8 miles an hour for cyclist in crosswalks proposed

Press Release

As the University of Colorado prepares for another academic year, Boulder transportation officials are considering several changes to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. Specifically, three proposals that build upon existing laws are under review.

Officials first proposed a speed limit for bicyclists entering a crosswalk. Bicyclists would be required to slow down as they approach and travel through an intersection. Testing groups found that speeds of 8 miles per hour would give drivers a chance to see bicyclists and yield in a safe manner. Currently, the city code requires bicyclists to enter intersections "at a speed no greater than an ordinary walk." The new proposal would clarify the expectation for bicyclists and drivers alike. The city's Transportation Advisory Board has already approved this plan.

A second proposal would require bicyclists and pedestrians to push a button that activates flashing lights at specific intersections. Activating the lights is currently optional, and the new ordinance would not change a driver's duty to yield to pedestrians. Last spring, the University and city officials spent nearly $98,000 to install a High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (nicknamed HAWK), at a busy crossing on Regent Drive, just south of Colorado Avenue. The crossing system connects the CU Engineering Center with the Regent Drive Autoplex.

Another proposal would require drivers who see another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk to also stop and check for pedestrians. This is a common occurrence where one car will yield to a bicyclist, but drivers in the next lane would not stop. The bicyclist would continue through the crosswalk and be hit by an unsuspecting driver whose vision was blocked by the stopped car. State law already requires drivers to stop in areas where one vehicle has already yielded in this fashion, but having a municipal ordinance make it easier for officers to cite to violators, as nearly all traffic tickets in Boulder are handled through the municipal court.

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Don't agree with proposed changes

I don't agree with the first proposed change. If it was worded that a cyclist was to slow to 8mph and may cross if the cylicst had a clear & unobstructed view of traffic lanes in both directions no other vehicles are present, otherwise bicycles must slow to walking pace; then I might support it. As worded, it almost encourages cyclists to dart out through traffic. If you are using a cross walk, then you are using a mode of transportation similar to a pedestrian and therefore the expectation is to act more like one.
I also think it should be required to hit the button if traffic is present by the cross walks - there are too many people that just jump out into traffic and assume that the drivers of motor vehicles will stop. The person crossing may have legal right of way, but from a safety and law of physics standpoint; the one crossing needs to verify that others are stopped, stopping, or at a safe enough distance away to safely cross before actually crossing.
I do think the third change is a good one; unfortunately it should be common sense and not need to be legislated, but that obviously isn't the case.

I ride my bike to work everyday and it is my preferred mode of transportation and recreation. I'd also love to see more laws like those in Idaho and other places; however there are serious safety issues with bicycles operating in pedestrian areas and then "converting" to vehicular mode without following yield/stop requirements for either mode.

okay I have 2 issues with

okay I have 2 issues with this, similar to those above.

1) doing this implies that you're okay with cyclists riding through/around peds on a crosswalk; meaning you're also okay with them riding on the sidewalk. All this will do is give the selfrighteous-douchebag species of recreational riders (the ones who blow stops and run red lights and ride six across the lane and make life hell on the rest of us) yet another reason to completely ignore any/all rules that say a bike should be treated as a vehicle.

2) most of the casual riders (around campus, around town) are either transitory (students) or very casual riders who don't bother to learn the first thing about riding in traffic/safely. In neither case will you reach these people with any sorts of rules changes.

Boulder has too many confusing and contradictory rules as it is when it comes to bicycling - MUT vs. bike lane vs. sidewalks... half the MUTS in Boulder closely resemble a sidewalk, and are just as dangerous to ride on owing to heavy cross traffic / driveways, pedestrian traffic and limited visibility.


I agree, completely. Any new ordinances/laws that encourage more sidewalk riding should scrutinized very, very carefully before passing.
The difference between the multi-use paths and regular sidewalks are minimal, at best. I was hit by a car last March, and had to argue the fact that I was riding on a MUP that was signed as bi-directional (and was still cited).

If they want to fix something, lets see more "no right turn on red" intersections, especially at intersections where there are bike lanes and major pedestrian crossings.

Used to be (and in some

Used to be (and in some places still is) that Cyclists using crosswalks had to dismount and walk.

I dont see the benefit to allowing cyclists to ride in them. Its inconsistent and creates confusion of expectations for motorists interacting with bikes.

That inconsistency is the biggest enemy to safety. we want to be predictable.

If you are riding, ride in the street and bike lanes, if you are uncomfortable navigating intersections as a bike, dismount and walk.

there doesnt need to be a third way.

I would expect that 99% of

I would expect that 99% of cyclists out there do not have a cycle computer to tell them just exactly what 8 mph is. For that matter I doubt most of them even know the safety rules for crossing cross walks. In my experience the best thing for crossing major roads like Broadway is a tunnel or a full traffic light. Invariably cars don't look and people just dart out into cross walks. I've seen way less of this where there is a full traffic light.