Colorado’s New Stop-As-Yield Legislation

by Megan & Maureen, Hottman Law, The Cyclist Lawyer

 

Bicycle Operation Approaching Intersection

Concerning the regulation of bicycles approaching intersections.

On May 3, 2018, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed into law SB144, or what’s commonly referred to as the Idaho stop, also known as a safety or rolling stop or “stop as yield.” In effect in Idaho since 1982, the law allows cyclists to treat a stop sign like a yield sign and a red light like a stop sign. In 2017, Delaware adopted a limited stop as yield law.

Interestingly, the new Colorado law isn’t actually a state law – it’s recommended language, which each individual city or county may now adopt at its option.

C.R.S § 42-4-1412.5 provides a statewide standard on the regulation of bicycles approaching intersections which local governments can choose to implement:  Idaho stops were already legal in Aspen, Breckenridge and Dillon, as well as Summit County, prior to the passage of this new law.

(1) At intersections with stop signs, a cyclist should slow “to a reasonable speed and yield the right-of-way to any traffic or pedestrian in or approaching the intersection.” The cyclist may then turn or go through the intersection without stopping.

A reasonable speed is considered 15 mph or less. Local governments may reduce or increase the reasonable speed but will be required to post signs at intersections stating the lower or higher speed limitations.

(2) At red traffic lights, cyclists are required to completely stop and yield to traffic and pedestrians. Once the cyclist has yielded, they may “cautiously proceed in the same direction through the intersection or make a right-hand turn. A cyclist may not go through the intersection at a red light if an oncoming vehicle is turning or preparing to turn left in front of the person.”

The law further states that a cyclist may only make a left-hand turn at a red traffic light if turning onto a one-way street. The cyclist must stop and then yield to traffic and pedestrians before turning left. NOTE: It is not legal for a cyclist to make a left-hand turn onto a two-lane road (one lane in each direction) at an intersection with a red traffic light.

 

Original article here

One thought on “Colorado’s New Stop-As-Yield Legislation

  1. As a lifelong rider who made his first 1000 mile trip nearly fifty years ago, I have problems with the concept of these laws. First, I know of no front range town that has taken this option into statute, so it is not law at all, even though many misquote it as such. Chaos ensues unless all vehicles using the same roads abide by the same set of rules. As real experience has taught me, sadly cyclists behave largely as opportunists, one moment acting like a car, then moving onto a sidewalk as a pedestrian, then running stop signs and even full red lights, in heavy traffic. Relaxing the legal requirement to behave like an adult operator of a vehicle, only will provide even more room to abuse the new, laxer privileges. Cyclists will collide when both expect to cruise through a stop sign; motorists with full right of way will be dodging riders blasting through red lights, as I’ve already seen more than once. On the flip side, I’ve nearly fallen over numerous times, waiting for timid motorists to use their right of way at a stop sign, because they clearly anticipated that I would blow through, and not surprise them by actually stopping. Letting each town set standards only adds confusion, particularly to travelers and commuters. The planner fad seems to see bicycles as a magic fix-all for the myriad of interrelated traffic issues, without recognizing the need to elevate cyclists to the adult behavior other motorists must follow, by setting standards for proper lighting, high visibility clothing, mandatory helmet use, etc. Enforcing traffic violations uniformly seems logical and beneficial to all parties, yet advocacy groups generally demonize motorists while venerating all cyclists, and these laws which seek to confer a special status to bicyclists are misguided at best. All the cycling accidents I’m directly aware of either were hit from behind on open highways, or turning vehicles, both from behind/right or oncoming/left as the cyclist was going straight at 15-20 mph. None were in town at supposedly dangerous struck-when-starting-from-stop-at-intersections. Even (or especially?) in Boulder I find the majority of riders clueless, regarding simple etiquette like announcing one’s presence when passing. I find no reason to expect safer, or improved behavior from relaxing traffic regulations selectively for the morally superior bicyclists.

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