Riding a bicycle can be a fantastic way to commute or exercise, but it’s essential to remember that bicyclists are more vulnerable than other roadway users. To ensure your safety and that of others, it’s crucial to follow the rules set forth by Colorado law. Here’s what you need to know, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s bicycling manual.
Bicycles are Considered Vehicles for Traffic Law Purposes
As a bicyclist, you must remember that bicycles are considered vehicles when it comes to traffic laws. This means that bicycles and vehicles share the right to be on the roadway and must respect one another and follow all traffic laws. Cyclists must follow all applicable traffic laws and specific bicycle laws. It’s essential to obey all traffic signs and signals, including stoplights, stop signs, and yield signs, among others. Bicyclists are at risk of injuries in an accident with cars, pedestrians, other bikes and other road users. If you are injured due to another person’s negligence, you should talk to our experienced Denver bicycle accident attorneys about your case.
In Colorado, the Colorado Safety Stop permits bike riders to ride slowly through stop signs without stopping, effectively treating it as a yield. Bicyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians and other road users who have the right of way.
Ride with the Flow of Traffic and Yield to Pedestrians
Unless you’re inside of a designated counterflow lane just for bicyclists, you are required to ride with the flow of traffic. You must also yield to pedestrians, just like vehicles have to yield to pedestrians. To ensure your safety and that of others, use hand signals at least 100 feet before turning, merging, or stopping, so long as you can safely do so while operating your bicycle. Riding side by side is allowed as long as you don’t impede traffic, which can increase visibility in many circumstances.
Ride on the Right Side of the Lane and Check Local Ordinances
You should ride as close as possible to the right side of the lane, moving with traffic. However, you can use the full lane if you wish to do so, particularly when preparing for a left turn, avoiding obstacles, or increasing visibility. All bicyclists should check their local ordinances to determine whether or not it is allowed for them to ride on sidewalks.
Use Proper Lighting and Reflectors When Riding at Night
Bicyclists are required to have a white front light and a red rear reflector and side reflector when riding at night, dusk, or when visibility is poor. The white lamp or light on the front of the bike must be visible at least 500 feet from the front. A red light or reflector on the rear of the bike must be visible up to 600 feet away. The side reflectors on a bicycle must be visible at least 600 feet away. Remember that bicycles in Colorado are not allowed to have any whistles or sirens.
Helmets and Safety Gear are Encouraged but Not Required by Law
The Colorado Department of Transportation encourages every bicyclist to wear a helmet, along with proper glasses and other safety gear when riding. However, state law does not require bicycle riders to wear helmets. Although some jurisdictions around the country have helmet laws in place just for those under the age of 18, Colorado does not have a law regarding bicycle helmet rules, including for minors.
As a bicyclist in Colorado, you must remember that bicycles are considered vehicles when it comes to traffic laws. Therefore, you must follow all traffic laws and respect all other roadway users. Always wear a helmet and other safety gear and use proper lighting and reflectors when riding at night. By following these rules, you can ensure your safety and that of others while enjoying the many benefits of cycling.