Every year, hundreds of bicyclists die on U.S. roads, making up about 2 percent of all traffic fatalities. Tens of thousands more are injured on top of that, many critically. Be aware, be safe, be respectful, and don’t be a statistic.
In Colorado, motorists and bicyclists share the road, both with equal rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws. It may surprise some to know that bicycle drivers who violate traffic laws are subject to the same penalties as drivers of motor vehicles, except that no penalty points are assessed against the bicyclist’s driver’s license.
Motorists also share the responsibility to safely share the road. Bicyclists take up less road realestate but they’re also more vulnerable to driver error. What might be nothing more serious than a fender bender between two cars can mean life or death when a bicycle is involved.
Share the road!
Safety Tips For Bicyclists and Motorists
- All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
- Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and are required to obey the same rules of the road as other drivers, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
- When cycling in the street, bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists. Be courteous. Allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road.
- Motorists should look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space.
- Bicyclists should be vigilant of parked cars, and allow a full car door’s worth of space when passing them if possible. If not, slow down, and be ready to stop at short notice.
- Motorists should yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.
- Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.
Special Cycling Events Safety
Bicycling is a hugely popular sport in Colorado, and from time to time, roads will be closed off for official cycling events. Motorists should respect all detour signs, and stay behind barricaded areas.
Spectators also pose a special danger to racing bicycles. During a competition, racers are focused, hunched over, and riding at speeds often exceeding 30 mph on extremely narrow tires. The slightest bump can send a racer flying, often taking down other riders nearby, some suffering serious injury in the process. Spectators should stay well away from the track and give racers ample room to maneuver without having to worry about hitting something. Dogs can also pose a threat, wandering onto the track when their guardians aren’t watching. It’s best to leave the dog at home, but if you must bring him, keep him well away from the track and leashed at all times.