The natural beauty of Colorado entices many to enjoy the great outdoors on bicycles. But sadly, Colorado motorists are often ignorant of the rights enjoyed by cyclists in our state, or choose to ignore those rights and drive so aggressively as to cause serious accidents. When bicyclists are hit on our roads, severe or fatal injuries are often the result.
Safety Tips for Avoiding Injury
• ALWAYS WEAR A PROPERLY FITTED HELMET IN GOOD REPAIR!!!
• ALWAYS WEAR SHATTER PROOF EYE PROTECTION.
• CARRY YOUR CELL PHONE, I.D., AND YOUR INSURANCE CARD
• NEVER RIDE AT NIGHT WITHOUT PROPER LIGHTS AND REFLECTORS
• WEAR A REAR VIEW MIRROR WHEN RIDING IN HEAVY TRAFFIC
KNOW THE BASICS OF BICYCLE REPAIR (putting a chain back on sprocket, changing a flat, tightening the seat post fittings, knowing how to adjust brakes, etc.)
What Are Your Rights If Hit
Colorado has a particular statute relating to the duty of care of bicyclists when on public roadways. The relevant portions of the statute are set out below. The most critical elements are that bicyclists have the same rights and duties as motorized vehicles. This means that bicyclists must stop at red lights, stop signs, and must turn from the right to right but may turn either from the left, to the left, or from the far right to the left, after yielding to traffic. Hand signals, etc., must be used, bicyclists must ride single file, and on the right side, as far to the right as is safely practicable.
The Colorado statute provides:
§ 42-4-1412. Operation of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles
(1) Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this article, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Said riders shall comply with the rules set forth in this section and section 42-4-221, and, when using streets and highways within incorporated cities and towns, shall be subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles as provided in section 42-4-111.
. . .
(3) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
(4) No person riding upon any bicycle shall attach the same or himself or herself to any motor vehicle upon a roadway.
(5) Any person riding a bicycle shall ride in the right-hand lane. When being overtaken by another vehicle, such person shall ride as close to the right-hand side as practicable. Where a paved shoulder suitable for bicycle riding is present, persons operating bicycles shall ride on the paved shoulder. These provisions shall apply, except under any of the following situations:
(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(b) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards.
(6)(a) Persons operating bicycles on roadways shall ride single file; except that riding no more than two abreast is permitted in the following circumstances:
(I) When riding two abreast will not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic; or
(II) When riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
(b) Persons riding two abreast shall ride within a single lane.
(7) A person operating a bicycle shall keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
(8)(a) A person riding a bicycle intending to turn left shall follow a course described in sections 42-4-901(1), 42-4-903, and 42-4-1007 or may make a left turn in the manner prescribed in paragraph (b) of this subsection (8).
(b) A person riding a bicycle intending to turn left shall approach the turn as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. After proceeding across the intersecting roadway to the far corner of the curb or intersection of the roadway edges, the bicyclist shall stop, as much as practicable, out of the way of traffic. After stopping, the bicyclist shall yield to any traffic proceeding in either direction along the roadway that the bicyclist had been using. After yielding and complying with any official traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection (8), the transportation commission and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic control devices to be placed on roadways and thereby require and direct that a specific course be traveled.
(9)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection (9), every person riding a bicycle shall signal the intention to turn or stop in accordance with the provisions of section 42-4-903; except that a person riding a bicycle may signal a right turn with the right arm extended horizontally.
(b) A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the bicycle before turning and shall be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn. A signal by hand and arm need not be given continuously if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.
(10)(a) A person riding a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or pathway or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian. A person riding a bicycle in a crosswalk shall do so in a manner that is safe for pedestrians.
(b) A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or pathway or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic control devices or local ordinances. A person riding a bicycle shall dismount before entering any crosswalk where required by official traffic control devices or local ordinances.
(c) A person riding or walking a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or pathway or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, including, but not limited to, the rights and duties granted and required by section 42-4-802.
(11)(a) A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by an official traffic control device or local ordinance.
(b) A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.
(c) A bicycle may be parked on the road at any angle to the curb or edge of the road at any location where parking is allowed.
(d) A bicycle may be parked on the road abreast of another bicycle or bicycles near the side of the road or any location where parking is allowed in such a manner as does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
(e) In all other respects, bicycles parked anywhere on a highway shall conform to the provisions of part 12 of this article regulating the parking of vehicles.
(12)(b) Any person riding a bicycle who violates any provision of this article other than this section which is applicable to such a vehicle and for which a penalty is specified shall be subject to the same specified penalty as any other vehicle; except that > section 42‑2‑127 shall not apply.
(13) Upon request, the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction shall complete a report concerning an injury or death incident that involves a bicycle on the roadways of the state, even if such accident does not involve a motor vehicle.
CRSA Sec. 42-4-1412, Operation of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles