Drivers’ smartphones may stop cyclists’ dumb acts

Traveling along Colorado Highway 172 a couple weeks ago, we came across the Saturday cycling club. What happened to the riding-single-file rule? There were two large groups with three to five riders abreast. I watched as vehicles tried to snake their way around these inconsiderate spandex wearers, and saw the frustration of the drivers. I’m a cyclist myself, and I gently tooted my horn as I passed the pack. They returned the gesture with a single-finger wave. How do we stop these maniacs? Can law enforcement do nothing? Is there a number we can call to report illegal behavior? Of course, we would pull off the road at a safe place before making the call. – Spandex Sam and Lycra Lucy

The pugilistic peloton was dead wrong to be traveling in packs and flippantly flipping you off.

However, a “gentle toot” is still honking your horn in anger. It’s a parting shot that provoked a response that should come as no surprise, especially from those jerseyed jerks.

Therefore, Action Line must wag his finger (the index one) at both parties.

Section 42-4-1412 (6a) of the Colorado Revised Statutes clearly states that cyclists “shall not ride more than two abreast” on bike paths and in designated bike lanes.

The law continues: “Persons riding bicycles two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.”

Honking one’s horn is not going to prompt good cycling citizenship or obedience to the above directive.

When taken to the extreme, the act can backfire as it did this September near Boulder, when a 75-year-old miscreant tailed two cyclists and honked his horn incessantly.

The cyclists recorded the surreal encounter on their smartphones and posted it on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/bikehonk.

Based on the video, the old guy was cited for harassment and “improper use of a horn or warning device.”

Meanwhile, back in Southwest Colorado, what of the gearheads whose weekend social has become the equivalent of a mobile midday zombie march?

If bike packs are impeding traffic, the first step is to report the incident to nonemergency dispatch at (970) 385-2900.

Law-enforcement response will depend on many factors, including officer availability and the egregiousness of the rolling roadblock.

But let’s face it, cyclists riding gang-man style isn’t exactly a high priority for the handful of officers who must keep the peace across 1,700 square miles of La Plata County.

The best thing is to take a lesson from the Boulder bike riders and the lunatic honking his horn: Whip out your smartphone and film the biker’s anti-social behavior.

Then show the clip to law enforcement or post it online.

A “gotcha video” might be just the ticket to prompt a ticket.

durango colorado

Last week’s annual holiday poem filled the Mea Culpa Mailbag with Christmas cheer.

“Enjoyed our annual Christmas parody, as usual,” writes City Manager Ron LeBlanc, who wryly adds:

“I see that your counseling therapy has been marginally effective. It appears that 2012 was almost too good to be true. Sidney Spies, Florida Road Roundabout, etc. were gifts from god. May 2013 bring more insanity to your doorstep, I promise to do my part.”

Loyal reader, former newspaperwoman and proofreader Shelly Hartney caught an embarrassing typo and puts it to verse:

Well, Mike Smedley’s muffed doggerel made me so mad.

He just goofed in a spot than can seem very bad.

Now, the last name of “Rep. Mike” was misspelled, say I,

For McLaughlin is wrong. It’s McLachlan, no lie!

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you can explain why anyone would want to start a new year with disrupted sleep patterns and a hangover.