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Old 07-18-09, 07:56 AM   #1
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Colorado trying to ban bicycles

Here is an interesting article sent to me by a bicycle friend.

Please pass it on.

http://bicyclecolo.org/page.cfm?PageID=1042
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Old 07-18-09, 12:14 PM   #2
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My initial reaction is that no governmental agency has the legal authority to do this, because it violates an absolutely fundamental freedom of mobility. We have a long tradition in this still quasi-free country that the only roads on which bicycles can be banned are limited-access freeways, toll roads, and turnpikes.
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Old 07-18-09, 12:32 PM   #3
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As a visitor I really have no standing to do more than ask a question. The question comes from the last few seconds of the video piece. The reporter said that Denver already has the authority and the other entities just want the same as Denver. If that is accurate why not let the other governments have the same authority?
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Old 07-18-09, 01:33 PM   #4
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I thought CO was supposed to be a big time, "bicycle friendly state". No?
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Old 07-18-09, 02:11 PM   #5
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Except for some vague talk about "safety" and "clashes" there is no clear statement of what Jefferson County wants to do exactly, and what is their justification, exactly.

However, there are many precedents for not allowing all MOTOR vehicles on all the roads, not to mention pedalcycles. Small motorcycles below a certain cc engine displacement are commonly not allowed on limited access highways, and in some cities commercial vehicles are not permitted on certain roads (example, Lake Shore Drive and the "boulevards" in Chicago).

There's not even a statement from Bicycle Colorado about what the cycling community would consider a minimum level of access, if it's not "everything." But if it's "everything," should that include interstates and interstate-grade roads? What if we were granted that access, then forced to use that by subsequent legislation? Plus, how many of us would consider sharing a road with three lanes of 70+ mph traffic safe or practicable? Who even has experience feeling the air blast as a truck passes them at 60 mph, while up on two wheels? I think cyclists should be able to agree, we don't need access to every public road.

Aren't there some more in-depth text stories about this? I clicked the links, but just got sent back to the video news story.
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Old 07-18-09, 02:43 PM   #6
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It sounds like what they are tryng to do is this: The law in every state allow bicycles to ride on the public roads. Those state laws preempt local laws that would limit bike access; thus, a city or county cannot pass a law that would keep bikes off specific public roads within their jurisdiction (the exception would be private roads owned by a homeowners association, or something like that). This county is trying to get the state legislature to pass a law that would allow a county to restrict bike access to roads in their jurisdiction. Without knowing anything about the politics involved, it sounds like a rather radical proposition.
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Old 07-18-09, 03:08 PM   #7
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Ok.
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Old 07-18-09, 03:46 PM   #8
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Plus, how many of us would consider sharing a road with three lanes of 70+ mph traffic safe or practicable? Who even has experience feeling the air blast as a truck passes them at 60 mph, while up on two wheels?
Did it for the first time last weekend, during the Triple Bypass; several miles of the course is along the I-70 shoulder, where the speed limit is at least 65. As long as you stay to the right on the shoulder, it's not as bad as one might think.

A 6-lane highway wouldn't be my first choice for riding a bike from point A to B, but given a decent shoulder, it can be done safely.
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Old 07-18-09, 03:57 PM   #9
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Except for some vague talk about "safety" and "clashes" there is no clear statement of what Jefferson County wants to do exactly, and what is their justification, exactly....
Aren't there some more in-depth text stories about this? I clicked the links, but just got sent back to the video news story.
There have been a number of posts about this past couple of days.

In one of them, a local newspaper story noted that there are a few very scenic roads in Jefferson County that get lots of bicycle traffic and according to the County Commissioners sponsoring the bicycle ban they are getting "stacks and stacks" of emails and letters from motorists complaining about bicyclists clogging up the roads.

Apparently there is a group ride coming up on one of these routes and they were asked to avoid one of these roads; the organizers wanted to press ahead with the route they wanted given that there was no law preventing it so one of the commissioners says, "fine, we'll pass a law."

At least that's what I got out of a 30-second scan of the website - I'm sure one of our Colorado members will chime in with a more accurate version.
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Old 07-18-09, 06:58 PM   #10
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It is one thing to control large group rides, perhaps by requiring them to break up into manageable sub-peletons, but something quite different and completely incompatible with a free society to ban solo bicyclists from public roads. If I lived off of one of the affected roads, the county would evidently want the power to make it illegal for me to ride a bicycle to and from my own home. Amazing!

