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!

Please keep an eye on this page for updates and how to act.

Learn more about the significant health and economic benefits that bicycling provides to the state of Colorado.

Support a state transportation funding measure that includes dedicated bike/walk funding

STATUS: The bill passed the house on March 31 and is being considered by the senate. This page will have updates as new calls to action arise. Thank you for following this. 

Bicycle Colorado has been working with a multimodal coalition to ensure any proposed new state transportation revenue includes designated funds for walking, biking and transit. Those efforts paid off last week when House Bill 17-1242 was introduced with bipartisan support to increase annual transportation funding by $625 million including $100 million each year for bicycling, walking and transit.

Colorado has significant multimodal needs, including over $330 million of unfunded bicycle and pedestrian projects currently identified by local communities. Addressing these needs is critical to improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system and provide the options we need to keep Colorado moving forward.

While HB 17-1242 will not meet all the active transportation needs in our state, Bicycle Colorado appreciates the bipartisan effort from the bill sponsors to bring diverse views and needs together into one proposal. We believe HB 17-1242 is an acceptable compromise investment in Colorado’s multimodal needs and we are committed to seeing it pass through the Legislature and be approved by voters in November.

Why more bike/walk funding matters to Colorado

Whether you ride to work on bike paths, explore dirt trails in your free time, test your legs cycling mountain passes, follow your kids as they pedal to school or simply use a bicycle as your number-one vehicle for going about daily life, this issue matters to you. Good bicycling (and walking) infrastructure makes our business, casual and fun rides safer, easier to navigate and more enjoyable.

Bicycling and walking improve communities through safer roads, healthier residents and increased local tourism. Multiple studies have shown that bicycling and walking facilities can also lead to increased property values, benefit businesses by increasing retail visibility and volume, and significantly reduce traffic deaths–which increased dramatically in 2016. That year, bicyclist and pedestrian deaths reached a 15-year high.

In Colorado, specifically, just a 10 percent increase in bicycling and walking would prevent an additional 30-40 deaths per year and lead to $258-$387 million in additional annual healthcare savings to the state.

According the U.S. Census, Colorado has the second-fastest growing population. Our dramatic, rapid growth has increased demand on our infrastructure, and future growth is going to create even more.

Our state severely under-funds bike/walk projects

In 2015, Colorado decided it would prioritize the goal of becoming the nation’s number one bike state as a broad benefit to residents, businesses and tourism. Governor Hickenlooper has, on several occasions, stated that bicycles are simply a part of Colorado’s identity. The intertwining of bicycles into our collective lifestyles helps to create the work-life balance that our state is known for–and it a big reason why people enjoy living and visiting here.

However, multimodal transportation options are severely under-funded. Colorado is currently ranked 29th among states in per capita funding for transit, investing just one-twentieth of the national average. Additionally, Colorado currently has a backlog of over $330 million of locally identified (yet unfunded) biking and walking projects.

Residents want more bike/walk funding

According to a statewide study released in late 2016, Colorado residents are, overall, unsatisfied with the state’s bicycling infrastructure, including lack of dedicated and protected bicycle facilities, bicycle-friendly traffic signals and accommodations such as bike parking at destinations.

The ability to ride a bicycle without fear of being hit; the ability to use public transit in conjunction with riding; and the availability of bike lanes, trails and bicycle parking all received low marks from residents.

Recent polling from the Colorado Contractors Association found that more than 70 percent of voters say they are more likely to support a statewide transportation funding measure when told that it includes funding dedicated to multimodal options.

Mayors and other leaders across the state want more bike/walk funding

A broad and diverse coalition of mayors, local and regional officials, civic groups, mobility service providers, trade associations, nonprofit advocacy organizations and others are formally calling (via outreach to the legislature) for a 2017 ballot measure that would provide new revenues for bicycling and walking projects across the state They also request that what funding is provided be flexible to address diverse, local needs so that all of Colorado benefits. The coalition has sent two letters to the Legislature within the last month to make their position clear.

