Recently, Salida Bike Company has answered many questions from cyclists wanting to know what the traffic laws are for riding at night. And what’s with this 3 foot law?
Night and Light Laws:
Be visible! According to Colorado Statute 42-4-204, a bicycle needs to have a “lighted lamp and illuminating devices” between sunset and sunrise, as well as anytime with poor visibility when you “are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1000 feet”. Statute 42-4-221 states the specifics of what makes your bike legal at night:
1. A white front light, not just a reflector, visible from a distance of 500 feet
2. A red reflector visible for 600 feet when in direct light from lower beams of car headlamps
3. Reflective material that is visible from both sides for 600 feet when in direct light from lower beams of car headlamps.
If you don’t like plastic reflectors on your noble steed, then visit SBC and get some DOT-compliant reflective tape that looks good and lasts! While you are there, add a flashing red Knog light for your seatpost. They are inexpensive, inconspicuous and don’t require tools to install.
Colorado’s Three Foot Law
The Three Foot Law simply states that drivers in Colorado must give cyclists three feet of space when passing or to wait behind the cyclist until there is an opportunity to safely pass. Naturally, as cyclists, we are probably more aware of this common sense law than non-cyclist drivers. However, Colorado is one of only 20 states who have a similar law. This law is fairly new, with some states adopting it just this year. In addition, this beautiful place we call home is a popular tourist destination. With all of these factors added up, you can see why there are so many close-encounters with the 4-wheel kind. Below is a link for a video created by the Colorado State Patrol. It’s a good one to pass on to anyone you know who drives in Colorado, including your out-of-state family and friends. The law is intended to help protect us, but we still need to be careful out there!