Speeding and Red-Light-Running are Two of the Most Common Causes of Traffic Crashes in Boulder

As part of the traffic safety program, the city has added photo radar to some neighborhoods and school zones and photo red lights at some high-traffic intersections.

The city uses photo enforcement devices including photo radar and red-light cameras to improve traffic safety, prevent crashes and save lives.

If either device takes a photo, a notice is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Photo enforcement is only used on public streets and photographs are only taken if drivers are violating traffic laws. Both systems are in plain view, either in a marked City of Boulder vehicle parked by the side of the road or in an enclosure mounted on a pole.

Speed Limit in Boulder

The default speed limit in the city – or the legal speed where no signs are posted – is 20 mph. 20 mph is also the limit on all residential, which make up 70% of all streets in Boulder.

Map of which streets have a 20 mph speed limit

The 20 mph speed limits on local, residential streets are a part of the city’s Vision Zero program which has the goal to eliminate all fatalities and serious injuries caused by traffic collisions. Speeding was identified as one of the top causes of severe traffic crashes in Boulder in the 2019 Safe Streets Report and evaluating a 20 mph speed limit for local residential streets was designated as a key action item in the city’s Transportation Master Plan and Vision Zero Action Plan.

Learn more about Vision Zero.

Photo Radar

Photo radar is an automated camera system used to enforce speed limits. It includes the camera, an attached radar beam and a display that shows the speed of each passing vehicle. When a speeding vehicle is detected, the photo radar system takes a picture of the driver and the license plate. The registered owner of the vehicle then receives a citation in the mail.

Photo Red Light

Running red lights is one of the most frequent causes of accidents at intersections in Boulder. Photo red lights take pictures of any vehicles that run red lights, record the time elapsed since the light turned red and the vehicle entered the intersection, and issue citations. The photo red light systems are installed at key Boulder intersections that have a high number of collisions.

Pay a Photo Enforcement Fine

Pay Online

Pay over the phone

  • Call 866-790-4111 and pay using a MasterCard/Visa.

Pay by mail

  • Follow the instructions on your Notice of Violation.
  • Payment is accepted via personal check, money order, cashier's check or MasterCard/Visa.
  • If you are paying by check or money order, make it payable to "City of Boulder" and reference the notice number located on the top right side of the payment stub. Please do not send cash through the mail.
  • Mailed payments should be sent to:
    City of Boulder
    Photo Enforcement Program
    PO Box 35131
    Seattle, WA 98124-5131

Drop-off payment

  • Drop off your payment in the drop box located at the entrance of the parking lot across the street from the Boulder Municipal Court (1777 6th St.).
  • Personal check, money order, cashier's check or MasterCard/Visa pyaments are accepted.
  • If you are paying by check or money order, make it payable to "City of Boulder" and reference the notice number located on the top right side of the payment stub. Please do not drop off cash in the drop box.

Pay in-person

  • Pay in-person at the Boulder Municipal Court (1777 6th St.) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Acceptable forms of payment are cash, personal check, money order, cashier's check or MasterCard/Visa.

Contest a Photo Citation of Red Light Running or Speeding

Notice of violation

  • Photo enforcement citations differ from traditional citations in that you can view the photographic evidence of your alleged violation prior to paying fines or appearing in court.
  • The violation notice you receive in the mail will include a URL, which you can visit to view the evidence.
  • The photographs must provide the evidence necessary to support an allegation of red-light running.

Schedule a court date

Appear in court

  • You should bring your driver's license and a copy of the Notice of Violation you receieved when you appear in court.
  • Court costs are not assessed on photo enforcement cases.

Defenses

The law requires that the driver of a vehicle drive at a speed that permits the vehicle to be operated in compliance with all applicable traffic laws and weather/road conditions. This means that the following are not legally accepted defenses:

  • Equipment malfunction
  • Weather and/or road conditions
  • Driving a heavily loaded vehicle
  • Driving behind a vehicle that blocked the driver's view

Frequently Asked Questions

Photo radar is used to prevent speeding. It is used by an officer in a marked City of Boulder vehicle on the side of the road and consists of an automated camera system, a radar beam and a display that shows the speed of each passing vehicle. When a vehicle is detected to be traveling 10 mph or more over the posted speed limit, a citation is triggered and the photo radar system takes a picture of the driver and the license plate. For speeds of 5-9 mph over the speed limit, a warning is triggered. The registered owner of the vehicle then receives a Notice of Violation PDF or a Warning Notice PDF in the mail.

