Colorado Bike Law in the Classroom

By Brian Weiss, Bike Law Colorado

We got lots of complaints about the cycling "techniques" of students around college campuses. Here's a group of students wanting to learn to commute safely and to teach others how to do so.

Bike Law Colorado attorney Brian Weiss talked to college students at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado on March 21, 2014 about bicycle laws in Denver. The class is putting together a study to teach students and bicycle commuters how to navigate safely in Denver. Brian explained the laws that apply to cyclists, and gave the students insights on how to be a safe commuter.

Brian also gave the class examples of the right and wrong things to do as a bicycle commuter. The students also learned the reasons behind the rules of the road that apply to bicycles. There was about an hour of questions from the students about bicycle laws and how to improve them which was quite engaging.

MSU Professor Amy Findeiss coordinated the bicycle commuter study for her research into cyclist commuting behavior and cyclist habits in the Denver area. In addition to Brian Weiss, Ms. Findeiss also invited the Denver City Planner to discuss bicycle commuting with her students.

This article, Colorado Bike Law in the Classroom, was originally published on Bike Law on April 21, 2014.

Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyer

 

Can a bicyclist pass on the right?

By Rick Bernardi. J.D.

Can a bicyclist pass on the right?

This is a question that we’ve come across more than once, most recently in a crash that happened in California. As the cyclist explained,

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Unbelievable. Inexcusable. And Unacceptable.

Three years ago, a popular and well-known member of Chattanooga’s cycling community was buzzed by a driver who claims he never saw the cyclist, even though the cyclist was, according to friends, “lit up like a Christmas tree,” and was riding with “an obnoxiously bright blinking red light on the back of his bike when he was hit.”

The cyclist, David Meek, was sideswiped by the passing truck and thrown under the rear wheels. He suffered severe injuries, and was taken to a local hospital. He did not survive, succumbing to his injuries.

Although the driver had sideswiped Meek, and although a 3 foot safe passing law had already been on the books in Tennessee for nearly two years, the driver was never charged with a traffic violation. In fact, as Bob detailed in False Protection, Chattanooga police seemed to be bending over backwards to invent new legal theories to exonerate the driver.

David Meek was denied justice by a police department that didn’t understand, or didn’t want to understand the law. But what’s done is done. Three years have passed. Since then, more states have adopted safe passing laws, and slowly, the laws are beginning to be enforced

Except, apparently, in Chattanooga, Tennnessee. Or more precisely, the enclave of Red Bank. Recently, a cyclist on a ride with the Chattanooga Bicycle Club was buzzed and run off the road, sustaining minor injuries. Another club member was able to get the license number of the fleeing vehicle, and the cyclist who had been run off the road called the Red Bank police to report the incident.

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Sending The Wrong Message

Three feet to pass. Increasingly, it’s becoming the standard for the minimum distance at which motorists should pass cyclists—and increasingly, it’s becoming the law. When a state passes a “3 foot law,” the existing legal requirement to pass at a “safe passing distance” is changed to a requirement to pass at a “minimum safe passing distance”—typically 3 feet, but sometimes more, some times less, depending on the state. When a state establishes what a minimum safe passing distance means, motorists, police, courts, and juries are all given guidance about the bare minimum requirement for making a safe pass. Even with a minimum safe passing distance, overtaking drivers are still required to pass cyclists at a “safe distance,” and depending on conditions, that “safe distance” may be greater than the minimum distance specified by the law. But no driver can pass closer than the minimum distance specified in the law and argue in court that the pass was legal.

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Leading The Way

Earlier this year, we received a call from a cyclist in Huntington, West Virginia. That cyclist, a man named Tony Patrick, had a hair-raising story to tell about his encounter with a Sheriff’s Deputy across the Ohio River in Chesapeake, Ohio. The Deputy, who was unfamiliar with Ohio law regarding cyclists, ordered Tony off the road, and when Tony asserted his rights under Ohio law, the Deputy escalated, eventually tasing Tony before placing him under arrest. At a pre-trial hearing, the Judge dismissed all charges against Tony, because Tony had not violated any laws, and thus, the arrest had been unlawful. Recently, Tony filed a lawsuit alleging that his civil rights were violated in what was described as his

illegal and intentional detention, attack, beating, arrest and Tasering...

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated case of one officer not understanding the law as it applies to cycling. As we have previously documented, law enforcement officers do not always understand the laws they are charged with enforcing. And as we recently reported, that phenomenon continues in Los Angeles, where an LAPD task force is citing cyclists for violating a law that does not exist.

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