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Bicyclist rights and responsibilities in Colorado

Knowing the rules of the road is important as a bicyclist in Colorado. Yet it is perhaps even more important for drivers to understand what they can and cannot do around bikers. In a collision between a vehicle and a bicycle, the vehicle almost always comes out in better shape.

Colorado’s bicycle laws serve to protect the rights of bikers on the state’s roadways. Everyone should take the time to read up on bicyclist rights and responsibilities, to better protect these vulnerable road users.

Rights to the road

Bicycles are vehicles in the eyes of Colorado law. This means bicyclists have all the same rights as other types of vehicle drivers. It is perfectly legal for a bicyclist to ride in the roadway, as long as he or she obeys the rules of the road. A bicyclist must ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic and remain as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible unless the biker is turning left or maneuvering to avoid debris on the side of the road.

Bikers in Colorado have the right to expect other drivers to respect their space. Drivers should not cross within three feet of a bicyclist on any side. If passing a biker, a driver should leave enough room to reasonably ensure the safety of the cyclist. Drivers should also take steps to avoid causing collisions, such as watching for bikers before opening their doors and yielding the right-of-way, when applicable.

Duties to uphold a standard of care

Along with all the rights of the average driver come the same responsibilities. Bicyclists in Colorado have a duty to obey all relevant roadway rules, including rights-of-way and road signs. Bikers must come to complete stops at red lights and stop signs. They must respect the rights of pedestrians and drivers to the roads. If a bicycle lane is available, the bicyclist must choose to ride in the lane instead of the road. After a vehicle-bicycle collision, either party may be liable for damages depending on fault for the crash.