Red light cameras are mounted on traffic poles at certain high-collision intersections. Radar-based technology mounted on poles is used to monitor traffic. The system is not activated until the light turns red. If a vehicle crosses the stop line after the light turns red, these sensors will detect the vehicle and trigger the camera, taking a picture of the driver and the license plate. The registered owner of the vehicle then receives a Notice of Violation in the mail.

These intersections have red-light cameras:

  • 47th Street and CO 119 (the Diagonal Highway).
  • 47th Street and Valmont Road.
  • 30th Street and Arapahoe Avenue.
  • 28th Street and Arapahoe Avenue.
  • 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard.
  • 28th Street and Jay Road.
  • 27th Way and Baseline Road.
  • 15th Street and Canyon Boulevard.
  • Table Mesa Drive and US 36 (Foothills Parkway).
  • Foothills Parkway and Arapahoe Avenue.
  • Broadway and Pine Street.

Failure to respond to the Notice will result in personal service of the Notice. You will receive an additional $60 fee to cover the cost of service. Once the Notice has been personally served, you must pay the amount due (including additional $60 fee) indicated on the notice prior to the court date, or you must appear in court as scheduled. If you fail to appear for court, you will be found guilty by default, assessed applicable fines and fees, and your case will be referred to a collection agency, which will increase the amount due by 25 percent. Failure to appear for court is also a separate violation that may result in a warrant for your arrest.

A Notice of Violation is issued to the registered vehicle owner, as determined by the photo of the license plate. The Notice of Violation is sent via first class mail. Most notices are mailed within seven days of the violation date. A final notice is mailed to the same address by first class mail 20 days later if there is no response to the first notice.

If you are not the driver pictured, you can identify the actual driver by completing the Affidavit of Non Responsibility on the reverse side of the violation notice sent to you in the mail. You may post, fax or email the completed affidavit. You must include the mailing address of the nominated driver and a photocopy of your driver's license. If the city determines you were not the driver, your Notice of Violation will be dismissed and a new notice will be sent to the appropriate party.

When a photo red light violation is issued, the license plate that is pictured is tracked through motor vehicle license plate registration. The address on the registration is used to determine where to mail the citation and to whom it is issued.

If you moved since obtaining your license plates and did not update your address with Motor Vehicle Registration at your county's Clerk and Recorder Office, or if you believe that you may have received a citation but did not receive a notice in the mail, you can call the Boulder Municipal Court at 303-441-1810 and ask if there is a citation for your license plate number.

Colorado Revised Statute §42-3-113(7) states whenever any person moves to a new address, he or she has 30 days to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of both the old and new addresses. As indicated above, notification is made to your county's Clerk and Recorder Office.

The registered owner will be sent notice of the violation. The registered owner at that time may "nominate" the actual driver and the citation can be re-issued to you. The citation will not be dismissed simply because it was issued to a business or public agency. Most rental car agencies simply pay the citation and then charge the fine back to the person to whom the car was rented at the time the violation occurred. They frequently add an additional service fee.

If you were driving someone else's vehicle and believe you may have received a photo enforcement citation, you can call the Boulder Municipal Court at 303-441-1810 and ask if there is a citation for the license plate number of the vehicle you were driving for the relevant date and/or location.

If the citation is located, you can pay the citation and avoid additional fees or charges. Once the citation is paid, the case is closed. Alternatively, you can acknowledge that you were the driver of the vehicle and set the case for trial.

No. Photo enforcement violations are zero point Traffic Infractions that are not reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

It will not affect your driving record in any way. Since these violations are not reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, your insurance company is not aware of them.

No. The beam on these units is very narrow and so could not have picked up a nearby vehicle. Also, if two vehicles happen to fall within the beam at the same time, it will not be able to detect the speed for either vehicle.

Automated vehicle identification systems ("photo enforcement") are authorized by both the State of Colorado (C.R.S. §42-4-110.5) and the City of Boulder (Boulder Revised Code section 7-4-74). Both laws have been upheld against constitutional challenges. Further, Boulder's photo enforcement program has always been operated in compliance with state law.

Yes. The Boulder Municipal Court has conducted extensive evidentiary hearings and determined that red-light camera technology is scientifically reliable and legally admissible in Boulder Municipal Court cases.