Statwide Safety Stop
Colorado’s Statewide Safety Stop Allows Bicycle Riders to Treat a Stop Sign as a Yield Sign and a Red Light as a Stop Sign.
Colorado’s Statewide Safety Stop became law in Colorado on April 13, 2022 at 1:10 pm. So after April 13, 2022 at 1:10 pm., anyone age 15 or over who rides a bicycle, ebike, e-scooter, regular scooter, skateboard, or one-wheel on Colorado public roads has new laws when approaching stop signs, red lights, and other forms of traffic. Now riders will “legally” not have to completely stop at stop signs when there is no traffic present. Red lights that would not change for a bike rider who followed the law and as a result -- waited and waited will so be a past memory. Colorado police should no longer ticket bicycle riders for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or for what they may have thought was legal activity on a bicycle.
Colorado’s House and Senate finally passed the State-wide Safety Stop bill (HB22-1028) which is based on the Idaho Stop Law on April 8, 2022. This bill became a law after Governor Polis signed it on April 13, 2022 at 1:10 pm. Immediately after the signing ceremony, about 15 bike riders including myself rode through several stop signs at 1:15 pm after high fiving and leaving the capitol.
An explanation of the practical changes of the Colorado Safety Stop for a bike rider are as follows:
- When approaching a stop sign, if it is safe to proceed only after slowing to a reasonable speed of 10 miles per hour or less, yielding the right-of-way to any traffic or pedestrian in or approaching the intersection, and after yielding then the bike riders can continue through the intersection without stopping; and
- When approaching an illuminated red traffic control signal, or “red light,” the person on a bicycle must first stop completely at the intersection and yield to all other traffic and pedestrians and only when traffic clears and it is safe, may proceed straight or make a right turn through the intersection or, subject to specified conditions, make a left turn onto a one-way street only. As a result, a bike rider cannot make a left turn on a two-way street when there is a RED light illuminated.
It should be noted that as the bill that became law evolved into the current version in several steps. This law will not only apply to people who ride bicycles but is flexible to cover new and not yet invented forms of transportation called “Low Speed Conveyances” which would include electric scooters, one-wheels, e-bikes, skateboards, and who knows what new form of transportation might come next. One critical change that became is that the Safety Stop law only apply to bicyclists ages 15 and over. However, for bicyclists, or low speed conveyance riders who are under age 15 who are with a parent or legal guardian then they can keep their momentum and benefit from this new law.
This is a change from the Colorado bicycle law before April 13, 2022, which was a locally based opt-in decision by the city or county to make a Safety Stop the rule of that area. As expected, when rules for bike riders changed from town to town there was confusion. When both bike riders and drivers of motor vehicles understand the laws they are easier to follow and there is less conflict between road users. The new laws are listed below from the Act that became the law explained above. The new law also includes funds for education about the law described above. In fact, the law directs the Colorado Department of Transportation to work with the Colorado Departments of Education, Public Safety and appropriate nonprofits to educate the public about this change to Colorado bicycle and pedestrian laws. Please email or call us at 303-741-0249 if you have been in a crash or accident where the Colorado Safety Stop, C.R.S. 42-4-1412, is involved or in question.
Colorado Revised Statute C.R.S. 42-4-1412. Operation of bicycles, electric scooters, and other human-powered vehicles. (1) A person riding a bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or electric scooter has all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this article 4, except as to special regulations in this article 4, except as provided in section 42-4-1412.5, and except as to those provisions that by their nature can have no application.
Capital letters or bold & italic numbers indicate new material added to existing law; dashes through words or numbers indicate deletions from existing law and such material is not part of the act.
Bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or electric scooter riders shall comply with the rules set forth in this section and section 42-4-221, and, when using streets and highways within incorporated cities and towns, are subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles, electrical assisted bicycles, and electric scooters as provided in section 42-4-111.
