Single-file only law for riding bicycles in Ward

Following is the text of the proposed Bicycle single file ordinance:

ORDINANCE NO. ____
Series 2015

AN ORDINANCE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE TOWN OF WARD AMENDING WARD TOWN LAWS BY ADOPTING PROVISIONS REGARDING THE CREATION OF A “SINGLE-FILE ONLY” LAW FOR RIDING BICYCLES WITHIN THE TOWN OF WARD

WHEREAS, the Town of Ward is authorized by state law, including without limitation C.R.S. § 42-4-111(1)(h) to adopt and enforce regulations for the operation of bicycles as necessary; and

WHEREAS, the Town has determined groupings of bicycles on our roads creates a hazard for vehicles, bicycles, pets and pedestrians; and

WHEREAS, the pending improvements to both Lefthand Canyon and Brainard Lake Road will inevitably increase traffic, both vehicular and bicycle, through the Town; and

WHEREAS, in order to promote the health and safety of Town residents, the Town of Ward has determined to adopt a single-file only law for riding bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds, electric assisted bicycles within the Town boundaries;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE TOWN OF WARD, COLORADO:
Section 1. The Town of Ward hereby establishes a “single file only” ordinance for bicycles within Ward’s jurisdiction. The ordinance shall state:

No person shall drive a motorcycle, moped, electric assisted bicycle or bicycle adjacent to any other such vehicle within the same lane on the roadway, and shall not ride two or more abreast except on paths set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding bicycles or electrical assisted bicycles also shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

Section 2. The town of Ward will install and maintain official signage or other traffic control devices placed upon or at the entrances to the roadways within the Town limits to give notice of this local ordinance and increase awareness.

Section 3. Variances to this ordinance may be granted by permission of the Town Council of the Town of Ward, for purposes of allowing permitted bicycle races to use our thoroughfares, and other purposes as the Town Council deems appropriate

Section 4. Failure to comply with this ordinance shall be subject to a fine.

Please note – state and county law allows 2 riders abreast (though this is even abused by some groups of bicyclists who ride 4 and 5 abreast, as a pack), this ordinance would limit cyclists to single file in the town limits.

Also enforcement would be by Ward marshals. That said – Boulder County has always had the right and the statutory power to enforce ANY traffic code in Ward – this is not something over which we have any control. They’ve always had this right and this ordinance sees no change in that situation.

What this ordinance WOULD do is give us the right to signage that would mitigate at least some of the problem with no enforcement at all – most bicyclists are willing to follow the law if they know it and this law would work in our favor.

In answer to some of the concerns raised:

  • Left Hand Canyon, as far as I can tell, is NOT a bicycle single-file road, marked by single file signs, but even if it is single-file only, that only pertains to the county road, outside of town limits. To make Utica Street a single-file zone, we have to change its designation in town.
  • Enforcement of a single-file ordinance for bicycles would be no different from current enforcement of any other traffic violations in Ward – whatever enforcement we have will be by the local marshals. That said, Boulder County Sheriffs (and State Patrol) have the statutory right to give out tickets in Ward, as they do in any municipality. So don’t run the stop sign with ANY cop car behind you.
  • Most of the fine from ANY ticketed traffic violation goes to the county, since we have chosen not to have a municipal court in Ward. But the point of this ordinance and the signage is not revenue, but safety.
  • And that’s the intent of the signage – to legally inform bicyclists that they must ride single file through town, reducing the chance of dangerous bicycle/car/pedestrian/pet encounters. The presence of the signs alone will likely go a long way to encouraging better bicyclist behavior, even without strict enforcement.
  • Indeed, bicyclists do make up a large portion of the town’s general fund revenue. They also make up a significant portion of the IPFPD’s emergency services calls. Those two things don’t come from the same pot, but packs of bicyclists (especially speeding bicyclists) increase the risk of accident. It’s unlikely that many bicyclists will stop coming to Ward because they have to ride single file and even if a few were willing to give up their addiction to Fred’s in protest, I still don’t see how allowing bicycle packs to endanger us, our children, our animals and our other visitors is a good trade for tax revenue from the few bicyclists who would stop coming and spending their money.

So read the actual ordinance (on the board in the case outside) and make up your minds; it will be voted on at the April election.

 

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