New Colorado Bill is a Bunch of Accidents Waiting to Happen
The popularity of bicycling in Colorado has found its way to the state Legislature. A bill under consideration would make it legal for bicyclists to ride through intersections with stop signs on some roads.
The question many Coloradoans are sure to have is whether drivers and bicyclists are ready for this. Bicyclists already run stops signs and lights even though it's illegal.
Add to that Colorado drivers have been ranked some of the worst in the nation, and you have the potential of a bunch of accidents waiting to happen.
Still, Colorado Bill SB18-144 Bicycle Operation Approaching Intersection has initial approval in the state Senate and is currently being discussed in the state House.
The bill is sponsored by three Colorado legislators including District 54 Representative Yeulin Willitt from Grand Junction.
If passed, SB 144 would allow counties and municipalities to make stopping at stop signs optional and allow for stop and go at stop lights. Bicyclists would still be required to observe all traffic signs and signals on state highways, regardless of local ordinances.
A summary of the bill describes actions required of bicyclists when approaching and riding through intersections they would normally stop at.
Under a local regulation, a bicyclist approaching a stop sign must slow to a reasonable speed and, when safe to do so, may proceed through the intersection without stopping. A bicyclist approaching an illuminated red traffic control signal must stop at the intersection and, when safe to do so, may proceed through the intersection.
The bill recommends a bicycle speed when approaching the intersection be limited to 15 miles per hour. However, counties and municipalities that adopt the law can set their own limits as long as they are consistent. They would also be required to post signs with the speed limit.
The saving grace of this bill is that it allows counties and municipalities to decide for themselves if their citizens are responsible and mature enough to make the bill's intent of making bicycling safer a reality.
As both a driver and a bicyclist, I see the merit in changing the law in some places. I'm hesitant, (but not against), making Grand Junction one of them. Regardless, if I was riding with or teaching kids to ride a bike, I'd follow the tried and true stop at stop signs and stop lights until I got the green light to go.