Colorado town of Black Hawk bans bicycle riding
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Colorado town of Black Hawk bans bicycle riding

by Jered Gruber at 11:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Advocacy
City cites desire to "promote safety"

It seems like it shouldn't be possible, but a small mountain town in Colorado has "approved an ordinance banning bicycle riding on almost every street." The historic mining city of Black Hawk, population 118, is a gambling hotbed and popular tourist destination in the mountains just outside of Denver.

Bicycle Colorado reports that police "are now issuing a ticket to anyone 'caught riding' through town.'"

Bicycle Colorado recently attended a city council meeting and pressed the matter of the cycling ban, but the council "made it clear that they had no intention of changing their ordinance."

The ban seems a bizarre measure, but one that City Manager Mike Copp said was passed to "promote safety." When Bicycle Colorado pressed the matter and asked if there had been any crashes or problems in the city, "neither the City Manager nor Police Chief could recall any car/bike crashes."

News of the ban is beginning to spread and outrage is the general response. The first question that came to my mind and one that Bicycle Colorado answers was: is the city even allowed to do that?

"The Federal Highways Administration says that public roads should accommodate bicyclists, but they don't withhold funding if their guidance is not followed."

So the real danger here would seem to be the precedent set by this egregious misdirection of the law. Bicycle Colorado is preparing to fight the ban, because "if this ban is not struck down, it opens the door for any other Colorado city to flaunt state stature and ban bicycle access without addressing actual car/bike safety improvements."

For the time being though, the only advice for riders rolling through Black Hawk is to, well, walk.

If you'd like to learn more on the matter or take part in finding a solution, I encourage you to head over to Bicycle Colorado's page on the Black Hawk ban.


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