Notwithstanding any contrary provision in this article 4, when a county or municipality has adopted an ordinance or resolution pursuant to THAT REGULATES THE OPERATION OF BICYCLES, ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLES, AND ELECTRIC SCOOTERS AT CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-4-1412.5 (4)(a), AND THAT DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH section 42-4-1412.5, riders are subject to the local ordinance or resolution.
SECTION 2. In Colorado Revised Statutes, amend 42-4-1412.5 as follows: 42-4-1412.5. Statewide regulation of certain persons approaching intersections who are not operating motor vehicles - status of existing local ordinance or resolution - legislative declaration - definitions. (1) A county or municipality may adopt an ordinance pursuant to this section, the ordinance or resolution must-specify the following: THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEREBY FINDS AND DECLARES THAT: (a) THE REGULATION OF PERSONS APPROACHING CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS IS A MATTER OF MIXED STATE AND LOCAL CONCERN; AND (b) IT IS NECESSARY, APPROPRIATE, AND IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE STATE TO REDUCE INJURIES, FATALITIES, AND PROPERTY DAMAGE RESULTING FROM COLLISIONS AT CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS BETWEEN MOTOR VEHICLES AND PERSONS WHO ARE NOT OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLES BY ALLOWING MOST PERSONS APPROACHING CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS WHO ARE FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER OR WHO ARE UNDER FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT AND WHO ARE NOT OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLES TO APPROACH CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS IN THE MANNER SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION. (2) (a) (I) A PEDESTRIAN OR A person riding an electric or electric assisted bicycle WHO IS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER OR WHO IS UNDER FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT AND WHO IS OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE and approaching art intersection of a roadway A CONTROLLED INTERSECTION with a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. If a stop is not required for safety, the PEDESTRIAN OR person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE shall slow to a reasonable speed and yield the right-of-way to any traffic or pedestrian in or approaching the intersection. After the PEDESTRIAN OR person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE has slowed to a reasonable speed and yielded the right-of-way if required, the PEDESTRIAN OR person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping. (b) (II) For purposes of this subsection (1) SUBSECTION (2)(a), a reasonable speed is TEN miles per hour or less. A municipality, by ordinance, or a county, by resolution, may set a reasonable speed at any individual intersection to ten miles per hour or raise the maximum reasonable speed to twenty miles per hour if the municipality or county also posts signs at the intersection stating that lowcr or higher speed limitation. (e) (b) A person riding- a- bicycle or scooter WHO IS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER OR WHO IS UNDER FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND IS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT AND WHO IS OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE and approaching an intersection of a roadway A CONTROLLED INTERSECTION with an illuminated red traffic control signal shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic and pedestrians. Once the person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE has yielded, the person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE may cautiously proceed in the same direction through the intersection or make a right-hand turn. When a red traffic control signal is illuminated, a person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE shall not proceed through the intersection or turn right if an oncoming vehicle is turning or preparing to turn left in front of the person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE. d) (c) A person riding a bicycle or an electric assisted---bicycle or electric scooter WHO IS FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER OR WHO IS UNDER FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND IS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT AND WHO IS OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE approaching an intersection of a roadway with an illuminated red traffic control signal may make a left-hand turn only if turning onto a one-way street and only after stopping and yielding to other traffic and pedestrians. However, a person OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE shall not turn left if a AN ONCOMING vehicle is traveling in the same direction as-the-person and-the-vehicle is turning or preparing to turn left. If the person is not turning left onto a one-way street, then the person-shall-not-make-a-left hand-turn at-an-intersection while-a-red traffic control signal is illuminated RED. (d) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS SUBSECTION (2), IF A COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY