Colorado Supreme Court Overturns Black Hawk, CO Bike Ban


February 4, Denver, CO — Colorado’s Supreme Court overturned Black Hawk, Colorado’s ban on bicycles today. Colorado law requires that if a municipality prohibits cycling on any road, there must be an alternative within 450 feet. Eagle’s ban violated this statute. The court ruled that state law supersedes local ordinance in this case.

The court summary stated the following:

“As a home-rule municipality, Black Hawk may enact traffic regulations that cover the same subject matter as the model traffic code, but it may not promulgate regulations that conflict with state statute. Black Hawk’s ordinance banning bicycles on city streets is in conflict with state statute, section 42-4-109(11), C.R.S. (2012), which requires any municipal bike prohibition to have an available alternate path within 450 feet. Because Black Hawk’s ordinance conflicts with a specific statutory provision in a matter of mixed state and local concern, it is preempted.”

Black Hawk had eliminated the state requirement.

Their ordinance reads,

“(11) The City may, by ordinance, determine and designate, upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, those heavily traveled streets and highways upon which shall be prohibited any bicycle, or animal rider, or animal-drawn conveyance, or other class or kind of nonmotorized traffic that is found to be incompatible with the normal and safe movement of traffic, and, upon such determination, the City shall erect appropriate official signs giving notice thereof; except that with respect to controlled access highways the provisions of Section 42-4- 1010(3), C.R.S., shall apply. When such official signs are so erected, no person shall violate any of the instructions contained thereon.”

They had eliminated the following language of the state model traffic code,

“local authorities may, where suitable bike paths, horseback trails, or other trails have been established on the right-of-way or parallel to it within four hundred fifty feet of the right-of-way of heavily traveled streets.”

The ordinance had in effect banned cyclists from passing through Black Hawk, but not bicycling that originated within Black Hawk.

The court overturned the rulings of the trial and appeals court.

The complete ruling is available here:

Black Hawk code can be found here:

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  1. The way I see it, under our current Utah side-path law, except for urban interstates/separated highways that bicycles can not be prohibited unless they are “directed to” the side-path if one exists.

    So IMHO the banning of bikes on the underpass at 4500 S / RR would be illegal under the same reasoning (I know this is not binding since in CO, but still some sort of precedent none the less) since it just “bans” bikes without direction and the “alternative path” is actually a road, not side path.


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