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Bike Safety

Bike Safety

Cyclists, drivers and pedestrians all play a role in keeping Boulder's crosswalks, paths and streets safe. While encouraging more bicycle and pedestrian traffic, the city wants to ensure that all participants in the community's transportation system - pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers - practice safe travel behavior. For more information, visit the Safe Streets Boulder website.

Bike Safety

Follow the Law
Your safety and the image of cyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs, ride with traffic, and use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

Be Predictable
Make your intentions clear to motorists and other road users. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

Be Conspicuous
Ride where drivers can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a white front light, red rear light and reflectors at night or when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with drivers. Avoid riding on sidewalks. Let pedestrians know you're there when approaching from behind.

Think Ahead
Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes and utility covers. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

Ride Ready
Check that the tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release wheel levers are closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies appropriate for your ride. Always wear a helmet.

Where to Ride

  • Always ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Stay on designated paths and trails.
  • No bikes are allowed on Pearl Street Mall.
  • Elsewhere, bicycling is only permitted on sidewalks in residential and park zones or on sidewalks designated as a multi-use path.
  • Map of areas where bicycling  on sidewalks is allowed pdf.

Common Accidents to Avoid

  • Most collisions between motorists and cyclists occur at crosswalks and intersections.
  • More than 60 percent of these accidents occur because motorists don’t adequately look for cyclists.
  • More than 23 percent of bicycle and vehicle collisions involve right-turning vehicles running into bicyclists who are approaching on a path or sidewalk from the right (the unexpected direction).
  • Accidents involving left-turning vehicles often involve motorists who looked for oncoming traffic but did not see a bicyclist on the right side of the roadway.
  • The more cyclists there are in a community, the more the rate of motorist collisions declines.


  • Collisions between motorists and pedestrians are increasing.
  • More than 36 percent of motorist and pedestrian collisions are due to motorists’ failure to look for a pedestrian when turning right or left at an intersection.
  • Pedestrians suddenly walking out into the street in the middle of a block cause 20 percent of these accidents.


  • Most cyclist and pedestrian collisions happen on off-street paths and are caused by the bicyclist.
  • The collisions are often the results of cyclists riding too fast and/or not giving an audible signal when approaching or passing.

Children on Bikes

  • Collisions may occur when children ride through red lights or stop signs without looking or suddenly ride out from between parked cars.

Laws to Remember

Speed Limits
  • Enter crosswalks at 8 mph or less.
  • Multi-use paths have a 15 mph speed limit for bikes, unless noted otherwise.


  • It's illegal for cyclists to wear headphones or earbuds while biking.
  • When riding after dusk, cyclists are required to equip their bikes with a white light for the front and a red light for the back.

Where to Ride

  • Always ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Stay on designated paths and trails; no bikes are allowed on Pearl Street Mall.


  • Motorists must yield to cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Cyclists must yield to pedestrians.
  • It's more important to avoid an accident than it is to abide by a law or claim some right-of-way.

If You're in an Accident

  • The law requires you to stop immediately, aid any injured person and to properly identify yourself. You are also required to notify the police immediately by calling 9-1-1 in an emergency. In non-emergency situations, please call 303-441-3333.

If You've had a Close Call

  • Fill out the close call form or call the City of Boulder’s Close Call Comment Line at 303-441-4272 and let us know. This helps the city identify potential trouble spots. Remember that the Close Call Line is not a way to report an incident/accident to the police.

Bicycle Safety Act

The Bicycle Safety Act was passed in 2009. In general, it only put into law what was already common sense practices. Visit the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) website to read the specifics.
  • Motorists should give cyclists at least three feet of room when passing.
  • Cyclists should ride single-file if riding abreast would interfere with traffic flow.
  • Cyclists should ride to the right, but that doesn't mean riding through debris or into the curb.

Share the Road

GO Boulder and CDOT are partners in the "Share the Road" campaign. The campaign designed to improve relationships between everyone on the roadways: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Everyone has a responsibility to be courteous and forgiving. When we share the road, we can all travel safer.

3-2-1 Campaign

3 - Motorists give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing.
2 - Cyclists ride abreast only when it is clear and safe to do so.
1 - Ride or walk single-file when bikes or vehicles are attempting to pass.


Safe Streets Boulder

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