Speeding bicyclists clashing with cars

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Bicyclists flouting the rules of the road and using the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road like a race track have become an increasing problem, rangers said this week.

Rangers have begun watching the summit road’s intersection with the Park Loop Road because of an increasing number of bicyclists running the stop sign there at 15 to 20 miles per hour.

“We’re seeing a big increase in what I’d call serious bikers,” Ranger Richard Rechholtz said. Many are riding on special racing bikes costing thousands of dollars. And, they are using the Park Loop Road and the summit road like race tracks for timed runs and to see who can get down first.

“They are disregarding the speed limits, passing other vehicles on double yellow lines and not stopping for stop signs or pedestrians in a crosswalk,” he explained. “Bicyclists have to obey the same rules on paved roads as drivers.” That includes speed limits, traffic control signs and riding in the correct direction on one-way stretches of road.

Ranger Rechholtz said that bicyclists are often subject to aggressive behavior on the part of motorists, but recently it seems to be the other way around. “There is an increase in confrontations between riders and motorists, especially on Cadillac,” he said. “It’s not always the motorists’ fault.”

While some of the bikers in question are transient visitors, many appear to be people who live in the area or who spend summers here, he continued. Some are just teenagers, while many are older adult males that should know better, he added.

Rangers have been responding to an increase in bicycle accidents, both on carriage roads and on paved highways.

“We’re hoping to get the message out that people have to ride responsibly,” Ranger Rechholtz said.

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.

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