Bicycle Laws to Know in Colorado

cycling at sunset

Colorado is ranked as one of the top states for cyclists due to its beautiful scenery and abundance of trails. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents and even deaths do occur. Thoroughly understanding Colorado’s cycling laws can keep you safe and reduce your liability in the event of an accident. 

The following are some of the most important bicycle laws to know in Colorado.

Where Are You Allowed to Ride a Bike in Colorado?

Official Colorado Bicycle Laws state that a cyclist may ride on all public streets and roads, but not the highway. Trails are generally acceptable for all cyclists, provided there is not a sign prohibiting it. 

 

wooden no cycling sign on nature trail

Can I Ride on the Sidewalk?

A bicycle is treated the same as a motor vehicle with respect to rights and responsibilities. This means that, in many cases, cycling on the sidewalk is not allowed. You will need to check local ordinances before riding your bike on the sidewalk. 

Can I Ride Next to Someone?

Yes, Colorado allows cyclists to ride up to two abreast, provided that it does not impede the flow of traffic. You may not share a lane with a motor vehicle except to pass it. 

Can I Use a Cell Phone?

Yes. Colorado law permits the use of cellphones, including texting, when riding a bicycle. This is different from motor vehicle regulations which prohibit texting and driving (all ages) as well as the use of cellphones (under 18). 

Do Cyclists Have Right-of-Way?

While it may seem strange, no, cyclists do not have right-of-way when it comes to motor vehicles or pedestrians. Again, bicycles are treated in the same manner as motor vehicles under the law (except for cell phone usage). 

This means cyclists must adhere to the same traffic rules and regulations as if they were driving a car. Bicycles must ride with the flow of traffic and stop at stop signs and red lights. They must yield to vehicles when appropriate and always to pedestrians on the sidewalk. 

Cyclists can receive traffic citations and be held liable for collisions just like cars. Even if a cyclist sustains greater injuries in an accident, they will be held responsible if they were found to be in violation of cycling laws. 

Helmet Laws in Colorado

Colorado does not require the use of a helmet in cyclists of any age. Since there are no laws that universally mandate the use of a helmet, a cyclist cannot be held negligent in the event of injuries sustained while not wearing one.

That being said, wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by up to 85 percent. Sports and recreational activities like cycling account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBI’s can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life and may require life-long treatment. 

Choose a helmet that fits properly, is comfortable, and is designed for your style of riding. Mountain biking helmets, for example, have added protection in the back since it is more common for mountain bikers to fall backward.

The best way to find a good helmet is to visit a professional bike shop. They can help you find the most effective helmet for your cycling style and ensure proper fit and comfort. 

Required Cycling Equipment

While helmets are not enforced by law, cyclists are required to have certain safety equipment. They must have fully operational brakes and a white light in front that is visible for a minimum of 500 feet. A red light/red reflector is required in the back and must be visible for at least 600 feet. Sirens and whistles are not permitted, and there must be proper seating to accommodate another passenger. 

Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Colorado

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycling accident, you will want to contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Injury or wrongful death due to the negligence of another can be a traumatic and arduous process. The professional accident attorneys at Roth Milne are here to help you. Give our office a call or go online to schedule your free consultation.