Boulder Bicycle Law

Boulder has very specific local rules and regulations that cyclists must follow and there are also more protections granted to cyclists in Boulder.

Rules for Bicycles in Boulder, Colorado

7-2-8. – Bicycle School for Children.
7-2-17. – Clinging to Vehicles Prohibited.
7-2-23. – Opening and Closing Vehicle Doors.
7-5-1. – Application of Traffic Laws to Bicycles.
7-5-2. – Required Method of Riding Bicycle.
7-5-3. – Carrying Articles.
7-5-4. – Bicycle to Be Driven to Right.
7-5-5. – Use of Crosswalk.
7-5-6. – Driving More Than Two Abreast on Path Prohibited.
7-5-7. – Left Turns by Bicycles.
7-5-8. – Bicycle Turn Signals.
7-5-9. – Bicycle Must Yield Right of Way and Obey Traffic Control Devices on Sidewalk, Crosswalk, or Path.
7-5-10. – Driving Bicycle on Sidewalk Prohibited.
7-5-11. – Bicycle Headlight and Reflector Required.
7-5-12. – Bicycle Brake Required.
7-5-14. – Pedestrian or Bicyclist Entering Roadway.
7-5-23. – Bicycle Racing Prohibited.
7-5-24. – Approved Bicycle Races.
7-5-25. – Electric Assisted Bicycles.

7-2-8. – Bicycle School for Children.

Before the judge accepts a plea from a child under the age of sixteen years for a bicycle infraction, the judge shall afford the child a reasonable opportunity to attend a free bicycle safety class, and if the child attends such class, the judge shall dismiss the charge unless the judge finds that dismissal is not in the best interests of the child.

7-2-17. – Clinging to Vehicles Prohibited.

(a) No person riding upon any motorcycle, moped, bicycle, roller skates, skateboard, roller ski, ski, coaster, sled, toboggan, toy vehicle, child’s tricycle or any similar device shall attach the device or the person’s self to any vehicle moving on a street.

(b) It is a specific defense to a charge of violating this section that the device was a bicycle trailer attached to a bicycle and designed for such attachment.

7-2-23. – Opening and Closing Vehicle Doors.

No person shall open any door on a vehicle unless it is done in safety, nor shall any person leave a door open on a side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

The code specifically applies to cases where our clients have been “doored” in Boulder.

7-5-1. – Application of Traffic Laws to Bicycles.

Every person driving a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle has all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this title except as modified by this chapter.

7-5-2. – Required Method of Riding Bicycle.

(a) No person driving a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle shall ride other than astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.

(b) No bicycle or electric assisted bicycle shall be used by either the driver or any passenger to carry more persons than the number for which it is designed or equipped.

(c) An adult riding on a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle may carry a child securely attached to the person in a backpack or sling.

7-5-3. – Carrying Articles.

Every person driving a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle shall keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times and shall not carry any package, bundle or article that obstructs the driver’s vision or prevents the use of both hands in the control and operation of the bicycle.

7-5-4. – Bicycle to Be Driven to Right.

(a) Every person driving a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle upon a roadway at a speed so slow as to impede or block the normal and legal forward movement of traffic proceeding immediately behind such bicycle shall drive within the right four feet of the right-hand through lane of the roadway, except under any of the following conditions:

(1) When driving in a bike lane;

(2) When preparing for a left turn;

(3) When reasonably necessary for safety because of debris or other obstruction on or a defect in the surface of the pavement, but the bicyclist shall continue to drive as close to the right side of the roadway as is practicable;

(4) When overtaking and passing on the left of another vehicle; or

(5) On a one-way street, when driving in the left four feet of the left-hand through lane.

(b) A bicycle or electric assisted bicycle may be driven on a paved shoulder if such driving does not violate any section of this title for passing or direction of travel.

(c) The provisions of this section do not apply to roadways designated as shared streets.

7-5-5. – Use of Crosswalk.

(a) No person shall immediately approach, enter, or traverse a crosswalk which spans a roadway at a speed greater than eight miles per hour.

(b) Persons driving bicycles across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk from a sidewalk or path, and persons driving electric assisted bicycles across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk from a multi-use path where such vehicles are permitted, shall have the duties applicable to pedestrians under the same circumstances.

(c) Such persons similarly have the rights of a pedestrian, but only if the bicyclist was entitled to use the sidewalk or path, and the approach, entry, and traversal of the crosswalk are made at a speed no greater than a reasonable crossing speed so that other drivers may anticipate the necessity to yield when required.

7-5-6. – Driving More Than Two Abreast on Path Prohibited.

No person shall drive a bicycle upon a path adjacent to more than one other bicycle.

7-5-7. – Left Turns by Bicycles.

