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2024 legislative priorities

Advocating for bike and pedestrian-friendly policies is one important way to make lasting change that benefits bicyclists and pedestrians in communities across Colorado. On Jan 10, Colorado’s state representatives kicked off the 24th General Assembly. Over the 120-day legislative session, Bicycle Colorado will build and lead coalitions that advocate for bills that prioritize the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians and strive to defeat bills that would make Colorado less bike and pedestrian-friendly.

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The urgency to pass laws that prioritize the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians has never been greater. Bicyclist and pedestrian deaths continue to increase in Colorado and are at an all-time high. While people inside vehicles are dying at lower rates in traffic crashes, roads are becoming less safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. Among total traffic deaths, the percentage of people who died while walking and riding bikes (versus driving or riding in a vehicle) has grown from 11% in 2002 to 21% in 2023.

Line graph showing increasing pedestrian fatalities (71 in 2002 and 133 in 2023) and bicyclist fatalities (9 in 2002 and 20 in 2023)

While safety improves for people inside vehicles, roads are becoming less safe for people biking and walking.

How can you support our policy and advocacy work?

  1. Stay Informed. Read this update to understand the bills we are supporting or opposing and the impact these will have on Colorado if passed. Also, stay current on our legislative work by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and signing up for our free email newsletter.
  2. Take Action. Your voice truly matters, and we may need your voice to help pass a bill. If you’re open to writing to elected officials, sign up for Action Alerts.

Bicycle Colorado will support, monitor, and oppose bills during the 2024 legislative session. We take positions based on meetings with members and other key stakeholder groups and our vision that all people and communities benefit from safe and accessible bicycling.

Our top priority is to pass these three bills:

  • SB24-065, a bill to combat distracted driving
  • SB24-036, a bill to generate $18 million in funds annually to build bike and pedestrian infrastructure
  • HB24-1021, a bill to increase driver education standards for minors

Second, we will monitor and potentially support a series of bills to increase access to quality public transit. Public transit brings numerous benefits to bicyclists and pedestrians, including reducing the number of vehicles on the road, which improves safety and air quality. Third, we will monitor and possibly support a series of land use bills, if those bills contribute to creating bike-friendly communities.

We Need Your Voice

You can help pass bicyclist- and pedestrian-friendly legislation when you, engaged residents of Colorado, lend your voice.

2024 Policy Positions

Bills We Support

Updated February 12, 2024

Hands-free: No handheld cell phone use while driving (SB24-065)

Bicycle Colorado’s position: Support

Bill status:

The problem: In 2020, 10,166 crashes involved a Colorado distracted driver, resulting in 1,476 injuries and 68 deaths (and 72 deaths in 2021). In the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 2021 mail survey, drivers reported cell phone use was their top distraction during the week before the survey.

What we’re advocating: Current Colorado law prohibits all drivers from texting while driving and prohibits drivers under 18 from using a cell phone while driving. With a thoughtful conversation about equitable enforcement, we want Colorado to ban handheld cell phone use while driving. Hands-free laws reduce visual distractions for drivers and are common sense: 34 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit using handheld phones while driving. Studies have shown that these laws reduce distracted driving, crashes, and fatalities. Fact sheet

Person driving a car while holding a cell phone to their ear and text "handheld cell phone use while driving is banned in 34 states but not in Colorado (yet)"

Vulnerable Road User Protection Enterprise (SB24-036)

Bicycle Colorado’s position: Support

Bill status:

  • TBD, 2024: Hearing and public testimony at Senate Finance Committee
  • 2/05/2024: Senate Committee on Transportation & Energy Refer Amended to Finance
  • 1/10/2024: Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Transportation & Energy

The problem: Larger and heavier vehicles traveling at higher speeds are more deadly for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users than smaller, lighter vehicles traveling at slower speeds. The increase in bicyclists and pedestrian fatalities in Colorado is partially due to these factors. Reducing crashes and fatalities requires making roads more accessible for everyone, no matter their way of traveling. One challenge is a lack of funding for infrastructure that prioritizes safety, especially for people outside of vehicles.

