Colorado Cyclists Seek to Increase Education for Vehicle Operators

From Amy Gaiennie, a Colorado Bike Accident Attorney with The Gaiennie Law Office in Denver, CO.

Colorado has a lot to offer, and many of its residents enjoy bike riding. The varying terrain and scenic views make the use of bikes for exercise and enjoyment incredibly popular throughout the state. However, it is common for both cyclists and drivers of automobiles to be uncertain as to proper road rules and etiquette.

A meeting held by a state senator and a state representative in Mesa County, Colorado, presented an opportunity for both cyclists and drivers to have a dialogue about the current state of the laws, the rules that govern cyclists and drivers, and to voice concerns about the lack of education for both cyclists and drivers.

In Mesa County, there have been 38 accidents involving a bike and a motor vehicle since 2013. In Denver, the average is north of 250 bike and motor vehicle accidents per year.

One of the primary issues affecting the interaction of bicycles and motor vehicles is a lack of education. As was evident in the meeting mentioned above, motor vehicle operators lacked even basic knowledge about bicycle rules. For instance, one driver suggested during the meeting that cyclists should be on the sidewalk instead of in the road.  It had to be pointed out to the driver that cyclists were not allowed on the sidewalks, as it could endanger pedestrians.

Other examples of confusion include cyclists not understanding the laws as it relates to a cyclist’s ability to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and a red light as a stop sign.  In Colorado, cyclists can roll through stop signs – known as an “Idaho Stop” – as long as the municipality has not passed laws indicating otherwise. For drivers, being uncertain as to what a cyclist can do or may do creates a dangerous environment; one that endangers both the rider and the driver.

Ultimately, the laws are designed to protect cyclists by requiring drivers to provide three feet of space between their vehicle and a bike when passing and allowing drivers to cross a double-yellow line to provide that three feet of space. Education on these laws is crucial to seeing safer roads for both drivers and cyclists.

Amy Gaiennie is a personal injury attorney and managing member of The Gaiennie Law Office. She graduated from the University of Denver College of Law. She can be found on Yelp.

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One Response to “Colorado Cyclists Seek to Increase Education for Vehicle Operators”

  1. Tom McCarey says:

    I don’t know where to start with this article. “have a dialogue about the current state of the laws,” what is that? They are laws, they aren’t open for debate. The bicycle is a vehicle, subject to all the responsibilities of a car. Bicyclists won’t take responsibility for their own safety.

    The “law(s) as it relates to a cyclist’s ability to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and a red light as a stop sign.” This is insane, and should be repealed, as it introduces ambiguity into the situation and increases the possibility of an accident, much the same way the “yield for pedestrians” laws have led to people to walk right out in front of moving vehicles.

    Reciting accident statistics is meaningless. How many of the accidents were the bicyclist’s fault? The blame is always placed on the driver or assumed to be the driver’s fault.

    This lawyer makes her money with personal injury cases. Bicyclists don’t have insurance, so you can bet the people with the money-drivers-are the ones being targeted.

    I think this article is anti-auto/anti-driver.