride single-file are placed along the course route; participants are provided a list of road rules they must follow and initial a waiver; and race monitors are out on the course, as well as law enforcement officials. "Rider behavior is something we are concerned about," Fong said. "It comes down to law enforcement issuing a citation. … I can't enforce the law. All I can do is ask people to follow the law." Apparently, not all do. During the June 1 ride, Kathy Davisson of Tahoe City said she witnessed a near-collision between cyclists and pedestrians at the stoplight by the Bridgetender and Fanny Bridge when a few cyclists failed to stop at a red light. "I was shocked," she said. "It scared me. They were going so fast. … It could have been worse; (the pedestrians) could have been hit." This incident raised a question for her. "We are supposed to share the road with them. Do they get to ignore stoplights and endanger lives?" she asked. "I am not against the races at all. … As I do not race, I guess I would just like to know if the 'rules of the road' apply to the cyclists, as well." Fong said he thinks only a "very minority percentage" of participants break the rules, with this year's America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride being a "relatively" safe ride. Only two riders reported injuries — one participant went down on his bike and the other experienced a respiratory issue, Fong said. No conflicts between vehicles and other cyclists were reported. Below are some safety tips from various sources and laws for cyclists and motorists when traveling the region's busy roadways this summer. For bicyclists: Obey traffic rules including road signs, stoplights and lane markings. Use hand signals before making turns or changing lanes to warn traffic around you. Ride with the flow of traffic. Ride in single-file lines, especially when a vehicle is behind and trying to pass. Watch for surface hazards, roadway changes and vehicles. Use lights and reflectors at night. Wear a helmet. For motorists: Pay attention to bicyclists. Slow down and give extra room when passing a bicyclist (beginning Sept. 16, California law requires motorists to maintain a 3-foot buffer between themselves and cyclists while safely passing). After passing a bicyclist on your right, check to make sure there is enough room before moving over. Don't pass bicyclists if you will be making a right turn immediately afterward. Don't blast your horn when approaching bicyclists. It could startle them and cause an accident. Before opening a car door, look for bicyclists who may be approaching. Don't obstruct or block bike lanes when parking.

Tour de Tahoe cyclists to circle the lake Sunday

It's not necessarily the 72-mile distance of this weekend's Tour de Tahoe bicycle ride that will challenge participants, it's the altitude. The clockwise road ride around the lake starts Sunday morning and continues through the late afternoon. More than 4,000 feet of climbing is included in the Tour de Tahoe. Among the ascents is an 800-foot pedal to a rest stop overlooking Emerald Bay and a 1,000-foot climb to Spooner Junction from the North Shore. The ride is geared toward relatively fit recreational cyclists, said event director Curtis Fong. "What I think is challenging, other than the fact that there are two major climbs, is the altitude," Fong said. "It is a challenging ride for riders that live at sea level," he added. About 1,800 cyclists are expected to take part in the 13th annual ride. The Tour de Tahoe starts and ends in the parking lot of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe. Other than the actual pedaling, many of the details are handled by the race. "I think the thing the riders appreciate is that our rides are fully supported," Fong said. Food, beverages, mechanical support and medical assistance are provided along the ride. Emerald Bay, Homewood Mountain Resort, Kings Beach and Spooner Junction are among the rides rest stops. "All riders have to do is get on their bikes, pin on their bib, put on their wristband and ride," Fong said. Tour de Tahoe grew out of Bike the West's America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, as demand from cyclists outgrew the number of available spots for the summer ride. With the drop in road traffic following the Labor Day Weekend, it seemed like a natural time to host a second bike ride, Fong said. The avid cyclist is emphasizing safety and sharing the road this year following concerns from Caltrans regarding bicyclists obeying the rules of the road. "Share the road means share the road with everyone using the roadway, Fong said. "Safety is really the key," he added. No road closures are scheduled for the ride. Motorists should be aware of cyclists on the road and plan a little extra time to get to their destinations Sunday, Fong said. The ride starts at 6:45 a.m. and riders are typically done by 4 or 5 p.m. KRLT 93.9 will have updates on where the bulk of the riders are throughout the day. Some of the updates will be coming from a first-hand perspective. Comedian, radio host and Lake Tahoe Action columnist Howie Nave will be participating in his first Tour de Tahoe and will be doing call-ins during the ride. For Nave, the ride represents the final cog in a Tahoe cycling adventure. "The Tour De Tahoe is actually the culmination of this past year doing all of these bike rides around Tahoe discovering just about every bike trail out there that the basin has to offer," Nave said in an email. Fong said he expects there to be some late registration for the ride available. The late/same-day registration fee is $145. More information on Sunday's ride is available at http://www.bikethewest.com.