What we’re advocating: This bill would create a weight-based annual registration fee on personal cars, SUVs, and trucks in our state’s 12 most populous counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Pueblo, and Weld). This bill would generate about $18 million annually to fund safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians in those counties. Fact sheet

Driver’s education requirements for minors (HB24-1021)

Bicycle Colorado’s position: Support

Bill status:

  • TBD 2024:
  • 1/31/2024: House Committee on Transportation, Housing & Local Government Refer Amended to Appropriations
  • 1/10/2024: Introduced In House – Assigned to Transportation, Housing & Local Government

The problem: Traffic deaths among drivers ages 15 to 20 have increased from 24 deaths in 2019 to 35 in 2022. Teens are also a high-risk category of drivers who disproportionately contribute to traffic crashes. Education is one crucial part of a solution to reduce crashes. Currently, people between the ages of 16 and 21 are not required to take a driver’s education course before receiving an instructional permit or license.

What we’re advocating: Colorado minors must complete a formal driving class before receiving a driver’s permit or license. At least 10% of driver education and testing materials would include content specific to the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users. Fact sheet

Bills We Are Monitoring

Updated February 12, 2024

Front Range Passenger Rail District Efficiency (HB24-1012)

Bicycle Colorado’s position: Monitor

 

 

Methods to Increase the Use of Transit (SB24-032)

Bicycle Colorado’s position: Monitor

 

 

Bills We Oppose

Updated February 12, 2024

We oppose no bills at this time.

The 2023 legislative session in Colorado adjourned on May 8

During the 2023 the legislative session, we worked to help pass bills related to driver education and automated enforcement, as well as the Governor’s proposed tax credits for eBike purchases for all Coloradans. We also supported a bill related to expanding transit ridership, and monitored a few other bills to ensure that bicyclist safety and needs were considered. As always, our top priorities reflect the broad themes of our strategic plan, encouraging safer road behaviors, creating places to bike and expanding the bicycling movement and, above all, making sure all Coloradans can choose bicycling as a healthy choice for recreation and transportation.

 

You can find information below about all of the bills we worked on or paid close attention to this session, and where they ended up. Together, with a unified voice, we can make a difference and continue to make Colorado the best place to ride a bike!

Support our work with a donationRead our reflections on the 2023 session

Advocating for policy is one strategy that Bicycle Colorado uses to make lasting changes that benefit bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. We’re excited to share our work during the 2023 Colorado legislative session. Our policy positions are informed by careful analysis of the bills, along with input from stakeholder groups, such as the biking community, road safety advocates, climate advocates, and organizations focused on transportation and recreation, to name a few.

Governor Polis signs a law at the Colorado Capitol

Safety

A core tenet of our work is ensuring that people of all ages and abilities, no matter where they live in Colorado, have convenient access to safe places to bike and walk. Holding agencies accountable to design, fund, and build infrastructure that prioritizes safety for bicyclists and pedestrians is a priority for Bicycle Colorado. Overall, we believe safe infrastructure is the gold standard that will save lives and provide more places to more comfortably bike, though we also understand that improving driver education and behavior is part of the solution. This year, our legislative focus has been on advocating for equitable policies that more effectively regulate driver behavior, increase the understanding and awareness of safe behavior for all road users, and hold drivers accountable for dangerous and deadly actions.

 

SB23-200: Automated Vehicle Identification

Bicycle Colorado Position : SUPPORT (May 2, 2023)
Status: Governor signed into law

What this is about: Current regulation hampers the effective and equitable use of cameras to enforce speed limits in Colorado. For example, state law:

  • Limits use to residential, school, park and construction areas; it does not allow use on high-speed roadways, where most crashes occur.
  • Requires a person to be present during operations, which means cameras aren’t in use 24/7 and are more expensive to implement.

SB23-200 will address these constraints and promote the effective and equitable use of speed cameras.

