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New Colorado Bicycle Law Takes Effect

By: McKenzie Martin Email
By: McKenzie Martin Email

Drivers in Colorado are now required to give cyclists a wide berth.

A new bicycle safety law went effect Wednesday. The law requires drivers to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing or risk a $110 ticket.

The law also makes it a misdemeanor to throw trash or debris at a cyclist.

“Anything we can do to improve awareness, I'll be very grateful for," said John Crandall, owner of Old Town Bike Shop. John is not only an avid cyclist himself, he is also recovering from a crash with a car that left him badly injured.

"I hit the side of the car and ended up with a broken femur, shoulder and wrist," Crandall said. He still can't walk and it will likely be sometime before he is back on a bike.

In the meantime his concern with the new law is enforcement. "It will be impossible to perfectly enforce, but my hope is that it will create awareness among drivers that we are part of the mix, that we deserve a place on the road," Crandall said.

Police say how to enforce the new law is still something they are working on.

"Like all rules of the road don't involve actual observance of the violation of the rule, we are going to have to examine how we are going to take complaints and what sort of evidence we will have to have to prosecute," said Lt. David Whitlock with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Under the new law drivers can cross the center line in order to pass cyclists, but cyclists are required to ride as far to the right as is safe.

Some drivers say that's concerning to them. "If they are too far in the traffic lanes, it's dangerous," said one driver.

Crandall just hopes the new law will create more mutual respect and make the road a more pleasant place for both cyclists and drivers.

State Representative Michael Merrifield who sponsored the law says at least 25 other states have laws like this one and it's just turning what's already current practice into law.


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