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CopperRider 04-23-10 03:12 PM

Bicycle Rights on I-70 Freeway Shoulder in Colorado

I commute 16 miles to work each day, covering the Officers Gulch area along I-70 from Copper Mountain to Frisco. The area is under the jurisdiction of CDOT snowplow Patrol 44 and Patrol 43. All winter, from October to April, the Recreation Path is closed due to snow cover and avalanche danger. Therefore, I ride the shoulder of the freeway. Generally, I leave work at 3:00 AM and ride down to work at 3:00 PM if on night shift and reverse that commute if assigned day shift.

Last week, CDOT snowplow driver 44-5, a recent hire, blocked the shoulder and attempted to pull me off the freeway and detain me to tell me that, "I shouldn't be on the freeway." After I passed him, he passed me, blasting his horn and swearing at me. I discussed the incident with the junior foreman for the area and explained that I do not have an alternative path to work.

I have seen several general references to the rights of bicyclists to the use of freeways where there is no alternative. Please provide me with specific citations or appropriate contacts to settle this issue. Thank you.

Shimagnolo 04-23-10 03:24 PM

Grab both PDF files.
One is the map;
The other is the legend for it.
In general, you can use I-70 when traveling between two points where there is no parallel alternative road between those points.

UGASkiDawg 04-23-10 10:14 PM

I don't know about the legalities nor do I care but I think you are nuts to ride I-70 between Frisco and Copper in the winter....rights don't matter when you end up dead.

frankw 04-24-10 11:14 AM

I don't mean to hyjack your thread but.....

you are insane

when it's clear it isn't that bad but when it's snowy then.....

I have some questions for you, if you don't mind. I've been considering riding i-70 to reach freemont pass, but I always chicken out.

besides the snow plow have you had many problems with other motorists?

I heard the county will not plow the bike path because of avalanche danger, which I think is bs. Is the path ridable yet?

do you know if they have plowed from copper to vail pass yet?

best of luck with I-70, I have seen signs posted on different parts that say no bikes, but there isn't one anywhere around the ten mile canyon area.

markf 04-24-10 07:44 PM

Contact the Colorado State Patrol or the Summit County Sheriff's Department, and ask them to contact the snowplow driver or his supervisor.

Frankw, avalanche danger on the Ten Mile Canyon rec path is NOT bs, all you have to do is look at the south wall of the canyon as you drive or cycle that stretch of I-70. Plenty of slide activity, and a slide could hit the rec path very easily. The Interstate is not nearly as likely to get hit by a slide as is the rec path.

Right now I would feel a lot safer on the shoulder of I-70 through Ten Mile Canyon than I would on Fremont Pass. The shoulder (and even some of the travel lane0 of CO 91 still has a fair bit of snow, in places where there is a shoulder.

DnvrFox 04-24-10 08:04 PM


Do you know if they have plowed from copper to vail pass yet?
My comment is that the trail tunnel under I-70 just before the rest area at Vail Pass is generally filled with ice, no matter the plowing, until later in the season. I saw one guy take a tremendous fall in that tunnel when he did not realize the ice there, and hit it full speed.

Dalai 09-10-13 04:09 PM

I realize this is an ancient post, but am hoping if someone does know what the fine would be?

I rode the Copper triangle from Leadville today. On getting to the start of the Vail pass to Copper Mountain Resort section was closed. No way I was going to reverse my ride and go back the 85km, so took the gamble and rode as hard as I could on the shoulder.

Fortunately much of it was downhill, so got through quickly and without incident. If I had been pulled up, curious what the fine would have been...

gsjcky 09-12-13 01:02 PM

the mentality of the riders in Colorado is unbelievable. entitled riders think they can ride anywhere they like, no matter how dangerous it is for themselves, or others! lets look at this...... on I-70, in a snow storm, in the dark. do you really think that is the place to be riding a bike? maybe you should ask the question..... can I, or should I? a little thought would go a long way here.

Bontrager 12-14-13 11:23 AM

Entitlement, your concern for your own safety, and the legality of what you're doing are 3 different things - all of which you are confusing, @gsjcky

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