Bicycle road laws in Colorado require that bicycles be treated as vehicles. This means that bicyclists must follow the rules of the road. This also means that motorists must do their part to share the road with bicycle riders; this includes being aware of the laws pertaining to bicyclists using the bike lane.
Using the Bike Lane
Both motorists and bicyclists must understand the concept of the bike lane. When there is a bike lane available, the bicyclist must use it. If one is not available, the bicyclist should stay to the far right when riding alongside traffic.
Bike riders must travel in the same direction as traffic, not against it. They should also stay in the lane at all times and avoid weaving in and out of traffic. They should move into the left lane only if they plan to turn left.
Bicycle road laws in Colorado recommend that bike riders ride single file. If there is a clear view ahead and no traffic from behind, then it is permissible for two cyclists to ride next to each other. Unless on a roadway designated for bicycle use, bicyclists cannot ride more than two abreast.
Motorists must also follow the rules regarding use of the bike lane. Motorists may be confused about the proper way to use these lanes, but they are actually quite simple. Although the bike lane is not a travelling lane for motorists, motorists may cross the bike lane temporarily to turn right – using proper signals, of course.
Motorists should be patient when turning right, though. They should be aware of any cyclists approaching the intersection, and should not crowd the bicyclist, cut off the rider or otherwise run him or her off the road. Drivers should wait their turn and avoid doing anything that could startle or injure the rider, such as unnecessarily honking the horn.
When passing a bicyclist, motorists must allow at least three feet of separation between the cyclist and the right side of the driver’s vehicle. This includes mirrors and other projections on the vehicle.
Legal Options for Injured Cyclists
A 2011 article from the Denver Post points out that there are an estimated 1.2 million bicyclists in Colorado. Unfortunately, despite the laws, some motorists – and some bicyclists – are not fully aware of the bicycle road laws in Colorado or may ignore them. Some motorists may even grow frustrated with a bicycle on the side of the road and may even willfully ignore the cyclist’s right to be there.
Many bike accidents and injuries occur from careless driving or disregard for these laws. If you are involved in an accident while using the bike lane, learn your legal rights to recover compensation if your accident was caused by a negligent driver. D.J. Banovitz, Personal Injury Law, can help with your case. Contact us at (303) 300-5060.
We even offer a free guide book that goes over several mistakes that people make that can ruin an injury case. Set up your consultation to go over your accident, your right to file a claim, and how bicycle road laws in Colorado may come into play.