Bicycle Riding in Colorado

bicycle accident

Colorado has a statute dealing with the operation of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles.  It can be found at Colorado Statutes 42-4-1412. To be fully informed about these laws a person must read the statute that can be found, here.

Some of the important provisions can be put in laymen’s terms as follows:

  • Riders have all the rights and duties of drivers as other vehicles.  If there is a local ordinance for bicycles, that local ordinance is given priority.
  • Unless a bicycle rider can keep up the speed of traffic, it is required that the bicyclist ride in the right lane, except when preparing to turn left or into a private roadway or driveway, to overtake a slower vehicle, or avoid a hazard.  On a one-way road a bicyclist may ride on the left-hand curb or as near to the edge of the roadway as can be done safely.  If a bicyclist is in the left lane they must ride as far to left as can be done safely in order to let cars pass.
  • Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast except in paths or parts of roads dedicated only to bicycles, and they must not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. 
  • Bicyclists must keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
  • Bicyclists must signal intention to turn or to stop, continuously for at least one hundred feet before the stop or the turn.
  • Bicyclists may not ride on the sidewalk.
  • Violating provisions of the statute are a misdemeanor traffic offense.
  • Counties or municipalities may pass ordinances:
    • Allowing bicyclists to slow down (to 15 mph or less) and pass through a stop sign without stopping.
    • Stop at a red light but continue through if it can be done by yielding to traffic and pedestrians. At a red light, the bicyclist may turn left against the light only if turning onto a one-way street and there are no vehicles also attempting to turn left.
  • Vehicles are required to give the bicyclist at least three feet distance when passing.
  • A light for the front of the bicycle and reflectors for back are required.  It is recommended that you check with a bike shop to see what lamps and reflectors are accepted as standard.  Riding a bicycle without a front light is a misdemeanor traffic violation.
  • Municipal ordinances can add to or change the State statute in Colorado.  For instance, in Denver, it is against the traffic laws to carry a person on the bicycle or to ride on a seat that is not permanent.  In Denver, a bicyclist may ride on the sidewalk only in limited situations: such as delivering papers, the route is part of a designated bicycle route, or when preparing to dismount, and in any event, must yield to pedestrians and go no faster than 6 miles per hour. 

Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.