Cycling safety bill moves through state Legislature |

Cycling safety bill moves through state Legislature

Baumgardner's 2-abreast amendment removed in committee

Brandon Gee

A bill that would add protection for cyclists on Colorado roads continues to move forward in the state Legislature.

— A bill aimed at improving roadway safety for cyclists continues its uphill climb through the state Legislature.

Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, added an amendment to the House version of Senate Bill 148, but a conference committee removed the amendment earlier this week while reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The amendment would have curtailed riders’ ability to ride two abreast on state highways, and it angered cycling groups.

Baumgardner said the amendment was necessary for the safety of all road users, including cyclists. Baumgardner was the only member of the conference committee to vote against the amendment’s removal. He could not be reached Friday when the House voted to send S.B. 148 to a second conference committee that will more comprehensively review the legislation.

“The original conference committee could only look at differences” between the House and Senate versions, Bicycle Colorado Executive Director Dan Grunig said. “The conference committee now has broader power to go beyond just the differences.”

Grunig said he is hopeful the bill – introduced in January – will be passed before the Legislature adjourns in May. Although it has been a long process, Grunig said he is thrilled with the awareness and attention the bill has brought to roadway safety and interaction between motorists and cyclists.

“It’s good. I think we’ll continue to work with everybody to find a compromise that doesn’t compromise anybody’s safety,” Grunig said. “I think we’ll get something done by the end of the session. : This makes some simple changes to our traffic laws that most people already do by common sense, but it may be illegal now.”

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S.B. 148 includes provisions that would:

– Require motorists to give cyclists a 3-foot berth when passing them

– Allow motorists to cross a solid centerline to pass a cyclist

– Allow cyclists to ride on the left side of the road on one-way roads

– Allows cyclists to ride on the left-hand side of a dedicated right-hand turn lane even if they are not turning right

– Make it a Class 2 misdemeanor to throw objects at a cyclist

– Make driving toward a cyclist in a dangerous manner a careless driving offense

Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, previously voted in favor the bill but said he will want to review any changes that result from the conference committee.

“As long as they strike a good compromise, I’m OK with it,” White said.

Ranieri recovering at home

Wayne Ranieri, who was injured in a March 19 bicycle accident near Lake Catamount, has been home from the hospital for about two weeks and is participating in physical therapy, his friend George Danellis said Monday.

“He’s getting after his physical therapy and committed to his recovery over the long-term,” Danellis said. “People have been really supportive.”

Ranieri was struck by a vehicle in the accident on Harrison Trail. The vehicle’s driver was cited for careless driving causing bodily injury. Undersheriff Dave Bustos said the motorist was driving on the wrong side of the road and that Ranieri was unable to avoid the head-on collision.

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