A few months ago, we told you about a proposed Colorado law that would, if passed and signed by the Governor, allow cities and counties to enact ordinances allowing bicyclists to roll through stop signs and ride through red lights.
Well, it looks like the legislature has now, in fact, been passed by lawmakers — meaning it only needs Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature to become law. If signed, Colorado will become the third state to pass such a law; the others being Idaho and Delaware. In fact, Idaho was the first state to enact its law in the 1980s, which is why the practice of rolling through stop signs is often referred to as an “Idaho Stop.”
Details of the proposed law
Otherwise known as Colorado Senate Bill 18-144, this newly passed legislation proposes two important bike-related traffic laws:
- A person riding a bike would only be required to slow down to a reasonable speed when approaching a stop sign and, if safe to do so, could proceed through the intersection without actually stopping.
- A person riding a bike would no long be required to wait at a red light until it changes to green. While they would still need to first stop, they could go through the intersection even though the light may still be red.
It is important to note, again, that these provisions will not actually become law until the bill is signed by the Governor — although bike advocates expect him to sign it.
Inevitably, this legislation has caused controversy. For example, opponents of the law believe cyclists should have to follow the same traffic laws as cars if they want the same rights to the road. For these individuals, it simply isn’t fair that drivers will receive a traffic citation if they run a stop sign or red light, but cyclists won’t. In fact, drivers can even face a reckless driving charge, depending on the circumstances.
On the other side of the debate are those who believe that forcing cyclists to stop only hinders traffic and increases congestion.
So which side will be happy? We will just have to wait and see what the Governor does.