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Alfalfa Market Road-Sharing Sparks Friction


Winding, twisting, rising and falling, Alfalfa Market Road east of Bend has seen some friction between some motorists and cyclists. And one motorist who lives in the area says it’s clear that cyclists need to get over more.

Andy Andrews has lived out in Alfalfa for the past 20 years, and drives down Alfalfa Market Road almost every day.

Andrews says he, like many residents, share the same sentiment when driving out on Alfalfa Market Road.

“When we go over ridges or over a berm or a highway, we can’t see them (cyclists),” Andrews said.

In the past four years, he says, the road has gotten busier with them.

“We just want them to understand the possibilities of getting killed out here, and what can happen,” Andrews said.

Andrews says he has had some pretty close calls with cyclists — with him having to slam on his brakes, or to cross into oncoming traffic. He also says he has seen some cyclists riding four, even five abreast.

“It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it causes real commotion,” Andrews said.

Sunnyside Sports owner and cyclist Gary Bonacker has ridden out on Alfalfa Market Road many times, and says the road is indeed pretty skinny for cyclists.

“There’s a lot of places where it’s best to be single-file. It’s not that you want to be, but I also don’t want to end up in the emergency room,” Bonacker said Monday evening.

Bonacker says he’s sympathetic for the motorists who are fed up with cyclists — and also for the cyclists who are fed up with motorists.

“It goes both ways,” he said. “We need to find a balance, and we need to find a method, so we can both utilize these roads.”

Finding that balance is what Andrews also wants done for those who share the road, and especially for the cyclists.

“Somebody is going to die out here, and it’s a shame,” Andrews said.

Andrews says he would like for bikers when going down a hill to stay to the right and move out of the way, to let motorists pass, while Bonacker says motorists should slow down and wait for a clearing to pass.

Both acknowledge that something needs to be done and that it’s an effort on both parts.

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