Colorado Bicycle Laws
Road cycling isn’t just one of the most popular recreational activities in Colorado. It also can be an inexpensive and environmentally friendly form of transportation that is aided by a large network of dedicated bike lanes, wide paved shoulders, and multiuse paths in many cities. One very important thing for all Coloradans to understand is that cyclists have a legal right to use public roads along with other vehicles.
They are allowed to “share the road.” Similarly, every cyclist in this state – be it a regular bike commuter or a weekend warrior – must also abide by all motor vehicle traffic laws, in addition to those laws specifically created for those who travel on bicycles. The laws are of course intended to keep riders, drivers, and pedestrians safe.
The following is not an exhaustive examination of all Colorado bicycle laws but rather a general overview that can help you better understand your legal rights and duties as a cyclist.
Where to Ride
All road cyclists in Colorado are required to travel as close to the right side of the road as possible, as long as it safe to do so. Overtaking a vehicle, avoiding a hazard in the road, and riding in a narrow travel lane are all exceptions to this general rule. On one-way streets, cyclists are allowed to travel on either the left- or right-hand side, as close to the side as practicable. Also, sidewalk riding is allowed as long as cyclists make sure to yield to pedestrians. Local city and county ordinances may affect the applicability of the general sidewalk riding law.
The section above is a brief look at some of the Colorado bicycle laws that dictate where bicyclists are allowed to be on the road. This section examines proper road cycling behavior, or how cyclists are legally required to ride.
The general rule is that road cyclists are not allowed to ride more than two abreast. They are, however, allowed to ride more than two abreast on either paths or roads set aside for bicycle usage.
Just like motor vehicles, cyclists who come to a red traffic light or stop sign must come to a complete stop. Again, some local ordinances may affect this rule.
Another important riding requirement applies to overtaking. All Colorado road cyclists must exercise due caution when either passing a vehicle sitting in traffic or passing a moving vehicle traveling in the same direction.
There are also Colorado bicycle laws surrounding what equipment all riders are required to use. For example, every bike must be equipped with functioning brakes that allow a rider traveling 10 miles per hour to come to a complete stop within 25 feet.
Also, a cyclist traveling at night must use a front white headline that is visible from at least 500 feet away, as well as a red rear reflector that is visible from 600 feet way.
Many Colorado bicycle laws prohibit certain types of unsafe behavior. These include clinging to a moving motor vehicle, using a siren or whistle, operating a bike with just one hand on the handlebars, and carrying more people than a bicycle was designed for. It also bears mentioning that all Colorado DUI and DWAI laws apply equally to cyclists as they do to motorists.
While it is up to bike riders to operate their bikes safely, it is critical for drivers of motor vehicles to exercise great care when sharing the road with cyclists. Colorado law requires motor vehicles to give three feet of room when passing a bicycle rider. This is important because in a bicycle vs. car accident, the bicyclist will almost always lose, and the bicyclist will likely suffer catastrophic injuries or death. The driver of the vehicle will often be at fault in causing the accident, in which case the injured bicyclist may be able to obtain compensation from the vehicle driver and his insurance company.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Contact Whalen Hersh, LLP
Being injured in a bicycle accident can be a terrifying experience with serious, long-lasting consequences. The Colorado personal injury lawyers at Whalen Hersh LLP have successfully recovered compensation for bicycle accident victims and will be pleased to speak with you about your legal options.