Why make this legal statewide?
The Safety Stop has a number of benefits, including the fact that it:
- is cost-neutral, safety-enhancing policy.
- encourages people to ride for transportation, protecting and enhancing our air quality.
- attracts tourism and increases livability.
- allows police to focus on major infractions (e.g. reckless endangerment) rather than common behaviors.
Most importantly, it’s safer for bicyclists and motorists alike. Research shows that the Safety Stop:
- reduces interactions between motorists and bicyclists in intersections.
- reduces crashes in intersections.
- increases the visibility of bicyclists in the intersection.
- reduces the number of bicyclist-only injuries associated with starting and stopping on a bicycle.
Recent data out of Delaware, which legalized the maneuver at stop signs in 2017, shows a 23% decrease in crashes in intersections in the 30 months after adoption compared to the 30 months prior. The safety benefits are clear. Now more than ever, as Coloradans continue to discover and rediscover bicycling in record numbers, we need to pass the safety-enhancing legislation.
Additionally, adopting the safety stop decriminalizes a common-sense behavior for bicyclists, taking a potential crime off the books. This also frees up law enforcement resources to focus on bigger, more pressing issues. Conversations with law enforcement officials across the state indicate this is not a crime they currently enjoy focusing on.
Finally, Colorado’s current system for adopting the Safety Stop on a community-by-community basis creates a dangerous 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 statewide adoption eliminates that confusion. Adoption statewide also signifies an important step in creating consistent, uniform bike laws across the state, which is essential for encouraging bicycling as a sensible, safe and sustainable form of transportation.