Feb 242005
Authors: Jake Blumberg

The laws governing how bicyclists ride throughout the state are in the process of being altered in the Colorado General Assembly.

The Colorado House of Representatives plans to vote on House Bill 1218 today. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Greg Brophy, R-District 63 in Eastern Colorado, and Rep. Michel Merrifield, D-El Paso County, would change three laws that exist concerning bicycle riding in the state.

Dan Grunig, executive director of Bicycle Colorado, a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycle safety and safe places to ride, believes the law could make it safer for bicyclists to ride in Colorado.

"Presently, the current law states that any bicyclist in a crosswalk is at fault in any accident with a motor vehicle," Grunig said. "Right now, if a kid is riding his bike to school, and he is run over in a crosswalk by a car, the kid is actually the one who is at fault, not the motorist; 1218, if approved, will change that, because bikes will be allowed in all crosswalks."

Along with altering the laws concerning bicycles in crosswalks, 1218 also will change the laws that require bicyclists to signal a right-hand turn with their left arm bent upward at a 90-degree angle. The proposed bill would allow a rider to signal a right turn by simply pointing to the right.

The third change that might be established would allow bicyclists to ride two abreast wherever there is enough room. Current law states that bicyclists must ride single file whenever a car is present, even if there is enough room to ride two.

Avid bicyclist Luke Oehlerking, a freshmen mechanical engineering major, was pleased to hear about a possible change in the laws.

"I'm glad that they are starting to take some of the restrictions off of bikers," Oehlerking said. "Anything that makes it safer to ride our bikes around is great. I ride my bike to class almost every day, and a law that makes it safer for me to do that is a really great idea."

Before the law takes effect, it must be passed through the House. After the House vote, the bill must be approved in a Senate committee and voted on by the Colorado Senate before it is sent to the governor to be signed into law.

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