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Horse trailers and bicycles sharing narrow county roads
Dear Street Smarts, Q: I live on skinny, windy Hazel Dell Road where I often horse trailer around and pass bicyclists aplenty, especially on weekends. Just this last weekend, and only a few minutes apart, I passed two sets of bicyclists with difficulty and an adrenaline rush. Not just once but twice, neither sets of bicyclists moved over into single file to let me and my rig pass. When trailering my horses, I always honk softly as I approach bicyclists. Sometimes, I have to follow behind them for a spell so they can find a safe place to move over for me to pass and that is OK. But in this case, both sets of bicyclists had safe opportunities to pull over and they did not. This lack of sharing the road is a huge problem on Hazel Dell Road and I’m sure it is a chronic problem in many areas throughout Santa Cruz County. As a resident of Hazel Dell Road, I do not understand how visitors in my neighborhood can be so disrespectful. I was so upset this last time, I contacted my county supervisor, the Highway Patrol and my local newspapers, as well as some local bicycling groups in the hopes of finding ways to co-habitate and lessen the problem. My past experiences find the majority of bicyclists very respectful on trails and on roads. I totally support multi-use and enjoy sharing the outdoors with bicyclists, equestrians, hikers and dog walkers alike. It’s really disheartening that it’s only the minority of disrespectful bicyclists that give ALL bicyclists a bad name. Even worse, do these few disrespectful bicyclists realize the negative impact on all other users, including themselves, as a result of their behavior? I hope people read this and take it as a constructive reminder for everyone to share the roads and trails in a courteous, friendly, and safe manner. Debra Means, Corralitos A: Patience is your best tool when it comes to cyclists on narrow county roads. "Pulling a trailer, especially one with precious or valuable cargo, has its own considerations," said officer Sarah Jackson, spokesperson for the CHP's Aptos office and horse rider. "You have a longer breaking and acceleration time and a lot longer clearance, all which make passing especially dangerous for all involved. When I pull a trailer, I have a 'no passing' policy for that reason. The extra two minutes you may gain as a result are just not worth it."