Signpost Up Ahead

Garfield County, Colorado, has been adding signs on county roads since late 2017. These new signs replace older “Share The Road” signs, which were routinely ignored by drivers. After Colorado adopted the 3 feet to pass law (in 2009), these new signs are hopefully an improvement.

I’ve seen them, along with the small, green “Bike Route” signs, popping up on many of my regular rides, and I’ve called the Road & Bridge department to thank them for the signs. As a general note, if you live in an area where signs like this start going up, call your municipal officials and thank them. These people rarely hear positive comments, and a bit of support from the cycling community goes a long way.

My one quibble with the signs is the lower part:

Colorado law says:

Two abreast: 42-4-1412(6):

Persons riding bicycles or electrical assisted bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.Persons riding bicycles or electrical assisted bicycles two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.

Note the word “more”. Basically, you can ride two abreast, but not 3, 4, or whatever. You also can’t impede traffic, so basically, ride two abreast, listen for cars, and pull single-file as needed. The signs are really great, but the bottom message may also mis-inform drivers that cyclists must ride single-file, which is not always the case. At any rate, thanks to GarCo R&B for the signs.

Further, remember that you only have to ride as far to the right as you determine it to be safe.

Position on roadway: 42-4-1412(5):

(a) Any person operating a bicycle or an electrical assisted bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride in the right-hand lane, subject to the following conditions:(I) 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.

(II) A bicyclist may use a lane other than the right-hand lane when:

(A) Preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private roadway or driveway;

(B) Overtaking a slower vehicle; or

(C) Taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards or road conditions.

(III) Upon approaching an intersection where right turns are permitted and there is a dedicated right-turn lane, a bicyclist may ride on the left-hand portion of the dedicated right-turn lane even if the bicyclist does not intend to turn right.

(b) A bicyclist shall not be expected or required to:

(I) 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

(II) Ride without a reasonable safety margin on the right-hand side of the roadway.

This (sort of) clearly says that you make the call on how far to the right you need to be based on road conditions, right-hand turn lanes, left turns, overtaking slower vehicles, and avoiding road hazards. It’s pretty straight-forward, but bears reviewing to know your rights.

More info here, here, and here.