Letters for May 14, 2014

By on May 13, 2014

JACKSON, WYO – For Jackson’s teachers
It’s a great pleasure to preside over an awakening.

That moment when the mind moves from inchoate encounter to accomplished understanding is characteristic of the human condition. It is central to who we are and what we become. Development, in other words, is a joy. While it often occurs in children without their recognizing its importance, it is nonetheless astounding, and if we play a part in its occurrence, it is doubly so.

Those of us who are parents, understand this on an intuitive level. Our axons and dendrites surge along with our child’s when true learning takes place, and I wager to say our pleasure at the moment early in our child’s development is nearly always greater. There are fewer moments of true satisfaction than seeing for the first time that our children grasp the knowledge or wisdom we have to share. Perhaps the satisfaction was hard fought and achieved after disagreement and mind-numbing repetition; perhaps it was almost immediate. Whatever the time-frame, seeing education work is delightful.

An amazing thing about our society is that this delight also exists beyond parental bonds and interaction, as well as beyond the care of extended and close family. The delight of seeing learning take place is outside the home, down the street, or across town. It is in our schools and guided by the teachers of our children.

May 6th marked National Teachers Day in America, and I was gladdened to see children at Jackson Hole Elementary make their way to school that morning with flowers in hand. Flowers are fitting votives for springtime recognition of our community’s teachers and the coaching, guidance, and assistance they provide for leading our children to a more secure comprehension of this world and, perhaps, a fuller appreciation of their place in it.

It is always better to know than not, and our teachers are integral to the success of our children pivoting from ignorance to understanding. This applies not only to elementary school teachers, not only to high school teachers, nor only to teachers south of town or north of town. It applies to all teachers.

Is is easy to forget this as we entrench ourselves in opinion and hierarchize the ways we expect our children to learn. From squabbles over the value (or not) of Wyoming Common Core to disagreement about curricula, secularism, classical learning, or STEM, we claim our ground and defend its worth for the sake of our children and their future. The struggle is not unimportant. There is an overabundance to learn, and education is in everybody’s favor. The debates will continue.

But as they do, let’s remember as best we can that all of our community’s teachers work for something in addition to our hopes for children well-rounded and ready for the world. Teachers work as well for those moments of enlightenment and delight when a little less darkness will mark a child’s mind.

So in honor of past and future National Teachers Days—in honor of every day they work for my kid and yours—my thanks to Ms. Harland, Mr. Mike, and every other Jackson Hole educator in every Jackson Hole school.

— Brian Carr
Jackson, WY

Best bike town
Dear ToJ Council, thank you for your support in building the best bike network around town. Myself and my friends are great bikers and enjoy riding on the paths and streets. That said, I would like to bring to your attention the following matters:

While riding in town on streets which do not have dedicated bike paths, I have observed that many people forget to keep right while on their bicycle. They do not understand that the signs painted on the street mean “Share the Road, but keep right!”Because of the location of these painted signs, they believe it’s OK to ride in the middle of the lane.

This is an extract from Wyoming Statutes – Motor Vehicles – Title 31, Article 7:

31-5-704. Riding on roadways and designated paths.
(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

(b) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two (2) abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.

As a driver and biker in the Town of Jackson, starting with last summer season, the number of people riding in the center of the lane, especially in the downtown area has multiplied at least by 10. Not only do some people ride in the middle of the lane, but they fail to move over to the right when a vehicle approaches. This is in clear violation of the Wyoming Statutes. I am sure the officers of the Police Department have seen it all.
There is also an article in the municipal code which states:

10.12.120 Riding on right–Riding two abreast. 
Every person riding or operating a bicycle on any street, alley, or public place in the Town shall keep the bicycle on the extreme right of the traffic lane as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, and it is unlawful for two or more operators to operate their bicycles except in single file. (Ord. ___, 2008, Ord. 92 § 12, 1965.) 

There is no need to give out tickets for this matter. A simple movement to the right of the “Share the road” painted symbols would be a great help. Also, “KEEP RIGHT” should be painted together with the “Share the road” signs on the streets. Myself and other residents truly believe this a must in order to protect the safety of everyone. Please, please address this matter before the re-painting of streets this year.

It would also be great to run some ads on the radio to remind people of the correct way of riding a bicycle while sharing the road. Thank you!

— Local Residents of ToJ


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One Comment

  1. Ronald J

    May 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    While I agree there aren’t many good reason to intentionally obstruct traffic, I would also like to remind drivers and cyclists of these ordinances as well.

    10.12.080 Overtaking of bicyclists.
    “The operator of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall leave a safe distance, but not less than three (3)feet, when passing the bicycle and shall maintain safe distance until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle. (Ord. 896 §§ 1and 2, 2008.)”

    Too many times have I had a car zoom right past me way too close. I tend to use the whole road when I can’t safely get over. It prevents unsafe situations. I will get right as soon as I safely can, but if I can’t get my 3 feet without the fear of getting doored I will use the entire road and pull to the side when there is a break in the roadside parking. This is behavior is acceptable and is validated by on of the ordinance the letter writer cites. 10.12.120 Position on Roadway exemption 3

    “3. When reasonably necessary to
    avoid obstructions and hazards.”

    Getting doored is a very real hazard, and I am entitled to 3 feet of distance between me and the overtaking vehicle. If the condition of 3 feet can’t be met while avoiding inherent hazards of the road I will opt to use the entire lane and pull to the side when I can safely allow traffic to pass. I am avoiding a hazard and it is within my rights to do so. Cycling is an excellent summer time activity and sharing the road is important to keep community relations healthy. Let’s remember sharing goes both way.

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