As for the Interstate highway question, California law generally permits bicyclists to use the shoulders of these roads when there is no reasonable alternate route. I have ridden the shoulder of I-5 between Roselle St. and Genesee Av. many times, and the 8-foot-wide shoulder is smoother and safer than many Class II bike lanes.
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Old 07-18-09, 07:17 PM   #11
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As for the Interstate highway question, California law generally permits bicyclists to use the shoulders of these roads when there is no reasonable alternate route.
Generally true throughout the Western U.S.

There's a pass near Seattle (I90 over Snoqualmie Pass) where the only practical way over is the Interstate.

I've ridden the Interstate in Northern California, too. Wasn't fun, wasn't terrible.

Biggest risk is all the wire bits that come out of tires...leads to lots of flats.
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Old 07-18-09, 07:28 PM   #12
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It is why any laws that gives special treatment to bicycles (such as the 3-foot pass law that died in committee in California) are generally not wanted by bicycling advocacy groups in California. It is important that bicycles have the same laws as cars so local cities/counties cannot have special laws for bicycles. There already have been examples of cities attempting to limit what roads bicycles can use only to rescind it when their city attorney interprets the law properly. (sometimes they need coaching).
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Old 07-18-09, 08:34 PM   #13
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The title of this thread is somewhat misleading.

As I understand it, a special interest group in Colorado, in this case, a county government, is asking the legislature to pass a law that would allow a county to ban bikes from designated roads.

That special interest group needs to get one state representative or a state senator to draft and sponsor that legislation.

That legislator then needs to begin convincing the members of his/her body to support the legislation.

Then, they need to request a committee hearing in their respective house. The committee chair may or may not grant the request.

If a committee hearing is held it will be open to the public.

After the hearing, the sponsor then needs to convince the chair of the appropriate committee to have the committee take action on the proposal allowing amendments and a vote passing it out of committee.

If it passes out of committee, the sponsor then needs to convince the leader of that house, to allow debate on the floor of that particular house. The proposal is subject to amendment and must pass that house.

Now, the other house has the same process. Both houses must pass, or agree on the same exact bill language before sending the bill on to the governor.

The governor can sign it into law, or veto it.

I would be very surprised if this proposal became law in any state.
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Old 07-18-09, 10:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RepWI View Post
The title of this thread is somewhat misleading.

As I understand it, a special interest group in Colorado, in this case, a county government, is asking the legislature to pass a law that would allow a county to ban bikes from designated roads.

That special interest group needs to get one state representative or a state senator to draft and sponsor that legislation.

That legislator then needs to begin convincing the members of his/her body to support the legislation.

Then, they need to request a committee hearing in their respective house. The committee chair may or may not grant the request.

If a committee hearing is held it will be open to the public.

After the hearing, the sponsor then needs to convince the chair of the appropriate committee to have the committee take action on the proposal allowing amendments and a vote passing it out of committee.

If it passes out of committee, the sponsor then needs to convince the leader of that house, to allow debate on the floor of that particular house. The proposal is subject to amendment and must pass that house.

Now, the other house has the same process. Both houses must pass, or agree on the same exact bill language before sending the bill on to the governor.

The governor can sign it into law, or veto it.

I would be very surprised if this proposal became law in any state.
This makes sense, thanks!
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Old 07-18-09, 11:06 PM   #15
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It is why any laws that gives special treatment to bicycles (such as the 3-foot pass law that died in committee in California) are generally not wanted by bicycling advocacy groups in California.
Could you provide links to discussions by California bicycle advocacy groups stating this position? I would be very interested in knowing their reasoning.
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Old 07-19-09, 05:45 AM   #16
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A brief update from my perspective in Colorado.

Deer Creek Canyon Road (the road being discussed in Jefferson County) is a narrow, winding, extremely busy two-lane "country road", with few shoulders.

On a weekend, in particular, there will be scores of bicycle-toting vehicles parked at the base of the road at Wadsworth Blvd. It is considered a great training ride.

I rode it once, many years ago. Even then, with reduced traffic years ago, I did not feel safe as a bicyclist. I was "bombed" by two motorcycles going about 60 niles per hour on a pretty tight turn. I would not ride it again.

A number of residents are complaining that the scores (perhaps 100's) of bicyclists using the road as a training ride are interfering with their normal course of driving. There are very few roads into the mountains - it is not like farm roads in the midwest - roads can generally only go in the canyons.

They also complain of urination on lawns, etc.

