Good morning, Mr. Action Line. I feel compelled to give you my observations from my 87-year perspective regarding U.S. Highway 550 north from town to Hermosa. Recently, I was reprimanded by an ignorant driver for making a right turn from the right-hand driving lane. He insisted the correct way to turn was to use the shoulder. Wrong! The shoulder is not a right-turn pocket; it’s too narrow. Also, bicyclists still ride two and three abreast since it is so convenient on the shoulder. Also wrong! – Eric Greene
Action Line can’t help but start with a corny joke: Two wrongs don’t make a right. But what do two rights make?
The first airplane!
Anyway, this has nothing to do with your well-seasoned watchfulness in the Hermosa metroplex, which certainly has seen many changes over the years.
Action Line recalls the time when U.S. 550 north was a straight shot up the valley.
Making a right turn off the highway was not all that common – there was not much to turn off to. To plagiarize Gertrude Stein, there was no there there.
Today, we have several additional access driveways and a stoplight at Trimble, plus acceleration and deceleration lanes for the traffic flowing in and out of Dalton Ranch.
It brings up an important question about Dalton Ranch:
How does an elk balance on a golf ball?
Wapiti are ungainly ungulates that couldn’t possibly perch on a diminutive dimpled orb.
But that, too, has nothing to do with right-hand turns.
As you can tell, Action Line is stalling for time. Ahem, here’s some doubly bad news coming down the pike.
First, let’s review the admonition from that “ignorant driver” who scolded you for not using the shoulder to turn.
That motorist was 100 percent correct.
We look to the Colorado Revised Statutes for clarification. Specifically, it’s found in Section 42-4-901, “Required Position and Method of Turning.”
“Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway,” the law reads.
Though the paved shoulder is not as wide as a traffic lane, you need to pull over when turning so you don’t block oncoming traffic.
The second observation (bike riders wrongly riding in groups) also needs some amplification.
You’re well aware that Action Line is not a fan of scofflaw pack-riders, particularly on narrow county roads.
But Colorado law does allow cyclists to ride two abreast in certain cases, and this exception applies to U.S. Highway 550, which features a wide, paved shoulder.
Again, we turn to the state statutes, this time Section 42-2-1412 called “Operation of Bicycles and Other Human-Powered Vehicles.”
“Persons operating bicycles on roadways shall ride single file; except that riding no more than two abreast is permitted in the following circumstances:
“When riding two abreast will not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic; or when riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall ride within a single lane.”
Note to pack riders: Two means two. There’s no Larry-Curly-Moe exception no matter how wide the shoulder.
And speaking of shoulders, you should pull onto them when making a right turn.
If you don’t pull to the far right, you are no different than those pack-riding bikers who block traffic.
So there’s your old-fashioned tutorial on multi-modal modernity.
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