Piep van Heuven

2020 bicycle legislation: What we’re focusing on in Colorado this year

The 2020 legislative session in Colorado kicks off this morning and runs through May 6.

Bicycle Colorado will be there throughout, advocating for safety bills for bicyclists and other vulnerable road users. 

Our top priorities this year reflect the broad themes of our strategic plan. This year we’ll be working on legislation that will encourage safer road behaviors, create places to bike and expand the bicycling movement.

We’ll work, for the fourth year in a row, to pass Colorado’s first “hands-free” or distracted driving bill; we’ll help introduce new legislation that will solidify your right-of-way in the bike lane, including through intersections; and we’ll fight legislation to ban automated enforcement technologies. We are also looking at legislative approaches to incentivize e-bike purchases, a statewide study of rail-trail opportunities, and ways to discourage hit and runs across Colorado. 

Stay up to date with the latest on our Current Issues page, and sign up for our Action Alerts to easily get in touch with YOUR legislators by visiting the Action Center.

What we’re going after

  • The “Limit Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving” bill. One of the most important things we can do to protect bicyclists is limit distracted driving, and a handsfree bill is a strong step in that direction. This bill will require drivers to use hands-free devices if they’d like to use their cell phones while behind the wheel. This will curb distracted driving incidents statewide and increase safety for all road users, but especially the most vulnerable like bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. It is sponsored by Senator Lois Court and Representative Dylan Roberts.  
  • The “Yield To Bicycles In Bicycle Lanes” bill. This is an important right-of-way bill that will reinforce that bike lanes are a space where bicyclists are prioritized before people using other modes of transportation. It creates a new traffic offense for failing to yield to a bicyclist in a bike lane and defines a bicycle lane in Colorado law. It also clarifies that bike lanes continue through intersections when there is a bike lane on either side of an intersection, even if there are no physical markings. It is sponsored by Senator Mike Foote, who helped us pass our Vulnerable Road User law in 2019

Anticipated fights

  • Every year there is an attempt to repeal the legal authority of communities to use automated enforcement technologies like red light cameras and speed cameras. These technologies have proven safety benefits and we have fought this bill every year. We’ve been successful so far. 

Efforts in progress

  • A bill providing subsidies/rebates on e-bikes so that more people can more easily choose biking over driving for daily trips and for fun.
  • A budget request to conduct a study on potential rail-trail corridors, converting unused railroad corridors to trails for recreation, and their economic/social benefits.
  • A bill increasing judicial tools to allow courts to get hit and run drivers off the roadways.

Other potential bills we’re tracking

  • A bill about funding the construction and maintenance of trails and trailheads for mountain bike access.
  • State funding streams for transportation that adequately include funding for bicycle projects.

Non-legislative focus areas

  • We’re working with CDOT and local communities to implement bike infrastructure on repaving projects
  • We continue to work with communities to adopt the Colorado Safety Stop around the state.

Want to support our bicycle legislation efforts?

Become a member or make an additional donation today!

Piep van Heuven

About the Author: Piep van Heuven

Piep heads up our efforts to make Colorado the best place to ride a bike for anyone who chooses to ride. She connects with partners and city leaders to develop leading policies, practices and infrastructure that can serve as a model for the state.

COMMENTS (2)

John Klever - Reply

I have reviewed your goals for 2020 and find them laudable and in line with my thinking about making biking safer in Colorado.

I do have one additional idea that could help older folks on the bike trails. As you may know, older people have more urgent urinary needs, and women need more privacy than a bush accords. The coverage of facilities on the trails ranges from adequate to notoriously non-existent, and many commercial sites with restrooms are not ecstatic about cyclists responding to the call of nature. Many older cyclists are faced with the dilemma of ignoring the laws against urination in public or not keeping hydrated. Lack of proper hydration can lead to urinary tract infections, which are a serious medical problem.

I am recommending that you encourage trail authorities to ensure adequate facilities, say every five miles. I would also recommend that absent such facilities the responsible authorities not be able to issue tickets for urinating in public.

In view of your plans and efforts as they relate to cycling, I will renew my membership.

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