(a) The driver of a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle turning left in accordance with Section 7-4-25, “Improper Turn Prohibited,” B.R.C. 1981, may approach the turn anywhere within any separate left turn lane and may finish the turn by moving to the right lane as soon as it can be done in safety.

(b) In addition to any other method specified in this title, the driver of a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle may make a left turn by crossing the intersection as close as practicable to the right-hand curb line to the far curb and then turning left to proceed in the proper position on the other roadway. A person making a left turn under the provisions of this subsection may do so only after complying with all the obligations of drivers of vehicles approaching in the new direction on the other roadway, including, without limitation, the duties to stop and yield in response to traffic control signs or signals.

7-5-8. – Bicycle Turn Signals.

The driver of a bicycle is excepted from giving the hand and arm signal continuously if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle or electric assisted bicycle, but it shall be given for a substantial period while stopped waiting to turn. The driver of a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle may signal a right turn by extending the right hand and arm horizontally.

7-5-9. – Bicycle Must Yield Right of Way and Obey Traffic Control Devices on Sidewalk, Crosswalk, or Path.

(a) A person driving a bicycle on a sidewalk, a crosswalk, or a path, and any person driving an electric assisted bicycle on a multi-use path, shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking or passing any pedestrian.

(b) If any traffic control device is in place alongside of or on a sidewalk or a path, no driver of a bicycle or pedestrian, and no driver of an electric assisted bicycle on a multi-use path where such vehicles are permitted, shall fail to obey the requirements of the device.

7-5-10. – Driving Bicycle on Sidewalk Prohibited.

(a) No person shall drive a bicycle or use a skateboard, rollerblade, or roller ski upon and along a sidewalk except:

(1) Upon sidewalks in residential or public districts zoned RR-1, RR-2, RE, RL, RM, RMX, RH-1, RH-2, RH-3, RH-4, RH-5, MH, MU-1, MU-3 or P; or

(2) Upon sidewalks designated as paths.

(b) No person shall drive a bicycle on the mall. This subsection does not apply to an entertainer who is performing an act on a unicycle.

(c) No person shall drive a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk where such use is prohibited by a traffic control device.

Unlike many jurisdictions, Boulder does allow a cyclist to ride on the sidewalk in certain areas of the city which are primarily zoned residential or as mixed use areas.

7-5-11. – Bicycle Headlight and Reflector Required.

(a) No person shall drive a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle between sunset and sunrise unless it is equipped with a red rear reflector mounted on the bicycle so located and of sufficient size and reflectivity to be visible for six hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.

(b) No person shall drive a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle between sunset and sunrise or at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles are not clearly discernible at a distance of one thousand feet ahead, unless it is equipped with a lamp mounted on the front of the bicycle and emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front.

7-5-12. – Bicycle Brake Required.

No person shall drive a bicycle or electric assisted bicycle unless it is equipped with a brake system which will enable its driver to stop the bicycle within twenty-five feet from a speed of ten miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

7-5-14. – Pedestrian or Bicyclist Entering Roadway.

No pedestrian or bicyclist shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or drive into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

7-5-23. – Bicycle Racing Prohibited.

No person shall engage with another bicyclist or person driving any other vehicle in any bicycle race, speed or acceleration contest, or exhibition of speed or acceleration on a street, a sidewalk, or a path except as authorized in Paragraph 2-2-11(b)(16), B.R.C. 1981.

7-5-24. – Approved Bicycle Races.

Bicycle racing shall not be unlawful when a racing event has been approved by the city manager. It is a specific defense to a charge of violating any provision of Chapter 7-2, “General Provisions,” 7-3, “Condition of Vehicles,” 7-4, “Operation of Vehicles,” or 7-5, “Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Animal Traffic,” B.R.C. 1981, that the driver was racing as a participant in a bicycle race authorized under Paragraph 2-2-11(b)(16), B.R.C. 1981, and was driving in accordance with such authorization. This defense does not apply to charges of violating Paragraphs 7-4-52(a)(1), 7-4-56(a)(1) and Sections 7-4-66, “Operation of Vehicle on Approach of Authorized Emergency Vehicle,” 7-4-67, “Eluding,” 7-4-68, “Following or Parking Near Fire Truck Prohibited,” 7-4-69, “Crossing Fire Hose Prohibited,” or 7-4-70, “Obedience to Peace Officers and Firefighters Directing Traffic Required,” B.R.C. 1981.

Ordinance No. 5241 (1989)

7-5-25. – Electric Assisted Bicycles.

No person shall activate the motor of an electric assisted bicycle on any bike or pedestrian path or on a recreational trail except where permitted by a rule adopted by the city manager in accordance with Chapter 1-4, “Rulemaking.” B.R.C. 1981. Such rule adopted by the manager shall not include paths or trails on open space land as defined in the City Charter Section 170.