Boulder Sheriffs are cracking down on stop sign runners

Boulder Sheriff's department has been handing out $100 tickets in Hygiene for any cyclists not stopping at the stop sign. It also appears that the cops are taking the letter of the law approach and expecting cyclists to completely stop and put down 1 foot. Here is an eye witness statement

Hey Kris,
I got a ticket yesterday for not stopping at the stop sign at Hygiene and 75th. Couple questions for ya? Got the impression this same cop has been stopping cyclists for the past week and ticketing. He claimed to be out there to educate, but the only education he offered was a $100+ fine. His attitude was obviously hostile to cyclist as obvious by his comment that he was headed to Antelope trail in Heil to "hand out tickets" next. Not to educate, but hand out tickets!

We asked the TheCyclist-Lawyer.com Megan Hottman about the law and what it means to stop as a cyclists

Cyclists are vehicles and vehicles must stop at stop signs. I've talked to cops from numerous colorado offices and all have differing definitions of 'stopping' in a bike: From rolling 4mph to stopping the bike, to stopping with a foot down. The bottom line is that they need to see a cyclist slow down look both ways and be ready to stop completely if there is another vehicle coming. The position of the league of american cyclists is that cyclists must all stop at stop signs and unclip/touch a foot to the ground.


Officers frequently patrol a particular intersection for motor vehicle law violations and of course it follows they can do the same for repeated cycling violations. Here it sounds like the officer knew that cyclists frequently run this stop sign and he opted to cite those law violations.


This cyclist admitted she ran the sign and the officer saw it and cited her accordingly. Many law enforcement officers feel this is the only thing that gets cyclists' attention

How did it come to this?

Why are the cops cracking down on cyclists? Is this the cause of a few bad apples that completely disregard this stop sign or is this the cause the majority not pausing enough at the stop?

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38 Comments

I'm pretty surprised by these

I'm pretty surprised by these comments as I'm on the road several times a week and primarily I see riders slow and go. I've spoken with several friends about this and the concensus is "I consider myself a safe, law abiding cyclist, but I rarely come to a complete stop if there is not traffic" While I understand the law says stop, I believe the intent of the law is safety and riders can be completely safe in the approach derkahn admits to using and this is the primary approach I see, cautious approach to the intersection and proceeding when no traffic. I guess it's time to get involved in lobbying for appropriate laws as pointed out cars and bikes are obviously different so to treat them as the same vehicle does not make sense. From a fellow scofflaw cyclist.

rich

Just take everyone's garmin and this will give enough information for tons of tickets. biking over the speed limit, not stopping, etc.....then confiscate the bike!!!! then make it like a DUI, 100-days jail, and make us have cameras on at all times....

so, here is the thing.......$113. whatever. i make that in 5-minutes. Why not bust everyone who is driving HIGH? that would be more like $10,000. i'm sure there are waaay more pot smoke drivers than bikers who roll a stop sign. and they are putting everyone at a much greater risk!!!!

let's organize, protest, and educate!!!!! oh wait, gotta get this KOM today!!!

Stopping vs 3 Ft Rule

For the sake of readers unfamiliar with it, the intersection in question iss a three-way “T” where southbound traffic never enters traffic, never crosses a lane, never even leaves the bike lane. It has good visibility and there is a big parking lot to the right. If you are headed north or west, then you do cross out of the bike lane and pass through traffic lanes.

At that stop in Hygiene, where the southbound traffic never even leaves the bike lane, I agree strongly with this sentence from the wikipedia citation, "Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way." When I am traveling south at that intersection, my approach is to slow close to a complete stop, then roll through. My “violation” of the law threatens nobody. If there were no laws in place, I believe most cyclists would adopt that approach because it is sensible and safe and causes no harm to anyone else.

So if a cop stopped me there for rolling through while headed southbound, I would definitely feel harassed and resentful rather than “educated.”

Let’s compare that infraction to the one by drivers that ignore the three foot rule. There is a big difference between “breaking” a law that harms no one versus breaking a law where the potential outcome involves potentially killing someone else.

So if we are going to have strict enforcement then I want it applied to drivers as well! I was nearly struck from behind on Nelson a couple weeks ago; “air brushed” by a truck’s mirror where that little bridge takes away 85% of the bike lane. I have had cars pass me with their passenger side wheels inside the bike lane. Even when there is no traffic coming from the other direction, many motorists refuse to alter their course at all to provide the lawfully required three foot buffer and some even believe it is illegal for them to cross the yellow lines under any circumstances -- those fools seem like they'd run us down before considering it. Is there anyone out there putting in more than 100 miles a week that hasn't found themselves cursing at a motorist that passed uncomfortably close?

So where is that enforcement? How many “3 ft violation” citations have the police written in Boulder County? I'd love to see the DOT put up some educational signs for drivers and then have the police hand out a few tickets to motorists.

Yes, of course there are idiot cyclists out there. But they are really terrible drivers out there too, and they exist in great number. If they are going to "educate" cyclists, they should "educate" the motorists as well.

I do need to give a hand to

I do need to give a hand to the Laramie Sheriff this spring patrolling the popular roads going out to Carter Lake from Boulder. I saw that same guy pull over two different drivers that had displayed menacing behavior to me and other cyclists. He was out there patrolling for about a month from what I could gather. There is enforcement of the three foot rule, but just like the coming to a complete stop at signs it is difficult to enforce every time.

Yes, I was on a Wednesday

Yes, I was on a Wednesday Worlds ride earlier this season and we did get pulled over by State Patrol. However, on many of these rides I have been on with the wind, riders consistently echelon past the yellow line obstructing an entire lane and part of the oncoming lane. The officer was very polite and told us he was following up on a call from a motorist. He said he would be more than happy to be out there writing tickets to motorists who harass is, but we need to be following the law. He also emphasized that risking getting yourself killed was probably not worth it. A couple of times he stated, "you have to help me out guys". No tickets were written. We were in the lead group which was given a 3 minute head start. When he was done talking to us he said, "Now I have to stop the other group". One of the cyclists jokingly said, "Do you mind stopping them for about 3 minutes?" He just laughed and said, "no problem". Not all cops are bad, but why give any of them a reason to side with motorists when it is our safety that is a priority?

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