Letters to the editor for Sept. 24

After reading Sarah Binks’ letter to the editor, “Biking under the influence law seems too harsh” (Aug. 19), I’d like to take a moment and remind Ms. Binks that bicycles are bound to the same rules and regulations as any other vehicle of the road. This includes, and is not limited to, riding with traffic (not against like I’ve seen so many others do), coming to a complete stop at all stop signs/signals (not riding through them and getting upset when a driver almost hits them), riding single file (not two, three or four abreast in the lane, slowing traffic until it’s safe for cars to pass them), and operating your vehicle (bicycle) in a safe, unimpaired manner (not under the influence of any substance). Now, Ms. Binks may think that I’m anti-cycling. Quite the opposite. I’d rather commute by bike than car; however, the commute over Kingsbury prevents this on a daily basis. I believe in cars and bikes sharing the roadways, yet more often than not, cyclists seem to feel they are immune to the laws of the road. Would the inclusion of safe bike paths benefit both sides? Possibly. Do cars need to be more accepting of cyclists on the road? Yes. Do cyclists need to honor the rules/regulations of the roads? Yes. In your letter, Ms. Binks, you say “there is a difference between that (being drunk in public) and simply riding your bike home after a few drinks” and that you’d “rather be in an accident with an intoxicated cyclist than an intoxicated SUV driver any day.” Fair enough. I just hope you’re wearing a helmet if/when that accident occurs. Safety should be first and foremost when operating any and all vehicles in an unimpaired manner when in public, using public roads, and bound by public laws. Shawn Lester Gardnerville

Road riding on an upswing

Judging from the number of road bikes on the racks of gleaming cars and the frequent sight of cyclists on South Shore roads, one can guess that the secret, if there ever was one, of Tahoe being a dream road bike destination might be out. Blame the scenic beauty of the Lake Tahoe Basin and the opportunity to circle the lake. Or the roads shooting away from the Basin, such as Highway 89 toward Alpine County, that make for challenging, lengthy rides with less traffic. Curtis Fong, who heads two organized rides around the lake, attributes the popularity in cycling to a French event and a Texas rider. “Road biking I think has really picked up because of the Tour de France and the Lance Armstrong era,” he said. As the seven-time winner of the tour and a walking heroic story of beating cancer, Armstrong is a draw. During the one day he attended the American Century Championship golf tournament at Edgewood Lake Tahoe last month, throngs of fans and onlookers made it seem Tiger Woods was on the course. America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride started 15 years ago with 500 riders, Fong said. This year the event, which offers the 72-mile loop of the lake and a 100-mile century ride, had more than 3,000 riders, Fong said. Then there’s the Death Ride. In its 26th year, the course includes 129 miles and five mountain passes with more than 15,000 feet of climbing. The 3,000 entrants were picked by a lottery system from a pool of 5,000 hopefuls. Jerald Lasarow enjoys the chance to begin his ride outside his Tahoe Keys home and hit only one stoplight on his way to Blue Lakes Road off Highway 88 in Alpine County, a ride of more than 60 miles when completed. “That’s rare to find something like that,” Lasarow said. “It’s nice to get into a rhythm.” Highway 89 is often used by cyclists. The route can take a pedal pusher past Luther Pass to Pickett’s Junction, where locations such as Markleeville, Caples Lake, the Carson Valley and Kirkwood can be reached. “If you drive 60 mph through Hope Valley (in Alpine County) you don’t get to soak in the scenery as much as riding on the bike,” Lasarow said. Rides in Alpine County can be especially serene in the fall when the fluttering leaves of Aspen trees famously turn bright orange along the roadways, seemingly creating patches of fire along the forested valley floor. “I think road bikers like long stretches of roadway and constant stretches of roadway and riding at their own pace,” Fong said. As cyclists learn to love Tahoe’s offering of road-biking bliss, they will also learn the perils of biking in an area sometimes overrun by tourists sightseeing in their cars. The peril is motorists not looking at the stretches of road in front of them but distracted by mountain scenery. There are other dangers as well. Kent Wattanachinda, owner of Watta Bike Shop in Meyers, heard a customer was riding Luther Pass a month ago and was hit by a water bottle thrown from a passing vehicle. “I couldn’t believe people would do something like that,” he said. Surprisingly, the scenery is also blamed for bike accidents. Two crashes near Rubicon Bay during America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride prompted Fong to visit the stretch of pavement with personnel from Meeks Bay Fire Protection District. While spotting nothing major in the road, Fong hypothesized a view of Lake Tahoe might have distracted the riders. “The only thing we could come up with is it’s an area of scenic beauty,” he said. But the positives outweigh the negatives in road biking. While there are some calls for a bike path around Lake Tahoe, smoother roads and more signage prompting motorists to share the road with cyclists, there are few complaints about Tahoe’s road biking opportunities. Lasarow, who is gearing for a return trip to Europe for a road-biking trip to France, said Lake Tahoe is one of the “better parts” around for road cycling. “I get spoiled when I ride up here,” he said.