Why we care: In 2022, 745 people died on Colorado’s roads, including 121 bicyclists and pedestrians. This is a record high since the Colorado Department of Transportation started publishing data in 2002. Speeding contributes to 40% of road deaths across the state and 53% of road deaths in Denver. An abundance of research concludes that using cameras to enforce speed limits is effective and has reduced crashes resulting in serious injuries by 48%. Please read our one-pager for further explanation of this bill, including the research that supports its efficacy and why we believe it will improve safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users.

 

SB23-011: Minor Driver’s Education Requirements

Bicycle Colorado Position: SUPPORT (May 2, 2023)
Status: Stalled before completing process

What this is about: Currently, people between the ages of 16 and 21 are not required to take a driver’s education course before receiving an instructional permit or license. Under SB22-011, Colorado minors would need to complete a class before receiving a permit or license. The legislation would also create a refundable income tax credit of up to $1,000 per student for qualifying taxpayers.

Bicycle Colorado is advocating for an amendment to the bill requiring at least 10 percent of driver education and testing materials to include content specific to the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Why we care: Traffic deaths among drivers ages 15 to 20 have increased from 24 deaths in 2019 to 35 in 2022. Teens are also a high-risk category of drivers who disproportionately contribute to traffic crashes. Education is one crucial part of a solution to reduce crashes.

 

SB23-034: Definitions of Serious Bodily Injury

Bicycle Colorado Position: MONITOR (May 2, 2023)
Status: Signed into law

What this is about: This bill will expand the definition of “serious bodily injury” in Colorado statute to include additional specificity regarding gun and knife injuries.

Why we care: In 2019, Bicycle Colorado successfully advocated making a “serious bodily injury” to a vulnerable road user (including bicyclists and pedestrians) a class one misdemeanor that subjects the violator to a restitution order and 12 points on their driver’s license. We monitor all legislation that may modify the definition of “serious bodily injury” to ensure there will be no adverse effects on bicyclists and pedestrians.

Access to bikes

Bikes are a critical part of our transportation system, and with the rapid adoption of eBikes more Coloradans are replacing car trips with bike trips. Bicycle Colorado is focused on removing barriers to bicycle ownership, shared micro-mobility, and will continue to advocate for safe places to ride. Financial incentives for transportation demand management and stimulating the demand for electric vehicles should incorporate eBikes as transportation. This includes rebates, tax credits, employer incentives, support for charging and storage, and community programming funding.

HB23-1272: Tax Policy That Advances Decarbonization

Bicycle Colorado Position: SUPPORT (May 2, 2023)
Status: Governor signed into law

What this is about: Colorado continues to take steps to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, including the transition to clean energy technologies. The transportation sector is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in our state, so this bill extends and expands tax credits for light, medium, and heavy-duty electric vehicles and introduces a new tax credit of $500 for all Coloradans towards the purchase of an electric bike. We are currently working with legislators to ensure the tax credit benefits local bike shops.

Why we care: eBikes are a sustainable, equitable, and efficient mode of transportation well suited for a wide range of riders. Data from the City of Denver’s program demonstrates ebikes displace car trips and, when scaled, meaningfully contribute to GHG emission reductions. eBikes get more people active and transform how we get around town on shorter trips. Bicycle Colorado has been advancing the adoption of eBikes by supporting local and state-level rebates and community programs.

A group of people stand in front of the steps of the Colorado State Capitol with an eCargo bike.

Active transportation and youth

Research indicates that physical activity in the morning, such as walking and biking to school, supports physical and emotional health and supports learning. Bicycle Colorado is committed to advancing policies that encourage youth across Colorado to bike and walk.

 

SB23-094: School Transportation Task Force

Bicycle Colorado Position: MONITOR (May 2, 2023)
Status: Governor signed into law

What this is about: Families and school districts across Colorado face challenges in ensuring all children have safe transportation to school. This bill creates a Colorado school transportation modernization task force to create a report containing findings and recommendations to improve public school transportation services for students.

Why we care: At first glance, this bill may not be exciting to some people—create another task force to produce another report. However, significant change often begins with small steps. Bicycle Colorado wants to ensure that the scope of the proposed report includes biking and walking and that participants on the task force bring a biking and walking perspective. If we are successful, this bill will align nicely with our efforts to support Safe Routes to School programs in Colorado.

