Officials talk bike laws in Craig

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When talking to city officials it becomes clear there is confusion among Craig residents about how to safely and legally ride a bicycle around town.

Of particular concern is the public debate over whether or not bicycles are allowed to ride on city sidewalks.

And they are, unless otherwise posted, according to Colorado Revised Statutes pertaining to the operation of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles.

“A person riding a bicycle upon or along a sidewalk or pathway or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian,” Colorado law states. “A person riding a bicycle in a crosswalk shall do so in a manner that is safe for pedestrians.”

The City of Craig has adopted Colorado law in regards to bicycles, said Craig City Manager Jim Ferree.

“Translated into English, bikers can share the sidewalk with pedestrians,” he said. “They just have to be polite.”

When riding on the streets, highways, and roadways bicyclists are expected to follow the “model traffic code” as stipulated in Colorado Revised Statutes, and as adopted by the City of Craig.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said bicyclists are therefore expected to follow all of the same rules as automobiles, such as riding in the same direction of traffic, and obeying all traffic signs and signals.

Though Craig doesn’t have a bicycling problem in terms of issuing citations for infractions, Vanatta said many biking enthusiasts are poor about obeying traffic laws.

“Bicyclists, in general terms, are historically poor about following traffic regulations,” Vanatta said. “For example, very few ever stop at stop signs, but they’re supposed to.”

In addition, Vanatta said residents shouldn’t be fooled into believing a bicycle is a safe alternative home after a few hours at the bar.

Last month Craig Police Department officers arrested a drunken bicyclist and charged the suspect with driving under the influence.

“Riding on a bike drunk is just as bad as driving drunk because they pull out in front of cars,” Vanatta said. “Living in a rural community surrounded by highways, it’s real easy for a drunken bicyclist to get hit by a car, particularly at night.”

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