Letters to the editor

To the editor: As a South Lake Tahoe resident, there is no possible way I can ignore the vicious action being taken against our environment. Law enforcement is designed to serve and protect our community, recognizing the rights of the citizens who reside here. However, an animal obviously does not maintain those same rights. Is it fair to assume that, as population increases, the space needed for human residency also increases? Why are we giving law enforcement the godlike power to take away life whenever they see fit? I am greatly disturbed by this last action against a defenseless baby bear cub. It is stated in the Tahoe Daily Tribune that rubber bullets have previously been used to deter bears out of residential areas. Why now is live ammunition used and why does the sheriff’s department state it they will “look into it?” I want decisive action stating that, as a citizen, my rights are not being violated. Ask yourself – what if my dog was digging though a trash can? Would law enforcement officials start pumping rounds into my pet? Every human being has a responsibility tied to the environment. Lake Tahoe’s environment is like no other, including its beautiful animal population. I feel that my rights, as well as that bear cub’s rights, were completely violated. Neither of us had any say about whether or not the cub had a choice to live. Other choices were available: relocate the cub, use rubber bullets, or do anything else that exercises common sense and intelligence. Could another choice have been made? Do all animals have to die because we humans cannot come up with a better solution? I need and want a second statement from the sheriff’s department telling me what they found after “looking into using rubber bullets.” This statement should be “sooner” rather than later as our legal system tends to show us slow results on important decisions that shape society. Paul Wilson Jr. South Lake Tahoe Maybe we should give the right to arm bears To the editor: After reading the article about the 2-year-old bear that was shot in Homewood, I am sickened. Words cannot describe the feeling in my heart when I read that this bear was wounded and disabled by what appears to be gunshot from a private citizen’s firearm. I am against shooting these animals unless absolutely necessary and if a civilian takes aim and shoots, it better be a shot that lays that animal down dead and not suffering with wounds and injuries, not to mention a bullet in his hide. My heart is broken thinking of that poor bear – and although we have the right to bear arms, maybe we should give the right to arm bears. Karen Smith Stateline Get off the couch and give cycling a chance To the editor: This letter is in response to the letter written by Mark Workman ( “There isn’t enough road to share,” Aug. 6). He states in his letter that cyclists should stay off Highway 89 because it is too dangerous and ride only on bike trails. He states riding a bicycle there is extreme and stupid. Well, I have a different angle to share regarding cycling that I hope Mr. Workman will consider before he takes one of us out. I am a mother, a professional and an avid cyclist. Riding keeps me in very good physical health and keeps my stress levels low. I ride with many other avid cyclists who are professionals and members of the Alta Alpina Cycling Club. Cyclists do not use bike paths for a reason. It is too dangerous for ourselves and others using the bike baths. Road cyclists usually are traveling at a high rate of speed and, if in a pack, are in a tight pace-line. Imagine a pack of cyclist traveling at 25 mph down the bike path full of children, dogs, in-line skaters and mothers with strollers. It would be very unsafe for road cyclists to ride on the bike path as you can clearly see. I agree with Mr. Workman that Emerald Bay is not the safest road for us. We constantly deal with roads that have no bike lane. But remember, cyclists have the same rights as motorists when sharing the road. Emerald Bay is a gateway to many roads we like to ride on the West Shore as well as riding clockwise around the lake. What if Mr. Workman was to slow down when approaching a cyclist and safely pass us when the road is clear? What a novel idea! I implore Mr. Workman to get off his couch and try the sport of cycling. It will improve his health and possibly change his negativity regarding cyclists. Believe me, Mr. Workman, we do not want to be your hood ornament. I will be looking over my shoulder more often these days as I cycle around Emerald Bay. Yeah, bike trails aren’t cool, and neither are you, Mr. Workman. Darla Mazzoni South Lake Tahoe Another take on sharing the road To the editor: I totally agree with Mr. Workman. We should get rid of all “Share the Road” signs and those ridiculous “Yield” and “Stop” signs, too. He’s absolutely correct! There’s not enough room on the road for everybody. Tahoe roadways should be designated for beer delivery trucks only, but when I have to choose between Mr. Workman or the beer … well … Mr. Workman, you are gonna lose. Carla Hamill South Lake Tahoe No excuse for unsafe driving around cyclists To the editor: A letter to the editor last Friday was very successful on a couple of issues: first, to remind people that there are people out there with different perspectives on life; and second, to present many good reasons why automobiles shouldn’t be allowed to drive around Emerald Bay. Restricting auto travel may be a bit severe, so let me just address the writer’s flawed opinion: Your description of how you were driving sounds quite dangerous. If you were traveling so fast you had to slam on your brakes to avoid death then you were traveling too fast. I’m glad you recalled the “Share the Road” sign because not only is it a reminder, but it is the law. You seem to think that cyclists may be the only hazard on the road. What if there had been a pedestrian or a rental scooter traveling 25 miles an hour? Or better yet, one of those beer trucks creeping along or a boulder on the road. Should everybody clear out of your way? It is your responsibility to travel at a safe speed, not necessarily at the speed limit. To make a point about the law, if you come upon a slow-moving vehicle and there’s a double yellow line in the center of the road, is it legal to pass? As to bike trails, the same rules apply: If you’re traveling at speeds dangerous to yourself and others, you shouldn’t be on the bike trail. Obviously, you’ve never utilized a bike trail or you would know that they are not only used by cyclists, but by walkers, runners, roller bladers, and kids on scooters. Would you appreciate being run down by a cyclist while you were walking one of these trails? This is the reason cyclists are allowed on the roads: speeds that are safe on the road may not be safe on the bike trail. My advice to you is to re-think your priorities and put all life in front of, or equal to, your own. Joe Marzocco South Lake Tahoe

