House Bill 22-1028 Colorado Safety Stop Legislative Update – April 2022
For six years, Bike Jeffco has promoted Colorado Safety Stop legislation by testifying before legislative committees, holding a workshop on January 8, 2019, and educating people on the bill. In the last few months, both Colorado House and Senate subcommittees and both floors have approved the Colorado Safety Stop to be adopted statewide. The bill has been passed but requires the Governor’s signature which is pending.
Bike Jeffco Board of Directors would like to acknowledge and thank Jefferson County Commissioner Andy Kerr for his leadership in introducing the Colorado Safety Stop in 2016 and continuing to work toward the enhancement of the law through 2022. He worked diligently with a number of Colorado Representatives and Senators, and had support from the bicycle community, notably Bicycle Colorado and Bike Jeffco. We also appreciate the skillful coordination of the public testimonies at the subcommittee hearings during the Legislative Sessions.
Summary of the Bill
The Safety Stop allows people on “low-speed conveyances” to treat stop signs as yield signs and treat stop lights as stop signs if there is no traffic present and it is safe to proceed. If there is traffic present and it is not safe to proceed through the intersection, then a stop light is still treated as a stop light and a stop sign is treated as a stop sign. The Safety Stop does not impact the current right-of-way whatsoever. Bicycles can proceed straight, right, or left at a reasonable speed of no more than 10 miles per hour only when the coast is clear. Low-speed conveyances include bicycles, e-bikes, electric scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards and pedestrians.
Intersections are by far the most dangerous locations for bicyclists. Data from CDOT and CSP for multiple years indicate that over 70% of reported crashes between bicyclists and drivers take place at intersections. Research shows that the Safety Stop:
- Reduces interactions between motorists and bicyclists in intersections
- Reduces crashes in intersections
- Increases the visibility of bicyclists in the intersection
- Reduces the number of bicyclist-only injuries associated with starting and stopping on a bicycle
- facilitates the quiet street initiatives for cycling on suburban streets with lots of stop signs
Also, it decriminalizes a common-sense behavior and allows law enforcement to focus resources on bigger, more pressing issues.
Recommendations to Cyclists
Many drivers and law enforcement officials are concerned that the new legislation may be perceived that cyclists are “above the law.” It is up to the cycling community to prove that the law is not enabling bad behavior. It’s extremely important that riders behave Lawfully and courteously.
Compliance with the Colorado Safety Stop requires the following:
• Red Lights – Stop lights are treated as stop signs when there is no traffic present and it is clear to pass through. Cyclists still need to stop at the intersection when it’s a red light and only proceed when it is clear.
• Stop signs – State law requires stopping at a stop sign unless it is clear to pass through at a speed not to exceed 10 mph. In which case the stop sign is treated as a yield sign.
• Respect the existing right-of-way rules – For example at a 4-way stop if a car is there before you, the car has the right-of-way and you should stop or wait. Some drivers may wave you on through, but you must make eye contact to establish that.
• The best application of the Colorado Safety Stop is when there are no other vehicles in the intersection. If there are cars, bikes, or pedestrians, slow down, make eye contact, and be courteous when you proceed.