FW: New rules of the road for Colorado cyclists
- Don't shoot the messenger; attached FYI without comment . . .
Roger H. Gray
Pasadena, California, USA
Rocky Mountain News
Dennis Schroeder C News
Bicyclists ride into Boulder on U.S. 36 just north of the city on Monday.
New rules for cyclists take effect Friday. Among other things, the rules
will allow two cyclists to ride side by side as long as they don't impede
traffic. New rules of the road for Colorado cyclists
By Jolie Breeden, Rocky Mountain News
June 29, 2005
Colorado cyclists will see the fulfillment of long-sought changes in
bicycle traffic regulations Friday, including the go-ahead to have a
conversation while they ride side by side.
On Friday, a new law takes effect replacing legislation that said bicycles
were allowed on the road only single-file.
The bicycle safety bill, signed June 3 by Gov. Bill Owens, allows
bicyclists to ride two abreast, allows them to signal a right turn using
their right arms, and pardons them from dismounting in a crosswalk.
"The statutes were out of date," said the bill's Senate sponsor, Ron Tupa,
D-Boulder. "The laws were really unreasonable in regards to what was
happening out there."
Many of the current laws are flouted by cyclists who often travel side by
side or ride their bikes through crosswalks.
Tupa, who called the bill's provisions "common-sense updates," said that
may be caused by cyclists from out of state assuming laws here are similar
to the rest of the country. Until now, they weren't.
"Colorado had these unique laws that nobody else had," said Dan Grunig of
Bicycle Colorado, a Denver-based organization that lobbied for the safety
Colorado was one of only six states that required cyclists to ride
single-file, and one of 28 states requiring that a right-turn signal be
made with the left arm, according to a study by MIT professor Paul Schimek.
Similar bills have been introduced at least three times in the past five
years, Tupa said, but the timing just wasn't right. The growing number of
people cycling for tourism, transportation and environmental reasons may
have helped change that.
"All our bike laws are written like they hated bicyclists," said Shellie
Roy, of Aspen.
Roy, who refers to herself as a pedestrian cyclist, was severely injured
when she was hit by an SUV while riding her bike in a crosswalk. Since Roy
was mounted on her bike, the motorist wasn't cited in the accident.
Cyclists may find the new rules to be an improvement, but the effects on
law enforcement officials are still unclear.
"It remains to be seen how it will play out," said James Burrus, spokesman
for Boulder County. "I think the real big element on the (two abreast rule)
will be the impeding of traffic."
Burrus said Boulder County has been increasing the size of road shoulders
to keep cyclists safe.
"As long as cyclists keep in mind that there are vehicles out on the road,
any courtesy they extend helps the overall motorist-cyclist relationship,"
Burrus said. "And the same goes for motorists, too. Any courtesy helps."
New bike rules
Features of the bicycle safety law, which goes into effect Friday:
. Riding abreast: Two cyclists will be allowed to ride side by side, as
long as they don't impede traffic.
. New signal: Right-hand turns may be signaled by extending the right arm,
but the traditional crooked-left-arm signal will still be valid, too.
. Pedestrian rights: Cyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks (where allowed by
local ordinances) will be accorded the same rights as pedestrians. However,
pedestrians still have the right of way over bikes.
. Police reports: Police will file an accident report for bicyclists upon
request, even when no motor vehicle is involved.
Copyright 2005, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.
Other bicycling information:
Bicycle Master Plan:
Na Kama Hele - advocacy for traditional forms of travel