Do Cyclists Have the Right of Way in Colorado? | Fuicelli & Lee
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Do Cyclists Have the Right of Way in Colorado?

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May 4, 2022 Bicycle Accidents

Understanding whether or not a bicyclist has the right of way involves examining Colorado law related to cycling. In general, bicyclists have extensive rights on Colorado roadways, and this can have significant implications in the event a collision involving a cyclist and a vehicle occurs. Here, we want to examine what the law says about bicyclists’ right of way in Colorado.

The Rules of the Road for Bikes in Colorado

When we look directly at Colorado law regarding bicycles, we see language that specifically says, “Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle…”

Put simply, bicycles have the right to be on the roadway, and other motorists have to respect that. As part of this right, bicyclists are also responsible for obeying all traffic laws, signals, and right of way laws. Bicyclists are responsible for riding with the flow of traffic unless they are inside of any designated counterflow lane specifically for bicycles. Bicyclists are also required to yield to pedestrians, just like drivers of any other vehicle. 

If a bicyclist wishes to make a turn, they are responsible for using hand signals 100 feet before the turn or merge. Bicyclists are allowed to ride side by side so long as doing so does not impede the normal flow of traffic.

During the evening and night time, bicyclists should use, at minimum, a white front light as well as a reflector and a side effectors. Bicyclists need to remain visible at all times on the roadway.

Individuals often wonder whether bicycles have the right of way over other types of vehicles, and that is not the case. Bicyclists are treated just like any other motorist, and they certainly do not have the right of way over pedestrians. Pedestrians typically have the right of way over other vehicles, including bicycles, in most situations. 

That said, if there is a designated bike lane, then bicyclists do typically have the right of way inside of the lane. Vehicles cannot cut off a bicyclist in these lanes, and vehicles should not be traveling in these lanes at all. Pedestrians should not walk inside of designated bike lanes, as they do not have the right of way there. However, if there is a pedestrian crosswalk that goes through a bike lane, then bicyclists are responsible for stopping and yielding to crossing pedestrian traffic.

What Happens After an Accident?

In the aftermath of an accident involving a bicycle in Colorado, there are various steps that individuals involved can take. If the incident involves another vehicle or causes any injuries to those involved, the police need to come to the scene to conduct an investigation and contacting a Denver bike accident attorney is advised. If another driver caused the bicycle accident, then the other driver’s insurance carrier should be responsible for paying compensation to those involved. If the bicyclist was responsible for causing the incident, they may be responsible for paying compensation to other parties involved if there were injuries or property damage.