Public transit

Increasing transit ridership improves air quality and safety on our roads and in our communities by reducing the number of miles traveled by motor vehicle. When more people take transit, there are fewer individual motor vehicles on the road (cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks), meaning less air pollution and easier and safer traveling for people biking, walking and rolling.

 

HB23-1101: Ozone Season Transit Grant Program Flexibility

Bicycle Colorado Position: SUPPORT (May 2, 2023)
Status: Governor signed into law

What this is about: Last year, the Governor signed HB22-180, which provided grants to transit associations across the state to offer free transit services for at least 30 days during peak ozone periods. HB23-1101 will provide transit agencies more flexibility with how funds are used to promote ridership during peak ozone periods.

Why we care: In a nutshell, public transit is good for people who bike and walk. Additionally, the 2022 program was a success: thirteen transit associations across Colorado received a grant in 2022 and studies showed that the program increased ridership during the fare-free month and beyond.

Land Use

Land use and transportation are inextricably linked. Policies that govern what can be built and where it can be built directly impacts how people move around their communities. Bicycle Colorado advocates for land use policies that promote communities that are compact with mixed-use development that allow people to live closer to everyday destinations and transit, making biking, walking and taking transit more feasible options for more people. Increasing active transportation and transit options affects air quality, access to economic opportunity, mental and physical health, climate, and equity.

 

SB23-213: Land Use

Bicycle Colorado Position: MONITOR (May 2, 2023)
Status: Failed reconciliation in conference committee

What this is about: The primary aim of the legislation is to increase the supply of housing to address affordability and create more walkable and, in some regions of the state, bikeable communities with easy access to public transit.

Why we care: Bicycle Colorado will be monitoring this bill and possibly proposing amendments to ensure that Colorado’s land use policy supports creating communities that are bike and walk friendly.

How can you support our policy and advocacy work?

  1. Stay Informed. Read this update to understand the bills we are supporting or opposing and the impact these will have on Colorado if passed. Also, stay current on our legislative work by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and signing up for our free email newsletter.
  2. Take Action. Your voice truly matters, and we may need your voice to help pass a bill. If you’re open to writing to elected officials, sign up for Action Alerts.

Thank you for your advocacy!

If you’d like to support our work, consider becoming a member or making a donation today.

Testimonial

“I attended a Learn to Ride lesson with my younger daughter. We’ve been struggling to get her on a bike for YEARS. Tried all kinds of things with no success, and last night she went from being anxious and wobbly to riding confidently and with joy. She was beaming from ear to ear and can’t wait to get back on the bike. I cannot tell you what a literal life-changing experience this was not only for her, but for the rest of the family, so thank you so much for that, I’m profoundly grateful.”

  • Maya G.
Become a Member
Bicycle Colorado
@BicycleColo

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We’re thrilled to see so many people out enjoying (and often rediscovering the joy of) riding a bike right now, and we’re asking ALL bicyclists to do their part to prevent the spread of #covid19 by wearing a mask or other face covering when out for a ride. Doing so keeps you, your loved ones, those around you, and all Coloradans safer while helping reduce stress on our medical system. If you still need a mask, click the link in our bio to pre-order one now and support our advocacy work! Thanks so much to everyone who has already purchased, and to @primalwear for supporting our efforts over the years. Ride on.
  • #BicycleColorado volunteers and staff members spent time today helping @denverurbangardens and @denverfoodrescue deliver “Grow a Garden” food boxes to home-bound families in Denver—via bike! Supporting our community on two wheels makes for a great way to spend a sunny day. Many thanks to our friends @ddchen47, David M., and @juggernautcargo for your help! Head to denverfoodrescue.org or dug.org to learn more about these great local organizations. #rideyourbike
  • Tonight the #BicycleColorado team celebrated Stacey, our outgoing Development Director, with a virtual happy hour. Stacey has been an absolute rockstar for BC. We’re sad to see her leave, but thrilled for her as she heads out on a new adventure (hopefully in the #BikeAdvocacy space!) in North Carolina. Please join us in wishing her well!