Bicyclists who roll through stop signs will no longer be breaking the law after a bill passed by the Colorado legislature is signed by Gov. Jared Polis.
The Colorado Safety Stop bill will allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and stoplights as stop signs, which already is common practice for many bicyclists. Motorists sometimes complain about the practice, but advocates for the bill say it allows bicyclists to spend less time in intersections where most accidents involving bicycles and automobiles occur.
“I don’t think this is going to make our streets look drastically different in terms of the way bicyclists are using them,” said Jack Todd, director of communications and policy for Bicycle Colorado, which lobbied for the bill. “Bicyclists are already to doing this, as a matter of common sense. This just makes that legal.”
A spokesperson in the governor’s office said he “looks forward” to signing the bill.
“Bike safety is a critical part of the Polis administration’s work in partnership with the legislature to make Colorado communities safer and more welcoming to bikes,” his office said in a statement, “and to ensure every Coloradan can get where they want to go as quickly and inexpensively as possible.”
Bicycle Colorado has been pushing for this sort of legislation for several years, and it conducted research backing up its argument that it would make cycling safer. An analysis of data provided by CDOT showed that in 2017-19 , 72.2% of crashes between bicyclists and motorists took place at intersections, Todd said.
“We’ve been proponents of this statewide legislation for years and we’re excited to finally get it across the finish line,” Todd said. “All the data out there points to this being safer and reducing crashes between bicyclists and motorists. As an advocacy organization, we are always thinking about how bicycling can be safer in Colorado, and this is a proven tool.”
Cyclists who roll through stop signs, rather than coming to a full stop, do so to maintain their momentum. It’s not just a matter of convenience, according to Todd.
“Allowing bicyclists to use that momentum to get out of the intersection faster prevents these crashes from happening in the first place,” Todd said. “It allows bicyclists to get out of the place that’s most dangerous for them.”
Cyclists will still be required to stop at stoplights, but they will then be allowed to proceed through the light when it is safe to do so.
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