Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyers: Rights

Colorado is consistently one of the “fittest” states in the United States and a big reason for this is the numbers of Colorado bicyclists that are constantly on the roadways. Unfortunately, this rise in the number of bicyclists in Colorado also increases the number of bike related crashes and injuries that occur. Fortunately, Colorado enjoys some of the most bike friendly laws in the nation.


Bicycle Related Laws

One of the most important laws on the books are Colorado’s Safe Passing Laws. Specifically, Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-1002; 42-4-1003; 42-4-1004 codified a three foot passing requirement in three rules to address the variety of circumstances in which a bicyclist may be overtaken by a motorist. These circumstances include passing oncoming vehicles, passing to the left and passing to the right. In each case, the motorist must maintain at least a three foot distance between the side of their vehicle and the cyclist.


Colorado has no helmet law.

It is legal (though not recommended) for persons of all ages to operate a bike without wearing a helmet unless otherwise prohibited by municipal regulation.


Colo. Rev. Stat. §§18-9-116; 42-4-1008; 42-4-1402 are further aimed at protecting Colorado bicyclists. They include any person who knowingly projects any object or substance at or against a bicyclist commits a class 2 misdemeanor. Also, any driver of a motor vehicle who, in a careless and imprudent manner, drives the vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist is guilty of the offense of careless driving, which is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. If the careless driving results in serious injury or death then it is a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.


Colorado has some of the most specific laws regarding where a cyclist should ride and not ride in the nation. The general rule is that:


If the right-hand lane then available for traffic is wide enough to be safely shared with overtaking vehicles, a bicyclist shall ride far enough to the right as judged safe by the bicyclist to facilitate the movement of such overtaking vehicles unless other conditions make it unsafe to do so. A bicyclist may use a lane other than the right-hand lane when:

  • Preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private roadway or driveway;
  • Overtaking a slower vehicle; or
  • Taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards or road conditions.

A bicyclist shall not be expected or required to:

  • Ride over or through hazards at the edge of a roadway, including but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow lanes; or
  • Ride without a reasonable safety margin on the right-hand side of the roadway.


Colo. Rev. Stat. §42-4-1412(5).

Colorado provides that no person shall drive any vehicle other than a bicycle, electric assisted bicycle, or any other human-powered vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.


In addition, when a person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, pathway or crosswalk the bicyclist shall:

  • Yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian in a manner that is safe for pedestrians.
  • Not ride a bicycle where such use is prohibited by official traffic control devices or local ordinances. A person riding a bicycle shall dismount before entering any crosswalk where required by official traffic control devices or local ordinances.
  • Have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.


Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-710; 42-4-1412(10)

In Colorado, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Colorado's law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to all vehicles and therefore applies to bicyclists. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.


Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-4-1301; 42-1-102

Colorado does not provide any modifications to the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.


Colorado requires that no person open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. In addition, no person shall leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.


Colo. Rev. Stat. §42-4-1207

In Colorado bicycles are vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles and a person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and duties of the driver of a vehicle as provided in Article 42-4.


Colo. Rev. Stat. §§42-1-102(112); 42-4-1412.

At Zinda Law Group, we have provided counsel to many bicycle accident victims and their loved ones throughout Colorado. We are avid cyclists ourselves and are keenly aware of the legal nuances involved as well as the emotional support necessary to help the biking victims and their loved ones cope with their loss. Also, we have handled numerous hit and run bicycle cases and are very adept at finding insurance coverage that other lawyers may have missed.


We provide a free initial consultation to all of our clients. You can contact us through our website or call us at 303-800-1501. We handle all of our cases on a contingency fee arrangement. There is no charge to our clients unless a recovery is obtained.