A new bill could standardize safety stop rules for bicyclists in Colorado, which would help make it easier for the local governments to make already prominent behaviors legal. For example, many cyclists view stop signs as yield signs, slowing but not necessarily stopping completely if they can see no oncoming traffic. This bill would help make that fully legal throughout most of the state.
On April 18, the bill was passed through the Colorado Senate, and it now awaits the governor’s signature. Once signed, the bill encourages a standard ordinance for all cities and towns in the state, which would allow the areas to create safety stop rules.
The bill wouldn’t legalize using stop signs as yields across the state, but it would in many areas. It gives local governments a clear path to passing laws for the benefit of cyclists and standardizes the language of already common legislation.
The reason for the change comes from the fact that cyclists see, hear and feel more than those in vehicles. They are exposed and may better assess the safety of an intersection without having to come to a complete stop unless there is a red traffic light. A red light would be treated as a stop sign, allowing a cyclist to proceed when it is safe to do so. A recent study from the University of Colorado showed that cyclists disobeyed red lights as a way to stay safe; getting a head start put them in a visible position to drivers, who then would not make a mistake and strike them. This bill may be in place soon, so you could see a shift in how cyclists stay safe on your roads.
Source: StreetsBlog Denver, “Bill to Standardize Bicycle “Safety Stop” Rules Across Colorado Awaits Hickenlooper’s Pen,” David Sachs, April 19, 2018