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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  • by Joe Location: Monument on Oct 16, 2009 at 08:22 AM
    How many of you cyclists will end up as road pancakes before you figure out the road is just for cars ? IF THERE IS NO MARKED BIKE LANE, STAY THE HELL OFF THE ROAD Here's your sign.
  • by Joe Location: Monument on Oct 16, 2009 at 08:18 AM
    Hey "I Ride" Examining the physics of it, did you get hit because you too ran the red light ? Choosing to obey pedestrian laws and going during the walk sign maybe ? Kind of hard to get hit by a car turning like that unless you were both breaking the law. I do expect you to follow car rules when you are on your bicycle. If you are walking then you can follow the walking rules, that's why there's a pic of a guy with legs, not a guy on a bike and it says WALK not RIDE Hopefully you've learned a lesson about riding in traffic buddy. Your bike is just a miniature underpowered, frame lacking car. Follow the rules or get a Honda.
  • by Renee Location: Pueblo on Aug 17, 2009 at 12:30 PM
    OK. So all the arguments have been laid out for why bikes should and should not be on the roads and I can understand both sides of the story. It would make more sense to me if they would have expanded the law to cover getting over (when possible) if there is a car broke down on the side of the road or when people are working on the side of the road. What about them? I know it should be common sense to get over if a car is parked on the side of the road for whatever reason but sadly most (not all but most) people dont. This law is pretty sad considering it should just be common courtesy. EVERYONE needs to share the road. And as has been stated several times... Its going to be a hard law to enforce and even if you are ticketed im sure you can fight it. Just calm down and share the road... Wouldnt you like people to give you that courtesy if you were the one on the bike? And to the bikers.... Scoot over as far as you can while being safe. Simple solution people.
  • by I ride Location: Colorado Springs on Aug 17, 2009 at 10:55 AM
    It's a two way street, Riders need to follow the same laws. I have lights, I wear bright colored clothing and commute to work daily by bike. I have 2 cars and pay my taxes and they sit in my driveway. I was hit by a car 3 weeks ago because a car never stopped to turn right on red. People have forgoten courtesy and basic traffic laws. Cars need to say between the lines as well as riders needing to stay as far right as possible and in a single file. As for the guy that hit me...thanks for not stopping.
  • by Bill Meacham Location: Colrado Springs on Aug 15, 2009 at 02:54 PM
    I drive home on Platte, east to west at 5 pm, I've seen bicyclist on this road during that time. There also should be certain roads and peak times that bicyclists should NOT be allowed to drive for saftey of all.
  • by johnny Location: Colorado Springs on Aug 15, 2009 at 08:26 AM
    While I can understand the animosity between bicyclists and motorists, it is rather pointless because we need to look at the root of the problem. Most roads are suited for motorists, not bicyclists. Laws that allow bicyclists to be on roads meant for motor vehicles are foolish and are very dangerous for both bicyclists and motorists. Therefore, bicyclists should only be allowed on roads that have designated bike paths, period. This latest “three foot law” is a perfect example of how lawmakers are going in the exact opposite direction of the way they need to go.
  • by TO DAVID IN MONUMENT on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:17 AM
    I still have to pay taxes on my trailer, motorcycle, ATV, boat, and dang near everything else. So the argument is valid.
  • by K on Aug 14, 2009 at 09:30 AM
    Wow...I can't say that I have ever read so many self-centered comments. Are we really so degenerate that we can't show some respect for each other both on the road and in our comments? Has our focus so shifted to ourselves that we are unwilling to make adjustments in our biking and driving so that others on the road can both be safe and unhindered in their travel?
  • by Anonymous on Aug 13, 2009 at 04:32 PM
    THREE FEET uhh, what if the cyclist wouldn’t move over when you are behind him on a double solid yellow lane road, like on Marsheffel and US 94. Do I drive 5-15 MPH until it’s all clear or break a traffic law because the cyclist wouldn’t move over. I’m saving for several $110 fines so I can push the cyclist over so I don’t have to cross into head on traffic. Never thought of throwing anything at the cyclist until I read this, I guess another $110 fine is in order. The fine would be cheaper than crashing head-on with another motorist or getting a ticker for crossing the double solid yellow no passing lane. Why then don’t the cyclists pay road taxes, registrations fees, or resell taxes and fee on that bike when he sell it, or required to have learners permit to beginner cyclist. What’s next? Outlawing horns on motor vehicles because it hurts the cyclist hearing.
  • by knows better Location: correctional institute on Aug 13, 2009 at 02:41 PM
    who needs reason when sharing the road..forget lives and start to worry about the taxes it will take to keep me in this place..two inches from the curb or in this cell..try to control my rage when i catch up to you at the next my car or my comin to get ya*sarcasm*..silly people,get your priorities straight, this isnt china with their extraordinary biking populous..the adjustments made for us to share the rode are minute at best..has your rode rage consumed you so much that you cant even think straight for a comment on a message board..this IS the reasoning for laws to protect the raging biker from death and the raging motorist from a long stay in the pokey..dont want to drive or ride with such madness displayed here or on the streets..shame on us
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