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Our fine Utah politicians doing what they do best........

Park City Cycling Academy members ride along State Road 224 in Park City on Thursday. (Chris Detrick/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Bicyclists cruise along a narrow road. Motorists jockey for passing space. Horns honk. Fingers wag. Tempers flare.
Such are the tensions strung across Summit County's asphalt lanes as winter gives way to cycling season. And that friction intensified this week after an Oakley City Council member joked that cyclists should be taxed or run over.
Councilman DelRay Hatch's comment was a throwaway line during a meeting over whether to hike auto-registration fees. But it enraged cyclists, whose nerves are still raw after Park City rider Bill Corliss, 49, was killed in March while bicycling near Saratoga Springs in Utah County.
"My jaw pretty much just dropped," said Park City cyclist Todd Hageman. "Bill was one of my best friends. I'm still trying to deal with it."
Hageman said rural east-side residents should recognize Summit County is changing as more recreation seekers move into the area.
"Mr. Hatch complains about cyclists on the roads, but we have equal access to the right of way," he said.
The Oakley councilman explains he had no intention of running anyone down. Rather he merely attempted to lighten a stuffy meeting of the Summit County Council of Governments.
"I said, 'I'm going to be a little facetious. Why not impose a fee on bicyclists. They use the road. They could put a tag on them so I would know which ones to run over and which ones not to,' " Hatch recalled. "It was a joke."
Now he wishes he never had made the comment.
Nonetheless, Hatch notes it was born out of a growing frustration with cyclists on narrow roads, like the one between Oakley and Kamas.
"People tolerate two abreast," he said of the riders. "But they get three abreast and make a point of taking a whole lane."
The breaking point for many of the county's east-siders came last summer during 10 days of road races connected to the USA Cycling Championships held in Summit County.
"If you were behind them, you were delayed anywhere from one-half hour to an hour and you couldn't get around them," Hatch said. "It was a total fiasco."
Veteran cyclist Tom Noaker, of Oakley, said respect between motorists and bicycle riders is lacking.
"There has always been friction," he said. "But with Bill Corliss' death and with DelRay's comment, it really heats up the caldron."
Cyclists should do all they can to diminish frustrations for motorists, Noaker advised, including riding single file on narrow roads. And motorists should know the law requires them to leave three feet between autos and riders.
"But you get six inches from a truck mirror and you see the driver giving you the finger, there's not much you can do about it."
There is no quick fix, said County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme. Roadways need to be wider.
"Brown's Canyon is a good example," he said. "We just spent $7 million rebuilding it, and we put a 6-foot bike lane on either side of the road."
But even wider roads won't prevent fatalities, warned Malcolm Campbell, chairman of the Utah Bicycle Coalition. The group was formed in the wake of the death of 25-year-old Josie Johnson, who was run over while cycling in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Sept. 18, 2004.
"We are seeking to make drivers safer, cyclists safer and roads safer," Campbell said. "Our organization wants to open dialogue and look for mutually satisfactory solutions."
 
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