Do Cyclists Have the Right of Way in Colorado?Request Free Consultation
With the increased popularity of bike riding in Colorado, including e-bikes and other battery-powered vehicles, riders in Colorado need to know if they have the right of way when traveling on Colorado roads.
In general, cyclists have extensive rights and responsibilities on Colorado roadways, and riders do have the right of way in Colorado under certain circumstances depending on where they are riding.
It’s important that riders and the surrounding cars abide by traffic and bike laws to reduce the risk of an accident. When a vehicle hits someone riding a bike, the result can be tragic.
If you’ve been in an accident while riding a bike, contact a Denver bicycle accident lawyer for help.
What Are the Rules of the Road for Bikes in Colorado?
According to Colorado law, “Every person riding a bicycle shall have all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle…”
Bicycles have the right to be on the roadway, and other motorists need to respect that right. Bicyclists are also responsible for obeying all traffic laws, signals, and right-of-way laws.
Bikes ridden on roads must go with the flow of traffic (and not toward oncoming traffic) unless they are inside a designated counterflow lane specifically for bicycles. Bicyclists are also required to yield to pedestrians, just like drivers of any other vehicle.
If a bicyclist wishes to make a turn, they are responsible for using hand signals 100 feet before the turn or merge. Bicyclists are allowed to ride side by side, so long as doing so does not impede the normal flow of traffic.
During the evening and nighttime, bicyclists should use, at minimum, a white front light as well as a reflector and a side reflector. Bicyclists need to remain visible at all times on the roadway.
Regarding whether bicycles have the right of way over other types of vehicles, the answer is no. Bicyclists are treated just like any other motor vehicle, and they certainly do not have the right of way over pedestrians.
Pedestrians typically have the right of way over other vehicles, including bicycles, in most situations.
If there is a designated bike lane, bicyclists typically have the right of way inside the lane. Vehicles cannot cut off a bicyclist in these lanes, and vehicles should not be traveling in these lanes at all.
Pedestrians should not walk inside designated bike lanes, either, as they do not have the right of way there. However, if a pedestrian crosswalk goes through a bike lane, bicyclists are responsible for stopping and yielding to crossing pedestrian traffic.
What is the Colorado Safety Stop?
Bicycle laws in Colorado allow cyclists and users of low-speed conveyances to perform the “safety stop.” This means that when an intersection is clear, and they already have the right of way, bicyclists ages 15 and older may now treat stop signs as yield signs and treat stop lights as stop signs.
Younger bicyclists may perform the maneuver if an adult is present. Bicyclists are also allowed to proceed straight, turn right, or left at intersections at a reasonable speed of no more than 10 miles per hour only when the coast is clear.
New Standards for Electrical Assisted Bicycles
In Colorado, an electrical assisted bicycle is defined as a vehicle having two or three wheels, fully operable pedals, and an electric motor not exceeding seven hundred fifty watts (750W) of power.
Colorado classifies electric bikes into three categories:
Class 1 – An electrical assisted bicycle with a motor that provides assistance solely during pedaling and disengages the motor when the bicycle achieves a speed of twenty miles per hour.
Class 2 – An electrical assisted bicycle with a motor that provides assistance with or without pedaling, but disengages the motor when the bicycle achieves a speed of twenty miles per hour.
Class 3 – An electrical assisted bicycle with a motor that provides assistance solely during pedaling, but disengages the motor when the bicycle achieves a speed of twenty-eight miles per hour.
Electric bicycles are permitted to operate on both roads and designated bike lanes. Ebikes are also allowed on bike and pedestrian paths; however, the use of the electric motor is generally not allowed unless specified by local ordinances.
Class 3 electric bikes are restricted to riders who are 16 years of age or older. Additionally, riders and passengers of Class 3 e-bikes must wear helmets.
What Happens After a Bicycle Accident in Colorado?
When a bicycle accident happens in Colorado, the following steps will help guide those involved.
If the incident involves another vehicle or causes any injuries, the police need to come to the scene to conduct an investigation. Contacting a Denver bike accident attorney for legal help is a good idea.
If another driver caused the accident, then their insurance company should compensate the bicyclist for their losses.
If the bicyclist was responsible for causing the accident, they may be responsible for paying compensation if there were injuries or property damage.
Bike accidents can result in serious injuries or death. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a bike accident in Colorado, talk with a Denver bike accident attorney at Fuicelli & Lee about your legal options.
Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can help get you the maximum financial recovery possible, so you can focus on getting better.