Cycling has always been a popular pastime in Colorado, as our roads and mountain trails are some of the most enjoyable to travel across in the United States. However, for many cyclists, it is also a dangerous hobby, as sharing the road with cars and other motor vehicles presents a significant risk to them if the drivers are not vigilant.
In order to help alleviate some of this danger, the Colorado state legislature recently passed a series of laws designed to give cyclists greater flexibility and protection on the road. With these changes, cyclists not only in Fort Collins but all of Colorado can enjoy the road in a safer manner.
Cyclists may now perform a “safety stop” at intersections
The biggest effort to change Colorado’s roads for cyclists has come in the form of the Colorado Safety Stop, which changes the rules which cyclists have to follow when they approach an intersection controlled by either a stop sign or a traffic signal. There are two main ways that this has happened:
- When a cyclist approaches a stop sign, they are not required to fully stop at the sign. Instead, they can “roll through” the stop sign at a speed of less than ten miles per hour so long as there is no other traffic.
- When a cyclist approaches a red traffic signal, they are not required to stop and wait for the light to turn green to go straight or turn right. If there is no traffic, then they may treat the red light as a stop sign instead and proceed through the intersection once they have come to a complete stop. A left turn may only be completed on a green light, or on a one-way street.
It is important to note that these changes do not alter the right-of-way rules for cyclists. They are designed to reduce congestion at intersections and give cyclists more flexibility when sharing the road with other vehicles. When you are cycling, you must still abide by the normal road rules.
Drivers who collide with cyclists will now face greater penalties
An additional change that was made recently is designed to protect vulnerable road users, essentially all those not driving a motor vehicle who travel on the road. These new laws require that if a motorist collides with a cyclist, they will face more than a simple citation as they would before these changes.
Now, if a motorist collides with a cyclist, they will be facing misdemeanor penalties as a result. They will also be required to pay restitution to the cyclist for the damages caused, and in most cases, they will be required to take a road safety course following the accident. These stricter penalties will provide greater protection for all vulnerable road users. Hopefully, cyclists will benefit from these changes and help create a safer environment for everyone sharing the road. If you’re an avid cyclist, know your rights and responsibilities. And if you want more information on these important changes to Colorado bike law, please visit www.vanmeverenlaw.com and download a free copy of our new book: Your Guide to Road Cycling Safety in Colorado.