Tour de Tahoe cyclists to circle the lake Sunday

It's not necessarily the 72-mile distance of this weekend's Tour de Tahoe bicycle ride that will challenge participants; it's the altitude. The clockwise road ride around the lake starts Sunday morning, Sept. 13, and it continues through the late afternoon. More than 4,000 feet of climbing is included in the Tour de Tahoe. Among the ascents is an 800-foot pedal to a rest stop overlooking Emerald Bay and a 1,000-foot climb to Spooner Junction from the North Shore. The ride is geared toward relatively fit recreational cyclists, said event director Curtis Fong. "What I think is challenging, other than the fact that there are two major climbs, is the altitude," he said. "It is a challenging ride for riders that live at sea level." About 1,800 cyclists are expected to take part in the 13th annual ride. The Tour de Tahoe starts and ends in the parking lot of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe. Other than the actual pedaling, many of the details are handled by the race. "I think the thing the riders appreciate is that our rides are fully supported," Fong said. Food, beverages, mechanical support and medical assistance are provided along the ride. Emerald Bay, Homewood Mountain Resort, Kings Beach and Spooner Junction are among the ride's rest stops. "All riders have to do is get on their bikes, pin on their bib, put on their wristband and ride," Fong said. Tour de Tahoe grew out of Bike the West's America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, as demand from cyclists outgrew the number of available spots for the summer ride. With the drop in road traffic following Labor Day Weekend, it seemed like a natural time to host a second bike ride, Fong said. The avid cyclist is emphasizing safety and sharing the road this year following concerns from Caltrans regarding bicyclists obeying rules of the road. "Safety is really the key," Fong added. No road closures are scheduled for the ride. Motorists should be aware of cyclists and plan a little extra time to get to their destinations Sunday. The ride starts at 6:45 a.m. and riders are typically done by 4 or 5 p.m. KRLT 93.9 will have updates on where the bulk of the riders are throughout the day. Some of the updates will be coming from a first-hand perspective. Comedian, radio host and Lake Tahoe Action columnist Howie Nave will be participating in his first Tour de Tahoe, and he will be doing call-ins during the ride. For Nave, the ride represents the final cog in a Tahoe cycling adventure. "The Tour De Tahoe is actually the culmination of this past year — doing all of these bike rides around Tahoe, discovering just about every bike trail out there that the basin has to offer," Nave said in an email. Fong said he expects late registration for the ride to be available. The late/same-day registration fee is $145. More information on Sunday's ride is located at http://www.bikethewest.com.

