Cycling: Should Denver consider a yield-stop law?
Granted, there's no guarantee Denver officials would be receptive to such a change. As evidence, consider our June 2012 post about former Denver City Councilman Doug Linkhart being involved in an accident on Bike to Work Day. Linkhart needed several stitches to address his injuries.
The mishap was a subject of conversation at a subsequent council retreat, with councilwoman Susan Shepherd telling Mayor Michael Hancock, "I'm particularly disturbed by the fact that...Doug Linkhart was hit on the way down to meet us today. And that is just appalling to me.... If we really want to focus on multi-modal, which is one of my top priorities, it's got to be safe. We've got to pursue everything, including educating drivers."
In response, reported our Sam Levin, other council members suggested that cyclists need to be educated, too, since they often run through stop signs.
"And you can get a ticket for that and should get a ticket for that," Hancock chimed in. "It's about the safety of you and the motorist."
Mayor Michael Hancock at a June Denver City Council retreat.
As for Linkhart, he favors "the kind of regulation where cyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs" -- which, as Levin noted, "is how a lot of bikers...treat those signs."
Even if Denver doesn't enact its own stop-yield law, such a measure might be applied more broadly. McCann has heard rumors that various legislators are looking into proposing such a bill for the entire state over the next two or three years. Should one be signed into law, it would eliminate potential problems stemming from a Black Hawk bicycle ban ruling. A week or so back, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned Black Hawk's prohibition, determining that home rule didn't apply in this instance. If this philosophy is extended, McCann thinks it might endanger yield-stop laws passed by specific communities -- but that wouldn't be the case with a state law.
In any event, McCann thinks the time has come for yield-stop laws here and beyond. In his words, "if we're going to get Denver's ridership to 15 percent by 2020 -- if that's the direction we're heading -- then we have to craft legislation that's more suited to cyclists."
More from our Politics archive: "Doug Linkhart, ex-councilman, hit while cycling to Bike To Work Day event."