Bicycle Colorado is working with other legislators to get 2 new bills into progress at the state capitol.
Open Roads Act Keeps Freedom to Travel
State Representative Andy Kerr announced plans to introduce the Open Roads Act as the Colorado General Assembly begins work next week. The goal of the bill is to provide Colorado citizens and visitors the ability to travel to jobs, schools, stores and attractions by bicycle or electric-assist bicycle without restriction from using public streets.
"Banning bicycle travel on every street in a community penalizes people that choose healthy, affordable, pollution-free transportation." says bill sponsor Representative Kerr.
The Open Roads Act clarifies state law so that freedom to travel is ensured. It states that local authorities may prohibit bicycle travel in limited cases but only if a nearby alternative route is designated. The bill spells out that all transportation departments in Colorado follow the same process.
Bill co-sponsor Senator Greg Brophy states, "People travelling in Colorado by bicycle shouldn't be turned back by 'Road Closed' signs at every entrance to a community. Americans should have to the freedom to travel."
Bicycle travel was recently banned on every through-street in a Colorado town without providing any alternative routes. The road closure effectively shuts down bicycle access to a large portion of the state as the nearest paved detour for bicycles is fifty-five miles long. A national bicycle route promoting visits to Colorado's beautiful National Parks is severed by the ban.
A CDOT study showed that nearly 700,000 tourists ride a bike while visiting Colorado each year. Bike bans affect local businesses that rely on bicycle tourists and customers.
Dan Grunig of Bicycle Colorado declared the organization's support for the bill, "Our economy depends on welcoming visitors to Colorado. Closing roads sends the absolute wrong message and also threatens fundraising events for worthy charities."
Colorado Mountain Bike Safety Act Announced
State Senator Greg Brophy announced plans to introduce the Colorado Mountain Bike Safety Act in the 2011 legislative session. The bill helps landowners offer mountain biking activities by defining the inherent risks of the sport. Lawsuits resulting from injuries caused by the inherent risks of mountain bicycling will be barred. By encouraging mountain bike riding and events, Colorado will benefit from tourism and access to healthy recreation.
Senator Brophy states, "I hear from landowners around the state who want to open trails but are concerned about liability and insurance. This bill protects them while providing more opportunities for people to get outdoors and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer." He took up sponsorship of the bill as Senator Chris Romer moved on as a candidate Denver Mayor.
|From Picture Rock Trail|
Bill co-sponsor Representative Andy Kerr stresses, "Mountain biking is a gateway sport that connects children and adults with nature. Having trail options open to people benefits us all."
Mountain biking is a major part of Colorado's $10-billion outdoor recreation economy, creating jobs and tax revenues for the state. Colorado consistently ranks as a top state for mountain bike destination tourism. This act will help Colorado lead the way to enhance this important segment of its outdoor economy.
Dan Grunig of Bicycle Colorado expressed the organization's support, "This act will increase Colorado's reputation as one of the top places in the world to ride while stimulating tourism dollars at a crucial time for our state's economy."
Mountain bike areas like skill parks, downhill trails, jump courses, and pump tracks are in high demand. By making it easier to offer events and mountain bike areas, the bill will help attract riders wanting to advance their skills and reduce pressure on popular multi-use trails.
The Colorado Mountain Bike Safety Act puts Colorado at the forefront of encouraging healthy exercise and sustainable outdoor recreation.
Supporters of the bill include Bicycle Colorado, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Colorado Mountain Bicycling Association, and Colorado Ski Country USA.