HAS PLACED A TRAFFIC SIGN OR A TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL AT A CONTROLLED INTERSECTION AND THE TRAFFIC SIGN OR TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL PROVIDES INSTRUCTIONS ONLY TO ONE OR MORE SPECIFIED TYPES OF LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCES, THE OPERATOR OF A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE TO WHICH THE TRAFFIC SIGN OR TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL IS DIRECTED SHALL OBEY THE INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED BY THE SIGN OR TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL. (2) (e) If a county or municipality adopted a valid ordinance or resolution that regulates bicycles or electrical assisted bicycles substantially as described in subsection (1) SUBSECTIONS (2)(a.5), (2)(b.5), AND (2)(c.5) of this section prior to May 3, 2018, that ordinance or resolution remains valid TO THE EXTENT THAT IT APPLIES TO THE OPERATION OF BICYCLES OR ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLES BY PERSONS WHO ARE UNDER FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND WHO ARE NOT ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT. (2.5) THIS SECTION SUPERSEDES ANY CONFLICTING ORDINANCE THAT A MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR CITY AND COUNTY ADOPTS, BUT nothing in this section affects the validity of an ANY ordinance or resolution that ADOPTED BY a municipality, county, or city and county-ad-opted-pursuant-to this-section. THAT REGULATES THE CONDUCT OF PERSONS APPROACHING CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS AND DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH THIS SECTION. )
C.R.S. 43-2-101 (1). (3.5) THIS SECTION DOES NOT CREATE ANY RIGHT FORA PEDESTRIAN OR THE OPERATOR OF A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE TO TRAVEL ON ANY PORTION OF A ROADWAY WHERE TRAVEL IS OTHERWISE PROHIBITED BY STATE LAW OR BY AN ORDINANCE OR RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY A MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR CITY AND COUNTY. (4) As used in this section: (a) Electrical-assisted bicycle means as-the-term-is-defined-in section 42-1-102 (28.5).
"CONTROLLED INTERSECTION" MEANS AN INTERSECTION OF A ROADWAY THAT IS CONTROLLED BY EITHER A STOP SIGN OR A TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL. (b) "municipality " means a home or statutory city, town, of city and county. "LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE" MEANS: (I) A VEHICLE, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-1-102 (112), THAT IS NOT A MOTOR VEHICLE, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-1-102 (58), A LOW-POWER SCOOTER AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-1-102 (48.5), OR A LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC VEHICLE, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-1-102 (48.6); (II) A TOY VEHICLE, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-1-102 (103.5), THAT IS EXCLUSIVELY HUMAN-POWERED; OR (III) AN ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTANCE MOBILITY DEVICE OR EPAMD, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-1-102 (28.7), OR A DEVICE THAT WOULD BE AN ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTANCE MOBILITY DEVICE OR EPAMID BUT FOR THE FACT THAT IT HAS FEWER OR MORE THAN TWO WHEELS
Colorado Safety Stop provides that there shall be educational materials made available and in driver’s handbook about the laws regarding when bikes and low power conveyances approach stop signs and red lights at intersections.
C.R.S. 42-4-2301. Comprehensive education. (1) The department of transportation, in collaboration with the departments of education and public safety and appropriate nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups, PAGE 5-HOUSE BILL 22-1028 shall notify schools of the availability of and make available to schools existing educational curriculum for individuals under eighteen years of age regarding the safe use of public streets and premises open to the public by users of nonmotorized wheeled transportation and pedestrians. The curriculum shall focus on, at a minimum, instruction regarding: (g) The use of hiking and bicycling trails; (h) Safe pedestrian practices; AND (i) LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND SAFE PRACTICES FOR APPROACHING CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS AS A PEDESTRIAN OR WHILE OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-4-1412.5 (4)(b). SECTION 4. In Colorado Revised Statutes, add part 25 to article 4 of title 42 as follows: PART 25 EDUCATION REGARDING APPROACHING CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS WHILE NOT DRIVING A MOTOR VEHICLE 42-4-2501. Educational materials - updating of driving manual. (1) THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION AND PUBLIC SAFETY AND APPROPRIATE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND ADVOCACY GROUPS, SHALL PRODUCE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS CONCERNING LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND SAFE PRACTICES FOR APPROACHING CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS AS A PEDESTRIAN OR WHILE OPERATING A LOW-SPEED CONVEYANCE, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 42-4-1412.5 (4)(b).