Bicycle Colorado

Reports detail how Colorado supports bicycling

For the past several weeks, we’ve been working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to complete a rigorous report to the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Walking and Biking about the ways our state government supports bicycling.

The League uses the report to determine its Bicycle Friendly States ranking, and the Alliance uses it in its benchmark report on bicycling and walking activities in the United States. We work with the transportation department to make sure that everything Colorado does for bicycling is included. In 2013, Colorado was ranked No. 2 on the Bicycle Friendly States list, and we’ve been commended particularly on bicycle-friendly laws. Washington was first.

We’re always excited to find out how Colorado ranks—the 2014 list will be announced later this spring and the League’s Andy Clarke speaks at our Colorado Bicycle Summit next week. Here’s what’s included in the report, including some of the things Colorado does well in each category.

Legislation and enforcement

Basic laws and regulations that govern bicycling. Colorado has state laws that allow cyclists to use the shoulder, signal turns with either hand and move away from the right-hand side of the road for safety reasons. We also have laws that require motorists to give bicyclists three feet berth when passing. (All good things.)

Programs and policies

The Colorado Department of Transportation requirements for accommodating cyclists. Colorado has a Complete Streets policy, which requires that all new state roads include a shoulder—an important element to a high ranking on the list.


Specific performance measurements for bicycling infrastructure (bike lanes, paths, trails, etc.) and how it’s funded at the state level. Colorado lags behind other states in state infrastructure funding.

Education and encouragement

How the state educates adults and kids about bicycling, educates individual and professional motorists about sharing the road and encourages people to ride bikes. Colorado’s drivers handbook includes a section about bicycle laws, safety and sharing the road. For the past nine years, the state has allocated federal transportation dollars to biking and walking safety education through the Safe Routes to School program, but funding is at risk. Colorado also promotes bicycling through the Colorado Tourism Office, produces bike maps and collaborates with state and advocacy groups (like Bicycle Colorado).

Evaluation and Planning

How bicycling is incorporated into the state’s yearly planning. This section measures results of state bicycle/car crash rates and bike commuting rates, and includes ways bicycling is included in highway safety, outdoor recreation and bicycle transportation plans.

This is just one example of how we work with state officials to keep bicycling top-of-mind. We’re proud to work together with the transportation department to promote Colorado’s bicycle friendliness.

Bicycle Colorado

About the Author: Bicycle Colorado

Bicycle Colorado is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Denver. We use advocacy, education and passion to make Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the nation. We encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado. With the support of our members and numerous partnerships across the public and private sector, we’ve made significant strides in improving bicycling since 1992.


Mike - Reply

Above in Legislation and Enforcement you state, “Colorado has state laws that allow cyclists to use the shoulder”. Not true. Colorado has state laws which REQUIRE bicyclists to use the shoulder. This is segregation by legislation and treats bicyclists unequally as users of public roads. These laws put bicyclists in the least desirable and more dangerous part of the road (more debris, poor sight lines from intersecting roads). It also increases the likelihood of harassment and threats by motorists and law enforcement when they do leave the shoulder.


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