Groups supporting this include the American Council of Engineering, Metro Mayors Caucus, LiveWell Colorado, I-70 Coalition and others. Mayors from Aspen, Boulder, Edgewater, La Junta, Lamar, Longmont, Palisade, Telluride, Trinidad, Vail and Wheat Ridge also endorse this call for statewide funding, as well as dozens of council members and county commissioners from cities and towns both urban and rural across the state.

THIS ISSUE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT!

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

Support license suspension for hit-and-run suspects

STATUS: The bill was introduced and will be heard first by the House Transportation Committee 

Hit-and-run legislation, HB 1277, was recently brought forward by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush and Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik. The bill–Driver’s License Suspension Leaving Accident Scene–would immediately suspend the license of a driver who is suspected of a hit-and-run crash involving serious bodily injury or death, getting dangerous drivers off the road as soon as a summons or arrest is made. Hit-and-run crashes disproportionately affect children and adults who walk or ride bicycles, and the number of such crashes is on the rise.

Please contact your state legislator today and ask them to support this bill. Something needs to be done to make a hit-and-run a more serious offense.

2017 issues no longer under consideration

The following two issues either passed or failed in the legislature. We left them up so you can see what we have been working on and learn about each issue. Our work is not done.

THANK YOU to everyone who contacted their elected officials regarding one or more of these issues. Even though two were unsuccessful, the groundswell of constituent emails and phone calls will help us when we bring up these issues again. The more bicycle enthusiasts can show a unified, strong and vocal front, the more successful we will be in the future.

Clarify statewide eBike regulations

UPDATE: The bill passed and was signed into law. 

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
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.

Stop the practice of rolling coal

UPDATE: The bill passed and was signed into law. 

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. It failed in the senate in February.

On March 31, Sen. Don Coram of Montrose introduced a second-chance bill that would make intentionally shooting exhaust at bicyclists, pedestrians or other motorists a traffic infraction punishable by a $100 fine. It’s almost identical to Rep. Ginal’s proposal. The new version deletes references to harassing behavior and includes specific exhibitions for commercial and agricultural vehicles.

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.

Background

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

Support higher penalties for texting while driving

STATUS: SB17-027 passed! It is now before the governor to hopefully be signed into law.  

Senator Lois Court and Representative Jovan Melton have introduced legislation to increase Colorado’s penalties for texting while driving. Currently, the fine for texting while driving is $50 and one point assessed against the violator’s driver’s license for a first offense, and a $100 fine and one point assessed against the violator’s driver’s license for a second or subsequent offense. SB-27 increases the penalty to a $500 fine and five points for a first offense and a $750 fine and six points for a second or subsequent offense.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of traffic injuries and fatalities. In 2009, Colorado passed legislation outlawing texting while driving in response to a distracted driver who tragically killed a Fort Collins girl who was riding her bike.

Unfortunately, the existing penalties for a behavior that can have such high consequences do not seem to be much of a deterrent. Colorado has some of the lowest texting while driving fines in the U.S. Deaths on Colorado’s roadways jumped about 11 percent in 2016 to 605, a total that includes a 15-year-high number of pedestrians (84) and bicyclists (16) killed. In January, Colorado Department of Transportation executive director Shailen Bhatt blamed the surge in crashes on an “epidemic of distracted driving” (Denver Post).

ACT NOW! Click the red button to the left to quickly and easily speak up by emailing a message of support to your state representative. 

Bicycle Colorado
@BicycleColo

Happy Thanksgiving! We're especially thankful for all our members and supporters this holiday season. Without you,… https://t.co/Nm8xKeg5Di

  • Happy Thanksgiving! We’re especially thankful for all our members and supporters this holiday season. Without you, our work making Colorado the #1bikestate wouldn’t be possible.
  • Click the link in our bio to schedule a gift to Bicycle Colorado for Colorado Gives Day and support initiatives like our Safe Routes to School program.

While many adults fondly reminisce on biking or walking to school, most kids today are being driven to school—and just about everywhere else. We’re working to make sure the next generation has similar memories—that they are healthy and grow up experiencing their communities through the joy of riding a bike. Donating to Bicycle Colorado on Colorado Gives Day allows us to continue Safe Routes to School and other programs so kids are empowered and have a strong foundation to achieve these goals.
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