The 2017 legislative session in Colorado convened on January 11. The session is limited to 120 days and will adjourn May 10. In that short time, there is much work to be done.

On this page, you’ll find detailed information on our policy initiatives and what you can do to help. We’ve made it quick and easy to learn about these issues and contact your state representatives and senators to support funding, infrastructure and support for bicycling in Colorado.

Together, with a unified voice, we can make a difference and continue to make this the #1 state for bikes!

THIS ISSUE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT!

Access our Voter Voice advocacy campaign to quickly and easily contact your state senator and representative.

(1) State transportation legislation needs to include biking and walking funding

Opening negotiations for a new transportation funding bill are at a critical point. The good news is that both parties at the state capitol agree that Colorado has a major transportation funding shortfall. The bad news is without your support, the proposed solution may not include good bicycling and walking funding. Let’s unite to make bicycling and walking a major part of any proposed solution.

Bicycling and walking improve communities through safer roads, healthier residents and increased local tourism. We need your help to make sure biking and walking needs are met. With more than $330 million of biking and walking projects around the state awaiting funding, these options need to be a significant part of any transportation bill. Please take a minute to contact your state senator and representative and let them know that bicycling and walking are a big part of transportation!

Act now to contact your state representative and senator. 

(2) Stop the practice of rolling coal

UPDATE: The bill passed the House Transportation and Energy Committee on Wednesday, February 8. Bicycle Colorado testified in favor and is pleased that the bill now moves to the full house for a vote. We will send out an alert once action is needed. Thank you to everyone who spoke up during round one!

Have you ever been riding your bicycle and been subjected to an intentional blast of black diesel smoke from a passing vehicle? This alarming action called “rolling coal” is far too common. It’s not only a health hazard, it’s extremely dangerous to have your view of the road suddenly and completely obscured and can lead to crashes.

Rolling coal doesn’t just affect people traveling on bicycle or foot. Drivers caught in the cloud of black smoke can’t see and run the risk of getting in an accident. It’s a nuisance for people enjoying our city centers either by walking through them or dining outside. Finally, rolling coal can deter tourists from taking bicycling trips to and within Colorado.

Unfortunately, Colorado’s laws make it almost impossible for police to ticket coal rollers. Rep. Joann Ginal of District 52 (Ft. Collins) introduced a bill to help law enforcement cite this dangerous behavior.

(3) Clarify statewide eBike regulations

UPDATE: The (unamended) bill will go before the House Committee of the Whole on February 21 for a second reading. 

Bicycle Colorado supports bicycling for everyone. Therefore, we want to see the number of bicyclists grow and to make it easier for people to use bikes for everyday trips. Some trips are too long, too hilly, or have cargo too heavy (like children) for regular bikes to meet the need. Electric bikes (eBikes) can help solve the problem. Most often, they are used to replace car trips.

Bicycle Colorado helped Colorado to be one of the first states to define and legalize eBikes in 2009. This year, the eBike industry has come together to agree on a defined classification system to improve safety and enforcement. House Bill 1151 will align Colorado’s definitions with the national standards. It does not affect management of eBikes on public mountain bike and hiking trails.

eBikes get more people to bike and get people to bike more often. They help:

  • People who are older
  • People who live in parts of the state that are hilly or windy
  • People who have long commutes and currently drive instead of bike
  • People who have a physical limitation that makes cycling difficult
  • People concerned about sweating while biking in work clothes
  • People who need to carry large items or children

To learn more, visit PeopleForBikes’ eBike resource page.

House Bill 1151: What it does
  • Defines 3 classes of electrical assisted bicycles, depending on their top speed and whether the electric motor assists while pedaling
  • Requires manufacturers to label electrical assisted bicycles so they are easy to identify
  • Continues local government authority to manage electric-assist bicycles on bike paths under their jurisdiction
  • Prohibits a person under the age of 16 from riding a class 3 electrical assisted bicycle except as a passenger
  • Helmet usage is the same for Class 3 eBikes as low-powered scooters and allows certified bicycle helmets instead of motorcycle helmets
House Bill 1151: What it does not do
  • It does not affect management of eBikes on public mountain bike and hiking trails
  • Does not change existing eBike access to roads and bike lanes
Why Bicycle Colorado supports House Bill 1151
  • A key part of our mission is to encourage and enable more Coloradans to ride bikes for everyday trips and recreation. eBikes make bicycling accessible to more people by providing an option with electrical assistance.
  • As more bicyclists use roads and paths, bicycles become more visible which has shown to improve safety for everyone.
  • Many Coloradans who wish to start riding or ride more don’t do so due to physical constraints or limits of endurance. E-Bikes are a gateway for these people to bike more.
  • For bicyclists wanting to carry heavy items and/or children, electric-assist can make these rides feasible instead of taking a car. eBikes can help replace thousands of the daily single occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips made every day.
  • Boulder has permitted eBikes on many shared used paths in its city for over two years. The city completed a study and found that average eBike travel speeds were similar to traditional bicyclists. Further, there has been no significant increase in crashes.

