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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Access our Voter Voice advocacy campaign to quickly and easily contact your state representative.
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.
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.
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:
STATUS: SB17-278 passed! It is now before the governor to be 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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.