Montana Highway Patrol Keeps Cars and Bicyclists Safe on Highway 93 South [YouTube]
The bicycle pedestrian path between Lolo and Hamilton offers safety from vehicles speeding down Highway 93 South, except where vehicles must turn off the highway and possibly come in contact with those using the path.
Montana Highway Patrol Captain Jim Kitchen took a ride down Highway 93 South on Monday to examine the various intersections where such interactions might occur. He told KGVO News that there was no signage on the path to warn bicyclists and pedestrians about traffic entering the side roads.
"There's really no traffic control devices in place right now," Kitchen said. "That's something we might see in the future when the bike path is completed. The only positive feedback I could give about traveling on that bike path is to be watchful of all the traffic in the area, and if you're observing some bicyclists on the path, make sure that you signal your intention to turn off at least 300 feet in advance. and make sure you check the traffic behind you. It's just going to take more defensive driving and careful biking, as well. It's a lot easier if the bicyclist sees someone making a turn, it's a lot easier for you to slow down and not try to race through that intersection."
Kitchen said with the construction of the path from Missoula to Lolo, and continuing through to Hamilton, the increasing interaction between drivers and bicyclists on the highways will require more attention and cooperation by all.
"We want to make sure that nobody gets hurt out there," he said. "Some bicyclists think they have the right of way, and they can ride into traffic, but that's only in certain situations. You still need to ride single file on the highway and you should be taking precautions. Cars go 70 miles per hour on this highway down here, and bicyclists have more chances to observe what's going on and to stop, and to not create a hazard when they're riding their bicycles."
Construction of the bike path from Missoula to Lolo is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2016.