Police officers are urging cyclists to follow the law | SummitDaily.com

Police officers are urging cyclists to follow the law

SILVERTHORNE – When it’s biker versus car, the biker always loses, and a Silverthorne police officer has already seen two too many close encounters for this early in the summer.

The point of this narrative: The law, for those who didn’t know, says bicyclists must dismount and walk the bike across intersections. This is especially important where bike paths cross side streets that feed major thoroughfares, said Silverthorne Officer Jennifer DeMatoff.

DeMatoff has responded to two accidents in the past month in which bikers crossed in front of cars that were attempting to pull out onto Blue River Parkway. The bike path in Silverthorne runs parallel to the road on the west side. Drivers attempting to turn south on the parkway are looking left and don’t always see bicycles approaching from the right. In one instance, a motorist toppled an elderly couple on a tandem bicycle. In the other, a woman hit a child on his bike.

The law, Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1412, says in paragraph 10(d): “A person riding a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk shall dismount before entering any roadway and, when crossing any such roadway, shall observe all the rules and regulations applicable to pedestrians.”

“It might surprise people, but the elderly couple could have been charged according to the law,” said DeMatoff, noting that the offense is a class 2 misdemeanor. “I’d rather it not go to that. My concern is that someone is going to get seriously hurt.”

Other police departments around the county contacted Friday said officers haven’t filed any reports of similar accidents, but officers do see dangerous behavior.

Frisco Police Officer Glenn Johnson said that bikers need to remember they must follow the same rules as cars when riding in the roadway. Cyclists must signal for turns, yield to pedestrians and – as Silverthorne and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office enforced it last summer – refrain from operating their conveyances under the influence of alcohol.

“With the number of stop signs we have on Main Street, I’ve seen plenty of bicyclists go through stop signs, passing cars on the right,” Johnson said. “Not passing on the right is important for safety reasons. Bikes are a lot smaller than cars and bike riders get hurt worse than drivers do.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.

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