Just in time for the start of the Rocky Mountain gran fondo season, the Governor of the U.S. State of Colorado, Jarid Polis, signed a new “safety stop” law allowing cyclists to legally roll through stop signs and red traffic lights.
When coming upon a stop sign, cyclists will now only be required to slow down and yield the right-of-way to vehicular traffic or pedestrians, but they will no longer have to come to a complete stop. At red traffic lights, cyclists will be required to stop and yield right-of-way, just like at a stop sign, but they may then proceed before the light turns green.
Here is the actual wording of the new law:
“When approaching a stop sign, if it is safe to proceed, the person may, after slowing to a reasonable speed of 15 mph or less, or 10 or 20 miles per hour or less if so specified by the municipality or county for a particular intersection and marked with appropriate signage, and yielding the right-of-way to any traffic or pedestrian in or approaching the intersection, continue through the intersection without stopping,” and “When approaching an illuminated red traffic control signal, the person must first stop at the intersection and yield to all other traffic and pedestrians and then, when safe to do so, may proceed straight or make a right turn through the intersection or, subject to specified conditions, make a left turn onto a one-way street only.”
Elected state official Matt Gray from the Denver area said, “Adopting the safety stop will decriminalize common-sense behavior for bicyclists and create cohesion between the many communities who currently have different rules and regulations regarding safety stops which causes confusion and dangerous situations for bicyclists.”
Upcoming amateur cycling events along the highly populated and developed Front Range of the Rocky Mountains that will benefit from the new law include the 35th edition of Elephant Rock in Castle Rock on 5 June, Park 2 Park Challenge on 30 July and the Denver Century Ride on 24 September.
Colorado now joins eight other states in America with similar “safety stop” policies for cyclists: Idaho, Delaware, Arkansas, Oregon, Washington state, North Dakota, Utah and Oklahoma.