Our View: The rules of the road


In honor of Bike to Work Week, we are compelled to encourage residents to do just that.

As has been noted in Steamboat Today, biking to work promotes fuel efficiency, reduces emissions, lessens traffic and encourages healthy lifestyles. All of these are worthwhile and commendable goals that we support. We encourage residents to participate in the planned activities this week and to consider biking to work not only this week, but every week that weather and working conditions permit.

We would be remiss to advocate such an increase in bicycling without also addressing the contentiousness that occasionally flares between cyclists and motorists. As seen recently on the editorial pages of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, such exchanges can get heated. Sadly, such attitudes also can lead to people getting hurt.

By and large, we believe, the vast majority of cyclists and motorists are patient and courteous. The vast majority of cyclists and motorists willingly share the road. It tends to be a handful of drivers and cyclists who fuel disputes and put others at risk.

In light of that, we encourage everyone to brush up on Colorado law as it applies to bicycles, which can be found in Colorado Revised Statutes, 42-4-1412. At its core, the law gives bicyclists the same rights to the road as motorists, with some exceptions. A few are worth highlighting:

- Any person riding a bicycle shall ride in the right-hand lane. When being overtaken by another vehicle, a cyclist should ride as close to the right-hand side as practicable. Where a paved shoulder suitable for bicycle riding is present, persons operating bicycles shall ride on the paved shoulder.

- Persons operating bicycles on roadways shall ride single file; except that riding no more than two abreast is permitted when doing so will not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

- When using streets and highways within incorporated cities and towns, bicyclists shall be subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles.

- No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed.

- No person riding a bicycle shall be attached to any motor vehicle upon a roadway.

- Every person riding a bicycle shall signal the intention to turn or stop, with some specific exceptions.

- A person riding a bicycle along a sidewalk or pathway or across a roadway along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrians.

Long-term, we support the development of more bicycle-specific trails and shoulders along roadways popular with cyclists such as Twentymile Road, Routt County Road 129 and Colorado Highway 131. Such trails would help reduce conflicts between motorists and cyclists. Also, state law allows municipalities to restrict bicycle use on roadways that have suitable bicycle-specific pathways near and parallel to the roadways.

Steamboat Springs is a biking community and growing that biking community will benefit our tourism-based economy in the long run. That benefits motorists and cyclists alike.

If you get the chance, bike to work this week, but make sure you know the rules of the road.


roadhard 9 years, 10 months ago

129 is a county road, not a state highway....


Brian Watterson 9 years, 10 months ago

Question - Does Steamboat restrict travel on Highway 40 next to the bike path ?


JazzSlave 9 years, 10 months ago

Nice article. What are the rules & regs governing mountain bikers in state & national forests? As someone who does a good deal of hiking, I find most mountain bikers to be reasonable and courteous. There is an arrogant minority who believe the trails are theirs alone, and damn anyone who gets in their way, who desperately need a clue.


housepoor 9 years, 10 months ago

129 is a state hwy, just maintained by the county for which they are reimbursed by the state.

Bikes should be banned from Lincoln Ave between 3rd & 12th. There is no room betwwen the parked cars and 4 lanes of traffic.


corduroy 9 years, 10 months ago

I'd love to see all bikers between 3rd and 13th use Oak or the bike path, unfortunately many of our bikers are not Steamboat Residents. They don't even know there are alternate routes besides the main drag.


Brian Watterson 9 years, 10 months ago


Not that it's a big deal, but everything I've seen (Routt County Website, mapquest, topo maps, etc.) indicate 129 is a county road. The internet listing of state highways seems to be missing 129. Where did you get your information ?

I agree with you about keeping bikes off that stretch of mainstreet for safety.


dave reynolds 9 years, 10 months ago

I believe it is RCR 129..been here 25 years it always has been county maintained but things could have changed..hey corduroy no that post wasn't directed at you


kingsride 9 years, 10 months ago

House poor- Did you just make this up or what. Get your facts straight.


dundalk 9 years, 10 months ago

The accident at Central Park and Mt. Werner was the result of a bike riders who blew through a red light, thereby causing an accident. Sounds like this thoughtful bike rider might need an attorney.


sickofitall 9 years, 10 months ago

lol, yeah, the pilot is playing "attorney" again. Hey guys, just be careful, do not run your fellow Americans over. Ride smart. That's my view, I am not going to play attorney.


Vince arroyo 9 years, 10 months ago

Alternative safe routes? There are none. The bike path , or any other routes. All areas are places of which most people are in such a hurry to get to their destinations. Yes staying off Lincoln Ave is our local metal status. just in one day i see people running stop sighs(and my I say phone at their ear. are they that important? to many to count ( bikes, Trucks, cars etc.) I heard a comment from a biker that when i ride i expect to get hit. We must all be safe , Please be so .


sickofitall 9 years, 10 months ago

Alot of folks are not the best drivers in the world. Rushing to the red light, speeding, cutting others off or talking on the cell phone. A study in England proved that talking on the phone is more dangerous than drunk driving. I don't know what the big rush is, town is at the most a 4 mile stretch and there is no way to cut time off your commute by speeding. Drive safe and ride safer I say, never know what idiot is behind the wheel.


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