The House Judiciary Committee today advanced a bill, sponsored by House Majority Speaker KC Becker, that will create a new traffic offense for not yielding to bicycles or other sanctioned users who ride in bike lanes. The bill passed by a vote of 7-2.
“Cyclists are being hit and injured at an alarming rate, and it’s time we got involved to ensure their safety,” said Speaker Becker, D-Boulder. “Cycling deaths are tragic and preventable. If we’re serious about ensuring bike safety, then we need everyone who uses our roads to respect bike lanes. I hope this bill will provide the encouragement drivers need to share the road.”
According to data provided by CDOT, in 2017 bicycle deaths were at an all-time high. In 2017 there were 648 traffic deaths and out of those deaths 16 involved cyclists. In 2018, 22 cyclists died, and in 2019, 19 cyclists died across the state of Colorado. Recently, the city of Denver has pledged to install 125 miles of bike lanes throughout the city by 2023.
SB20-061 would make failing to yield to cyclists and other authorized users as determined by local governments a class A traffic offense. If violated, the penalty would be a $70 penalty and a $10 surcharge.