JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Cyclists are getting blasted with clouds of diesel smoke in Jefferson County, despite the fact that the practice known as “rolling coal” is illegal in Colorado.

(credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said there were two incidents reported recently: one was a cyclist driving an E Trike with his passenger who has ALS on the Red Rocks Challenge Ride and the other was a cyclist commuting to work down 38th Avenue in Wheat Ridge.

“Getting choked out by a blast of black soot isn’t very fun… and sadly, living in Fort Collins, this is a somewhat regular occurrence,” police quoted one victim as saying.

“The dangers associated with rolling coal are not benign,” the sheriff’s office stated on Facebook. “Besides the diesel soot cloud being considered carcinogenic and a possible crisis trigger to asthmatics and others with respiratory disorders, the dark cloud could completely obscure a cyclist’s vision of the road and cause a crash.”

(credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

If you see a driver rolling coal, investigators want you to get as much information about the vehicle as possible — without engaging the driver.

“The driver should be avoided, not making eye contact or giving any indication of disapproval of their driving behavior,” the sheriff’s office warned.

“The cloud of black smoke that comes out is so extensive that not only can’t you see the back of the vehicle doing it, but it obliterates all three or four lanes of traffic,” said Mike Raber of Bike Jeffco.

Now, Raber wears a camera on his helmet.

Investigators say you should try to get the license plate number, location and direction of travel, and a description of the driver. You do not have to have the license plate to file a report.

Rolling coal drivers could face a $100 fine.

Witnesses are asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 303-277-0211 or call the Colorado State Patrol by dialing *277.


Comments (2)
  1. Assault, not just harassment. Should be treated as such by Law Enforcement.

  2. THANK YOU for reporting this!

    I too was blasted by a coal-roller while riding my bike on a narrow road a few years ago:
    I couldn’t see or breathe anything other than thick black smoke for 3-5 seconds.
    That’s bad enough when you’re sitting at a sidewalk cafe, but life-threatening while on a bike!

    I know #MeToo is already being used for other forms of harassment, but we need to start an all-out campaign of enforcement, shaming, and any other means possible to rid our state (our country, our planet) of this terrorist behavior. That may sound extreme to some … but the sooner we stop people from rolling coal, the less likely it’ll cause injuries or deaths … !

    Thanks again . . . PvH

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