November 30 2005, 8:41 AM
If you're a cyclist in Colorado, your inbox has no doubt been flooded in the last few days with outraged emails regarding a new policy that would dramatically affect the state's most popular bike events.
Elephant Rock, the state's largest organized bicycle tour, "will likely simply go away" because of a new order by the Colorado State Patrol to limit such tours to 2,500 riders, the tour's director said Tuesday. The annual Compass Bank Elephant Rock Bicycle Festival attracted some 6,800 people to the tour through Douglas and El Paso counties in June. "This will make Colorado one of the least bicycle-friendly states in the nation," Elephant Rock tour director Scot Harris said.Other popular cycling events that regularly attract more than 2,500 riders include the Triple Bypass, the Iron Horse Classic, the MS 150, the Courage Classic, the Tour de Cure, the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, and the Mt. Evans Hill Climb (an event sponsored by 5280). The state patrol cites safety concerns as the reason for the change, though all of the affected events have strong safety records. Harris tells VeloNews that the Elephant Rock ride has had...
...only one car-bike crash in the 19-year history of this event. States like New York, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, and California safely handle events with 10,000, 20,000 and even 30,000 bicyclists. There is no reason Colorado cannot do so as well."What's worse (and not mentioned in the Rocky's story), the patrol's policy reserves the right to lower the limit further at any time. Bicycle Colorado, an advocacy group, has set up on online petition, calling on the highway patrol to reconsider its ruling.