America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride attracts more than 3,000 cyclists

Good news for those who have just decided they want to participate in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride: Registration for the 2009 event will be available in January. Registration for the 17th annual ride Sunday is sold out and closed, and it’s probably not a good idea to enter America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride on a whim, anyway: The shortest option is 35 miles. “You have to be able to ride a hundred miles at altitude, No. 1,” said organizer Curtis Fong. “It’s not for beginners.” The 3,300 riders who have registered for the 100-mile century, 72-mile tour or 35-mile fun ride/boat cruise will start out from Horizon Casino Resort early Sunday morning. In the interest of safety, they’ll be the only ones who may proceed past the traffic-control point near Camp Richardson between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Cyclists must present three forms of identification at traffic control – a wristband, helmet sticker and number. “Everybody really has to be a conditioned rider and have to be experienced riders in riding roadways with other people,” Fong said. The event begins with a check-in and bike-safety check for registered riders from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at Tahoe Sports Limited at the Village Center. Another check-in is at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at Horizon. Century riders have a window of four to 15 minutes between 6 and 7 a.m. to start, and 72-mile riders have a two- to 15-minute start window from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Cyclists participating in the 35-mile fun ride and boat cruise must start from 6:45 to 7 a.m. From there, they ride a mile to the Ski Run Marina and board the Tahoe Queen for an 8 a.m. trip across the lake. The rest of the riders pedal clockwise around Lake Tahoe, with an 800-foot climb to a rest stop overlooking Emerald Bay and a 1,000-foot climb to Spooner Junction. The elevation ranges between 6,300 and 7,100 feet, and cyclists will gain more than 2,600 vertical feet. More than 1,800 of the riders are participating with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America’s Team in Training, and many of those are riding the century, which adds an out-and-back to Truckee on Highway 89 and the bike trail. Volunteers will staff rest stops at Emerald Bay, Homewood, Truckee (for century riders), Kings Beach (with lunch) and Spooner Junction. All rest stops have first-aid and technical support available, and the first three will have drop bags for cyclists to discard clothing. There will be a sag wagon, and organizers will ask riders who come in behind cutoff times to use it to catch up. “Without those volunteers, the ride couldn’t happen,” Fong said. “I want to thank the volunteers.” The 35-mile cyclists will rejoin the ride for the final stretch back to the Horizon. Emerald Bay Road will be closed to all traffic from 6:15 to 8:45 a.m. Sunday. Motorists should be ready to share the road with cyclists on the whole route. A few spots might be open for riders to register on the day of the event at Horizon. Late fees apply, and organizers are asking unregistered cyclists not to participate to ensure safety and allow America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride to continue in the future. “We just hope everybody rides single-file and has a safe ride,” Fong said.

Letter — Bike improve quality of life

As one of the coordinators of the monthly Tahoe Critical Mass, I would like to respond to the sentiments that were expressed in Aug. 8 weekend’s paper. I sympathize with motorists — I too drive a car, and can become very agitated when someone or something is blocking my path. However, I find that on a regular basis that something is not a cyclist, but another vehicle. It seems that if our streets were less congested, then our frustrations would subside. How can we achieve this? More public transportation and more cyclists. As it stands now, riding on many streets is not safe for cyclists or for drivers. There is a reason why the bike paths in the city are not utilized by riders or the critical mass: not only are they extremely short in distance, they also do not allow cyclists to safely or legally cross the road when they end. The bike path on Lake Tahoe Boulevard paralleling the lake is often congested with not only cyclists, but pedestrians. In addition, the bike path in Meyers is dilapidated, and riding on the path is not required by law. What is required, however, is that motorists and drivers share the road, as stated on page 56 of the California Driver’s Handbook. In regards to the idea that cyclists should have to pay for bike lanes to be constructed, I am interested to hear what other basic community services essential to an improved quality of life will be added to the bill. If this is to be the rule of thumb, shall we charge pedestrians for their use of sidewalks and crosswalks? As a resident of South Lake, an automobile owner and property owner, I feel that I pay enough taxes as it stands. I would hope that readers would be able to understand that bike lanes are so much more than recreation. What we are dealing with is a quality of life issue and the allocation of funds to support the well-being of a community. Riding a bike not only is physically rewarding, but it also relieves stress, reduces air pollution and traffic, costs less than driving a car and it is FUN! In a time when our country is so dependant on foreign oil that we are willing to spend billions of dollars overseas when people in our own community are denied full access to healthcare and education, it seems that we would be able to focus on alternative means that, once again, improve the quality of life. Jennifer Gurecki South Lake Tahoe