Cyclist identified in Highway 340 crash, bikers speak out about safety of the road

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. 58 year-old Terry Brown has been identified by Colorado State Patrol as the cyclist who was hit by a car Monday night on Highway 340.

As of Wednesday night, he remains in the ICU in critical condition, according to trooper Dan Chermok.

His accident has Grand Valley cyclists speaking out, outraged over the safety of the highway.

"Sadly I was not surprised,” said cyclist Dan Ford. “There will be more accidents here if they don't do something."

"I was devastated because this section of highway has been a concern of ours for a long time as cyclists,” said Kristina Kittelson.

The Monument Loop is iconic; one of the most ridden roads on the entire Western Slope. For 9/10ths of a mile there is no shoulder, and cyclists say it’s just unacceptable.

"Over the years the drivers have gotten really aggressive and distracted on this highway,” said Kittelson. “With no shoulder I’ve actually quit riding the section as many people I know have.”

In 2013, cyclist John Hodge took action, petitioning CDOT to add a bike lane to the road, and gaining over 500 signatures.

"At least half of the people signing the petition were from outside of Mesa County meaning people are coming here, are riding the Colorado National Monument, going home, and remembering this road,” said Hodge.

He says it seemed that his petition fell on deaf ears.

"They said it was too little too late and that they had already diverted the funds to the Horizon Drive Project,” said Hodge.

CDOT’s Tracy Trulove says it’s easier said than done.

"In order to add bike lanes you have to go through much more of a reconstruction project, and the funding just wasn’t there to do that at the time,” said Trulove. “There’s a lot of challenges including right of way in some areas and also drainage. It could be a CDOT right of way or it could be owned by private land users.”

She adds that they have been working on the problem for years, and there may be some relief for cyclists soon.

"Our in-house maintenance group has identified areas where they will work to build out shoulders,” said Trulove. “They're going to start doing that this winter.”

While Trulove says there have been no reported cycling accidents in the past ten years despite Monday’s accident, cyclists say that every single week they have a close encounter with an oncoming car.

Local cyclist Scott Mercier says he's been speaking with Colorado State representative Yuelin Willet who is an avid cyclist himself.

According to Mercier, Willet met with CDOT Wednesday afternoon in Colorado Springs to see what can be done about this dangerous stretch of highway.



 
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