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Motorist Sentenced To Ride Bike

February 29, 1988

GUNNISON, Colo. (AP) _ A driver whose vehicle struck a bicyclist has been sentenced to community service, most of which could be waived with a bicycle ride on a narrow highway near Crested Butte.

″It might be a real eye-opener for you,″ Gunnison County Court Judge Gerry Reese told Bruce Hartel at his sentencing last week. ″Riding a bicycle along the highway while three-ton vehicles hurl by can only be appreciated by experiencing it.″

Reese decided that if Hartel, 59, of Littleton, rides a bicycle on a section of the highway between Crested Butte and Crested Butte South within 90 days, 100 hours out of 124 hours of court-ordered community service will be waived.

Reese told Hartel he can walk part of the way if he gets tired, as long as he has a bicycle with him. Colorado 135 is a two-lane, narrow, winding mountain highway with no shoulders.

In a plea bargain, Hartel pleaded no contest to careless driving and driving too fast for conditions.

The charges stemmed from a Sept. 22 collision with bicyclist Eliane Wiscocq of Crested Butte. She was knocked off her bike and suffered facial lacerations, a broken wrist and whiplash.

Hartel apologized in court and presented his driving record, which was clean.

He was sentenced to 90 days of unsupervised probation and fined $561, and said his insurance company has agreed to pay Wissocq’s lost wages, property damage and medical expenses up to $50,000.

Hartel left court without commenting on the sentence.

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