Top 5 Myths about Cycling Laws - Tour de France Edition
I am an avid cyclist and Colorado is my playground. Our state offers the best of everything: a multitude of well-maintained bike paths, beautiful mountain climbs, and a friendly cycling community that embraces safety, fun, and the great outdoors. July is my favorite month in the cycling calendar. I just finished the Triple Bypass ride two days ago, and the Tour de France is in full swing. In the spirit all things bike, here is a quick blog that discusses some myths about bicycle laws in Colorado.
Myth 1: It is legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk
This is definitely not true, and it’s a fact that may surprise many people. A bicyclist is subject to the same rules as a car or motorcycle. Cyclists are required to travel on the right side of the road in the direction of vehicle traffic, or on a designated bike path. They are not permitted on sidewalks at all. What many cyclists don’t know is that there are streets in metro Denver that are wider than others that are designated bike routes. Check them out here.
Myth 2: It is legal to ride your bike through a crosswalk like a pedestrian.
Again, not true for the same reasons as outlined above. A cyclist at an intersection must be in the road, not the crosswalk. He must adhere to the red light/green light traffic signals in order to cross the intersection, just like a car. The WALK/DON’T WALK signals do not apply to cyclists. The exception is if you are walking your bike across the street after dismounting.
Myth 3: If I get cited by a police officer on my bike, it will affect the points on my driver’s license.
This is one area where bikes are treated differently than cars. You don’t need a driver’s license to ride a bike, so if you get stopped for speeding, your driver’s license is not jeopardized. Make no mistake though- cops are enforcing traffic laws against cyclists- stop sign and red signal violations are particularly common, as are speeding tickets. You can get cited, and may have to appear in court.
Myth 4: You must wear a helmet or other protective gear on public roadways.
There is no helmet law for cyclists (or motorcyclists) in Colorado. Thus, it is legal to ride without a helmet, even on public roadways. That said, you are tempting fate if you don’t take the precaution of wearing a helmet. You may be the best bike handler in the world, but the texting teen who runs the red light and hits you doesn’t care.
Myth 5: You can ride two abreast as long as you are on the shoulder.
Multiple riders must ride in single file. You cannot ride alongside another cyclist, unless you are passing. This is a rule that gets violated every day, and it can cause friction between motorists and cyclists, especially in mountain communities. It’s always fun to ride with other people, but it must be done safely in single file. This applies to bike paths as well.
Have a great summer- see you out pedaling! Vive le Tour!