Bicycling is a great way to get around, both recreationally and for everyday transportation. However, those who ride bikes regularly need to know the laws surrounding their ride of choice. Here, we want to discuss the most relevant bicycle laws in Colorado that you need to know in order to remain safe on the roadway. Contact a bicycle accident attorney if you are involved in an accident.
Bicycle Helmet Laws in Colorado
Even though the Colorado Department of Transportation encourages bicyclists to wear appropriate gear, including helmets, bicycle helmets are not required by law in this state. However, we strongly encourage any bicyclist to purchase a DOT-approved helmet. This is especially important for children who ride bicycles.
Overall Rights of Bicyclists
Overall, it is important to know that Colorado law treats a bicycle just like a regular vehicle. This means that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadway as other vehicles. Bicyclists not only deserve the same respect as car drivers, but they can also receive fines and penalties for failing to obey traffic laws.
Which Lane and Where to Ride
Colorado bicyclists are supposed to ride as far to the right in the right-hand lane as possible (not off the roadway) unless they are passing another vehicle, trying to avoid a hazard, or turning left.
In general, bicyclists are allowed to ride anywhere motor vehicles and pedestrians can go. This includes the shoulders of highways as well as sidewalks. However, there are some highways and sidewalk areas that specifically prohibit bicycle riding.
How to Ride
Bicyclists are required to keep one hand on the handlebars on the bike at all times when riding. Bicyclists should ride single file if they are cycling with others, unless it is possible to ride two abreast in a single lane without blocking traffic or if the bicyclists are on designated cycling paths.
Any bicyclist should declare their intention to pass other cyclists or pedestrians out loud as a warning. Additionally, bicyclists are required to use hand signals to indicate if they are going to turn, stop, or slow down.
Reflectors or Lights
If a bicyclist is going to be operating in the evening or night, they should have a white headlight and red tail light or rear reflectors that are visible from at least 600 feet.
Using a Cell Phone While Biking
Cell phones are a major cause of distraction for drivers, and this is certainly true for bicyclists as well. Because bicyclists have the same responsibilities on the roadway as any other driver, there are some restrictions on cell phone use while riding. Any bicyclist age 18 or older will be allowed to use their cell phones for voice calls or while using voice commands. Bicyclists can use headphones while riding, though this is not recommended.
Bicyclists under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone while cycling, per state law regarding cell phone use in or on a vehicle. Additionally, bicyclists of any age are not allowed to text or perform other types of manual data entry on cell phones while riding.