SHOW SUPPORT FOR THIS ISSUE!

Safety Stop Bill

UPDATE: On February 7, Bicycle Colorado joined several people from across the state to testify in favor of the Safety Stop Bill. The bill failed 3-2 (and therefore did not make it out of the Senate Transportation Committee). However, there was strong support from across the state. This conversation has to continue and we’ll see to it.

You can still sign our petition supporting the Safety Stop! We’re keeping it live to build on future efforts. Signing it will help us demonstrate support. 

If you’d like to help our advocacy work, please consider joining, today. Thank you to everyone who testified, called or wrote on behalf of SB93.

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The 2017 bill proposed in the Colorado legislature by Senator Andy Kerr would have allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield and red lights as stop signs if the coast is clear. Commonly referred to as the Idaho Stop, where a state law was first implemented in 1982, various versions of the Safety Stop are already in place in several Colorado communities. Having a single statewide law in place would help both motorists and bicyclists understand the law more easily and know where the practice is allowed.

A Safety Stop law would still require cyclists to yield to all traffic in the intersection as well as to pedestrians. A study of Idaho’s law found no evidence of a long-term increase in injury or fatality rates and bicycle injury rates declined by 14.5 percent in the law’s first year.

“This type of law can reduce conflicts on the roads and improve the flow of traffic by helping motorists not have to wait for a bicyclist to get going,” stated Dan Grunig, executive director of Bicycle Colorado. “While we work to have a more inclusive infrastructure for all people bicycling and walking, this is a step to help traffic move safely and efficiently within our current system.”

What the proposed law does
  • Requires people on bicycles to stop at stop signs and stop lights and yield the right of way if there is any traffic at the intersection.
  • At a stop sign intersection, if the coast is clear, the person on a bicycle may proceed like they would at a yield sign.
  • At a red stop light, bicyclists must come to a complete stop and then may proceed straight or right if the coast is clear. For bicyclists turning left, they must stop and wait for green light to make a left-hand turn.
  • People on bicycles still must yield to people walking and to other vehicles that have the right-of-way.
  • Failure to yield would continue to be illegal, as well as unsafe.
What the proposed law does not do
  • The proposed law does not change the general right of way rules at intersections.
  • It does not give people on bicycles priority over others in the intersection.
Safety Stop FAQ

FAQs

  1. What would this law do?
    This law would make it legal for bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights like a stop sign. No left turns are allowed at a red stop light. A bicyclist approaching an intersection controlled by a stop sign would be permitted to roll through the stop sign after yielding the right of way if there are other vehicles at the intersection.
  2. Would cars have to stop and wait for bicyclists?
    No, this law change would allow a cyclist to slowly approach the intersection and proceed only if the intersection was clear and it was safe to continue. The law does not grant a cyclist permission to take the right of way from another vehicle.
  3. Why is it often called an “Idaho Stop?”
    In 1982, the Idaho legislature passed a law that allowed bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield and not always come to a complete stop.
  4. What if I feel safer stopping at all stop signs?
    As a cyclist, nothing in the law would require you to roll through stop signs. If it is your preferred practice to stop each time, then you may keep doing so.
  5. Why not apply this to motorists as well?
    Stop signs must apply to motorists because their vehicles pose a much greater threat to bicyclists, pedestrians and other motorists.
More info on the Idaho Stop

From the study’s conclusion: “There is no single measure as quick and cost effective for increased and safer cycling than to relax stopping rules for bicyclists. Stop signs and signals intended to discourage motor traffic have been placed in precisely the places where bicyclists most wish to ride, often without warrant for motorists let alone bicyclists, discouraging cycling and creating widespread noncompliance with a requisite backlash.”

From the study’s executive summary: “Considering permitting ‘Idaho Stops’ at four-way stop intersections, which would enable cyclists to determine whether to stop or yield based on traffic conditions in order to maintain their momentum. The study shows that only about one cyclist in 25 presently complies with the law to come to a complete stop. A pilot program to allow Idaho Stops at certain traffic signal intersections when traffic volumes are relatively low may also be considered.”

Video from Oregon about the Idaho Stop

Bicycle Colorado
@BicycleColo

Speak up for bikes March 1! https://t.co/Y1jviJMudl #bicyclecolorado #bikedenver https://t.co/41epfPd2mH

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