In Colorado, cities have the options of controlling traffic, including banning bicycles. Counties do not. That is where the emphasis is - getting counties the laws that cities have.

There was a great uproar from bicyclists a few years back when they placed raised divider buttons down the middle of the road as a safety measure. However, it seems to have worked out or settled down or whatever.

What is REALLY needed is for the county to rebuild the road with shoulders.

There is a big discussion about this on the Mountain-plains sub forum.

Incidentally, it IS legal to ride on freeways (interstates) when there is no other available route, which happens quite often in the wide-open west. For example, from Pueblo to Walsenburg on I-25, and on some parts of I-70 through the mountains. Interstates generally have very wide shoulders, and it is generally safe, if noisy.

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Old 07-19-09, 06:07 AM   #17
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Interesting that there are valid points of view from both sides of the argument.
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Old 07-19-09, 06:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Litespeed View Post
Here is an interesting article sent to me by a bicycle friend.

Please pass it on.

http://bicyclecolo.org/page.cfm?PageID=1042
Check out this study and pass it along for use to argue against the proposal.

http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cgi/...stract/9/3/205
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Old 07-19-09, 06:24 AM   #19
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Interesting that there are valid points of view from both sides of the argument.
And that is exactly the purpose of the long, drawn out legislative process I described above. The process is designed to bring out the issue, develop compromise if possible and resolve the issue, at least in part.
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Old 07-19-09, 09:15 AM   #20
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A brief update from my perspective in Colorado.

Deer Creek Canyon Road (the road being discussed in Jefferson County) is a narrow, winding, extremely busy two-lane "country road", with few shoulders.

On a weekend, in particular, there will be scores of bicycle-toting vehicles parked at the base of the road at Wadsworth Blvd. It is considered a great training ride.

I rode it once, many years ago. Even then, with reduced traffic years ago, I did not feel safe as a bicyclist. I was "bombed" by two motorcycles going about 60 niles per hour on a pretty tight turn. I would not ride it again.

A number of residents are complaining that the scores (perhaps 100's) of bicyclists using the road as a training ride are interfering with their normal course of driving. There are very few roads into the mountains - it is not like farm roads in the midwest - roads can generally only go in the canyons.

They also complain of urination on lawns, etc.

In Colorado, cities have the options of controlling traffic, including banning bicycles. Counties do not. That is where the emphasis is - getting counties the laws that cities have.

There was a great uproar from bicyclists a few years back when they placed raised divider buttons down the middle of the road as a safety measure. However, it seems to have worked out or settled down or whatever.

What is REALLY needed is for the county to rebuild the road with shoulders.

There is a big discussion about this on the Mountain-plains sub forum.

Incidentally, it IS legal to ride on freeways (interstates) when there is no other available route, which happens quite often in the wide-open west. For example, from Pueblo to Walsenburg on I-25, and on some parts of I-70 through the mountains. Interstates generally have very wide shoulders, and it is generally safe, if noisy.
Thanks for putting the various elements of the situation in perpective. But the question remains: "Why not give the counties the same regulatory powers?"

Last edited by HawkOwl; 07-19-09 at 09:50 AM. Reason: Accuracy
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Old 07-19-09, 09:41 AM   #21
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Someone need tell cyclists in Boulder. The city just might succeed from the state.
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Old 07-19-09, 03:00 PM   #22
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...The city just might succeed from the state.
Secede. (Pardon my pedantry.)
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Old 07-19-09, 03:01 PM   #23
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Thanks for putting the various elements of the situation in perpective. But the question remains: "Why not give the counties the same regulatory powers?"
A city tends to be much more compact than an unincorporated portion of a county, with a much better interconnected street grid. It sounds as though some of the roads under consideration for closure to bicyclists lack alternate routes. I think that alone is a strong enough distinction.
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Old 07-19-09, 03:04 PM   #24
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Proofreaders welcome. Coppola.
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Old 07-19-09, 03:16 PM   #25
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It sounds as though some of the roads under consideration for closure to bicyclists lack alternate routes. I think that alone is a strong enough distinction.
I'd expect all of them to lack adequate alternate routes since essentially all rural roads would have some locations (residences, parks, businesses, etc.) that would be potential destinations for cyclists. The same concern would apply to most city streets as well, but certain urban expressways would be exceptions.

Does anyone know what the authority is of Colorado cities to restrict cycling on public roadways? In California, 'local authorities' whether city or county, do not have the right to do that. But they can restrict cycling on sidewalks.
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