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.
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.
- 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.