DENVER (CBS4) – As Denver continues its efforts to become a more bike-friendly city, there are also laws in place to ensure bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians stay safe. Though many cyclists obey those laws, it’s not difficult to find those who don’t.
From red light runners to wrong way drivers, several bicyclists around the metro area can seem oblivious to the rules of the road.
“You’re the same as a car,” Denver Police Lt. Kevin Edling told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “Think of yourself as a car.”
Some riders may simply not know they’re supposed to follow similar laws as drivers behind the wheel — such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, not riding on sidewalks, and not texting while riding — so the Denver Police Department is cracking down on violators.
“Communication, outreach and education is our primary concern,” Edling said. “If somebody’s involved in an accident, hits a car and they’re the at-fault driver or bicyclist, they’re going to be cited for that.”
More bicyclists are hitting the streets now that summer-like weather is here, including hundreds of people who join the weekly Wednesday Denver Cruiser Ride to multiple bars downtown.
“We are always taking on how do we get these people to stop at red lights, not ride on the sidewalk and be good citizens,” said Brad Evans, organizer of Denver Cruiser Ride. “So we’re trying to be that self-policing, self-responsible group that says, ‘Hey, we’re trying to do the right thing.’”
Denver Cruiser Ride and Denver police work together to ensure adequate resources are available for the larger events, encouraging safe drinking and riding habits. However, the Denver Police Department does not always dedicate additional officers to monitor the group rides.
“We like to not dedicate city resources for what’s supposed to be a fun event,” he said. “But if they do get too out of control, we get complaints and we have to address those complaints.”
While CBS4 interviewed Edling near the District 6 station, several bicyclists were seen running red lights, riding on the sidewalk and disobeying other rules. Edling said it’s a concern city-wide that can lead to serious if not deadly accidents.
“Can we do more with self-initiated actions from a police standpoint enforcing motor vehicles laws to bicycles? Yes, I think we could do a better job,” Edling said. “At the same time, do we want our officers in the downtown Denver metro area, where we’re very busy, tied up on bicycle enforcement? There’s a very important balance that we do.”
That said, Denver officers are keeping a close eye out for rule-breaking riders.
“The majority of the bicycle community is very professional, but there are a few bicyclists that still do not understand that motor vehicle law applies to bicyclists,” Edling said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.