A bicyclist has been cited for running a red light following a vehicle/bicycle collision at 12th and Gunnison in Grand Junction. The good news - the bicyclist was not severely injured. The bad news - this was one of several such accidents in the last month. Perhaps it's time to review Colorado's bicycle laws.

Only a few weeks ago a cyclist was hit by a car only a block from the station. This occurred on a relatively unoccupied street on a very slow day with very little traffic.

Accident in Front of Grand Junction High School
Waylon Jordan

When driving down 4th or 5th in Grand Junction, it's not uncommon to see bicyclists blow right through a stop sign while riding down the perpendicular streets. You'll witness this frequently. As a matter of fact, daily comes to mind.

For the record, I am a cyclist and look forward to riding to work during the warmer months. I love seeing Grand Junction residents using bikes to commute. It's healthy, fuel efficient, and helps relieve congestion on the streets. On the other hand, in the last week alone, I've witnessed several instances of bicyclists ignoring or even disobeying traffic laws. Let's review, shall we?

Let's take a look at the letter of the law as it applies to bicycling. Most are obvious - no riding with someone on the handlebars, no hooking your bike to a car with a tow rope, etc. According to codot.gov:

  • Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.
  • No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped. In other words, you can't put your grandmother on the handlebars.
  • No person riding upon any bicycle shall attach the same or himself to any motor vehicle upon a roadway. Put simply, you can't run a towrope from a car to your bike and "waterski" your way through town.
  • Any person riding a bicycle shall ride in the right-hand lane. When being overtaken by another vehicle, such person shall ride as close to the right-hand side as practicable. Where a paved shoulder suitable for bicycle riding is present, persons operating bicycles shall ride on the paved shoulder.
  • Thou shalt ride single file. (I put a little spin on that one!)
  • Thou shalt ride no more than two abreast, except under these circumstances:
    When riding two abreast will not impede the normal and reasonable movement of  traffic
    When riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
  • Thou shalt keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. (Another example where I took some liberties.)
  • Every person riding a bicycle shall signal his intention to turn or stop.
  • A person riding a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or pathway or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian.

When it's all said and done, these instructions pretty much reinforce what everyone already knows. Let's keep it safe out there. Brushing up on a little information can make for a great summer of cycling.

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