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Rules of the Road

Bicycles, vehicles, and pedestrians all use the roads and right of way a little differently, but we all have to share those spaces. It is your responsibility to know the rules, no matter which mode of transportation you choose, and to be courteous to others.


 
 

Ride to the Right in a Straight Line

In sharrows or streets without bicycle facilities, ride in a straight line at least three feet away from the curb to allow room for moving around road hazards. Always stay within a single lane.

Bicyclists may ride two abreast when it does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

Stay Off Sidewalks

Bicyclists are prohibited from using sidewalks except in certain conditions:

 
  • When the sidewalk is part of a designated bike route
  • When you are within one block of preparing to mount/ dismount at parking (speed limit 6 MPH)
  • While delivering newspapers

Always yield to pedestrians.

Use Appropriate Lane

Avoid being in a right turn-only lane if you plan to proceed straight through. Move into the straight through lane early. In narrow lanes or slow traffic, it may be safer to take the whole lane.

 

Turning

For right turns, bicycles may use the far right lane or turning lane. For left turns, bicyclists have three options:

 
  1. As a vehicle: Signal your intentions in advance. Move to the left turn lane, and complete the turn when it is safe.
  2. At bikeway intersections: Wait at the designated turn queue box.
  3. As a pedestrian: Ride to the far crosswalk and walk across.

Bike Bans

Obey all signs prohibiting bicycle riding or parking in designated areas.

 

Night Riding

At night, bicycles should be equipped with a front white light visible to 500 feet and a rear red reflector visible when illuminated by headlights to 600 feet. A rear red light is also recommended but not mandatory by law.

 

One Person Per Bike

Riding double is only permitted when carrying a child in an approved carrier or when riding on a tandem bicycle. Children should always wear a helmet in carriers or on bicycles.

 

Sharing the Road

  • All users: Be courteous and obey all traffic laws, signs and signals.
  • Bicycles: Signal turns and stops ahead of time. 
  • Motorists: Bicycles are legally permitted on almost all Denver roadways and deserve your respect. When passing a cyclist, drivers are required to leave 3 feet of space.

Be Careful at Intersections

The majority of urban bicycle accidents take place at intersections. Bicycles and vehicles should both proceed carefully, make sure you are visible, and signal your intentions.

Watch for Alleys and Driveways

Visibility is often limited near alleys and driveways; always look for vehicle and bicycle traffic when entering or exiting the main roadway.

Use Caution Near Parking Lanes

Bicycles: avoid dodging between parked cars when riding, and be on the lookout for people entering or exiting vehicles, as they can open doors unexpectedly. Ride a car-door width away from parked cars when possible.

Motorists: Always check for traffic before opening vehicle doors, and do not block bike lanes or sidewalks. 

Riding Near Buses and Light Rail

Be aware that RTD buses may need to move into or cross bike lanes to load and unload passengers. Use care when crossing light rail tracks to be sure bike tires do not get caught or slip in the grooves. Do not ride in light rail lanes.