A photo of this caution sign recently showed up on Facebook with the question, “If you want to caution safety, put it on everyone. Not one particular group of hobbyists. Why no RV sign? Why no motorcycle decibel warning sign? Why not add a ‘people who erratically pull off the road to take pictures’ sign? … and how far is ‘far right?’ Legally I have the option to take the lane if it’s a matter of my safety.”
And the people responded – in troves:
“Yeah it seems to be missing its corollary signage, ‘motorists keep far away from cyclists (or at least 3 feet)’ …”
“Transportation departments and city managers: learn the laws before you paint the public opinion with misinformation. I will never go far right. Never.”
“Failure at its finest.”
“Morrison should be invested because I bike here often, live near and spend money in this town. If I don’t feel welcome, I’ll take the last part out of that equation.”
“Could this sign be in violation of Colorado state transportation laws? Specifically referring to the 3′ law? Could there be a legal case for having this sign removed/changed?”
What about Governor Hickenlooper’s big $100 pledge to cycling?”
And then, one passionate cyclist took on the task of putting proverbial pen to paper and contacted the powers that be, in this letter shared with 303cycling for publication:
Dear CDOT/Governor Hickenlooper:
On Feb 14th, heading west bound out of the city of Morrison (towards Red Rocks up hwy 74) I noticed a new sign (see attached photo). The sign has a bicycle icon on the top diamond, with a square below that reads:
This sort of signage is dated when it comes to modern transportation practices as it negatively colors motorist’s opinions before the lanes even narrow from several to two. It highlights the potential conflict making it more likely to become a reality. It puts cyclists at an immediate disadvantage. Cyclists are the easy, lazy target in this case and this is at odds with all that CDOT and Govn. Hickenlooper are claiming to do to change Denver and our state from a car-centric focus.
This is also part of the “Lariat Loop” / Scenic byway. This sign might lead nearby tourists (visiting Red Rocks) that it’s for motorists only. It was only fairly recently that pro-bike road paint has been added within Red Rocks park. This has made a world of difference when it comes to easing tensions between cyclists and motorists. Adding these signs near and around this park is a step back.
I live and work in Golden. I frequently ride this area on the weekends and during my lunch break. I spend money in the town of Morrison while biking. This sign is telling me I am not welcome here unless I am driving a car. And when I feel unwelcome in a city, I’m not prone to spend money there.
If you want to make a more accurate sign for this stretch of pavement, I have a better idea. It would be a picture of a car running over a bike and under it would be the message:
TRY NOT 2
Or perhaps a simple picture of a motorist texting and careening into a cyclist.
I’ve addressed the negative connotation of this sign. Now let’s move on to the legal issues. The sign states “far right”. Legally I have the option to take the lane if it’s a matter of my safety. It seems this sign is in violation of Colorado State Transportation Laws; specifically C.R.S.A. 42-4-1412 / A cyclist is not expected to ride over hazards without a “reasonable safety margin” on the side of the road, and C.R.S.A. 42-4-1003 / A motorist overtaking a cyclist shall allow at least 3 feet between the right side of the vehicle and the left side of the cyclist. The shoulder for the next 11 miles is not a safe place for cyclists to ride. Nor is the 4 inches of pavement to the right of the white line.
It is my suggestion that CDOT and perhaps the city of Morrison transportation department and city manager remove this sign or replace it with a “Share the Road” sign or a “Give 3 Feet to Pass” sign. This sign (and others like it in the area) merely paints the public opinion with misinformation.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you.
Every Cyclist Ever
Colorado Cyclists, what are your thoughts on the matter?