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Yesterday I had a meeting about the Hattie McDaniel house, and while we were walking along Cherry to see the house, my friend mentioned a situation she’d been in the day before with a cyclist. It was a good reminder to me that there are safety issues on the streets that I just assume everyone is aware of, but that’s not always the case. In this situation, a bicyclist hadn’t taken into account the fact that wet leaves from snow melt can create a really exciting slip ‘n slide.

As cars pass along the street, their movement blows dry leaves out of the vehicle lane and into the bicycle lane.

As cars pass along the street, their movement blows dry leaves out of the vehicle lane and into the bicycle lane.

My friend was in her car, driving along Mulberry. She noticed a cyclist closing in fast from an intersecting street. Unsure what he was going to do, she started to slow down. Turns out he was making a turn, which he proceeded to do. If he had been able to complete the turn, he would have been safe and away before she reached the intersecting street.

But this was right after our snow the other day. It had melted and the streets were clear… except for the leaves. The wet leaves.

Cycle-dude hit those leaves, his bike went flying out from under him, and my friend said all she saw was the utter look of terror on his face as he hit the street right in front of her car. Thankfully she had noticed him before this all happened and had adjusted her speed just in case. So all was well in the end. But I suspect there’s a cyclist out there in Fort Collins this week that has a much better sense of just how careful you have to be on wet leaves.

The City will be cleaning up leaves soon, but snowfall could delay or cancel the street cleaner.

The City will be cleaning up leaves soon, but snowfall could delay or cancel the street cleaner.

So take a lesson from this young man who is alive and well today because a motorist saw him coming and adapted for a “just in case” situation.

Wet leaves can be a bane to cyclists, and the blowing action of passing cars often scatters them right into our lanes. The City will be coming through and cleaning them up. But in the meantime, if there’s a thick patch of leafiness, it might be best to take the lane — ride in the vehicle lane until the bike lane is clear again.

Stay safe out there, FoCo!