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Cycling in Colorado: What You Need to Know

Posted in Blog on August 9, 2018

With beautiful weather and scenery, it’s no wonder why Colorado is known for being a cyclist-friendly state. With the new Idaho Stop Law, biking in the Centennial State just got even friendlier.

What is the Idaho Stop Law?

Idaho Stop, a law originating from Idaho, is a rule that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. The law was pushed back in 2017, but officially passed in May of this year. Colorado is the third state in the country, after Idaho and Delaware, to enact this law.

This new law has the ability to increase the safety of cyclists by allowing the cyclist to get ahead of the drivers at lights and stop signs, which could create more distance. This distance would provide a cushion that protects cyclists from cars who might have to slam on their brakes.

This law has sparked some controversy, with concerned drivers worrying about the rules of the road being ignored, or people still choosing to not pay attention. However, this law still abides by traffic laws. Cyclists are discouraged from running red lights, just as cars are. This law allows cyclists to treat each red light with caution, and if no cars are coming, they may proceed with caution in order to get ahead of traffic to create a safe distance while riding.

Cycling in Colorado

The Idaho Stop Law isn’t the only thing for cyclists to be aware of. There are quite a few laws that apply to cyclists, and staying informed in the most effective way to stay safe on the road.

Important, Basic Colorado Bike Laws:

  1. Cyclists have the same rights as drivers when on the road.
  2. No bicycle or electric bicycle can be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which the bike was designed or equipped.
  3. Bikes are forbidden from attaching themselves to motor vehicles on the road with a ride on that bike.
  4. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction must pass to the left of the vehicle at a safe distance and must not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
  5. The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction must allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver’s vehicle, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.
    *Violating the above two laws will result in a class A traffic infraction

The state of Colorado recommends these safety tips for cyclists:

On the Road:

  • Ride on the right, never ride against traffic.
  • Ride in the right lane, except when passing another vehicle, preparing for a left turn or avoiding hazards.
  • Ride on paved shoulders and bike lanes when present and free of hazards.
  • Ride no more than two abreast, returning to single-file if riding two abreast would impede the flow of traffic.
  • On curving canyon roads without bike lanes or shoulders, play it safe and ride single file.
  • Obey traffic laws, signs, and signals.
  • Use hand signals to indicate left or right turns, slowing or stopping
  • Use a headlight, taillight, and reflectors at night.
  • Make eye contact with drivers.
  • Never assume motorists see you or that you have the right-of-way.
  • Wear passive safety equipment to protect yourself: helmet, glasses, and gloves.
  • Expect the unexpected; your first responsibility is to be safe.

On Multi-Use Trails:

  • Please use common sense and courtesy on the trail.
  • Always ride, walk, and skate on the right side of the trail.
  • Obey traffic control signs and markings on trail.
  • Pass on the left, when the trail is clear of traffic.
  • Give audible warning before overtaking other trail users:
    • Ring your bike bell
    • Loudly and clearly call out “Passing”
  • Listen up! Headphones prevent you from hearing warnings.
  • Use hand signals to indicate turns and stops.
  • Do not stop on the trail, blocking other users.
  • Ride single file so that other user may pass safely.
  • Look for traffic before entering trail.
  • Watch for the unexpected, especially with kids or dogs.
  • Slow down when the trail is crowded, and travel at speeds that are safe and appropriate to trail conditions.

Getting in a Cycling Accident in Colorado

Getting in an accident by bike has a similar protocol to that of a car accident. Cyclists have the right to talk to the authorities to have the incident investigated, whether it is a hit-and-run or the person at-fault remains at the scene.

It is important to take photos of the scene and to seek medical attention to address any injuries, especially if the cyclist is looking to make a claim. If the incident is serious, it is wise to consult a bicycle-injury attorney to help protect your rights. If you are affected by a Cycling accident contact an experienced auto legal lawyer today at www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

Stay Safe. Stay Informed.

For more information on rules, safety tips, and other ways to explore Colorado by bike, please visit https://www.bicyclecolorado.org/

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