The Colorado Safety Stop is sensible policy to make bicycling safer
The following testimony was delivered in front of the Colorado Senate Transportation and Energy Committee on Tuesday, March 15. It was delivered in favor of the Colorado Safety Stop by Bicycle Colorado’s Director of Communications and Policy, Jack Todd.
Good afternoon Ms. Chair and members of the committee.
My name is Jack Todd and I’m here today on behalf of Bicycle Colorado and the millions of people who ride a bike each year in our state. I’m also here speaking with all vulnerable road users in mind, including people who walk and use wheelchairs.
Bicycle Colorado asks for your vote in support of HB 1028, to reduce crashes between motorists and vulnerable road users where they happen the most: Intersections. The bill gives bicyclists and users of low-speed conveyances a safe and legal option to avoid conflict and proceed through intersections when they have the right-of-way.
Here is a look at the numbers:
- Intersections are by far the most dangerous locations for bicyclists in Colorado. Comprehensive crash data shared with us by CDOT from 2017-19 shows that 72.2% of reported crashes between bicyclists and drivers took place at intersections or were “intersection related” in that time frame.
- Data published by Delaware in 2020 shows that crashes at stop sign-controlled intersections between bicyclists and motorists dropped by 23% in the 30 months after adopting the Safety Stop compared to 30 months prior, and crashes at all other locations dropped by 8%. Idaho, where this has been legal since 1982 – for 40 years! – saw a 15% drop in those same crashes in the year after it was adopted.
When bicyclists are able to get out of the intersection and away from conflict before a potential crash can even occur their safety improves. That’s what passage of this bill makes possible. Every piece of data we have points to this being safer for bicyclists.
I’d also like to underscore the importance of the statewide adoption of this maneuver. Community-by-community adoption creates a patchwork of places where this is and is not allowed. It is unrealistic to expect bicyclists to know where they can and cannot do this maneuver legally, and providing a legal choice statewide eliminates that confusion.
It also signifies an important step in creating consistent, uniform bike laws across the state, just like users of motor vehicles experience. This is essential for encouraging bicycling as a sensible, safe and sustainable form of transportation, which Colorado has espoused as a value for years.
Finally, I’d like to note that in legalizing this maneuver for vulnerable road users like bicyclists statewide, Colorado would join a wave of other states to adopt recently, including Utah, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon and Arkansas.
This is sensible policy that keeps your constituents safe, and I ask you to support it. Please vote yes on House Bill 1028. Thank you.