Safety Tips

Safety Tips

Bicycling on Colorado's Roads

Bicyclists have all the rights and duties applicable to the drivers of any other vehicle and can be penalized for violating traffic laws.

  • Ride on the right, never ride against traffic
  • Ride in the right lane, except when passing another vehicle, preparing for a left turn or avoiding hazards
  • Ride on paved shoulders and bike lanes when present and free of hazards
  • Ride no more than two abreast, returning to single-file if riding two abreast would impede the flow of traffic
  • On curving canyon roads without bike lanes or shoulders, play it safe and ride single file
  • Obey traffic laws, signs, and signals
  • Use hand signals to indicate left or right turns, slowing or stopping
  • A headlight, side reflectors, and rear taillight or reflector are mandatory when riding at night. Though not legally required, the use of flashing LED front and rear lights when riding during the day can be an effective way to increase your visibility to other road users.
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Never assume motorists see you or that you have the right-of-way
  • We recommend wearing a helmet, gloves and glasses as passive safety equipment. The law in Colorado does not require the use of a helmet, but helmet use has been shown to prevent or mitigate head injuries.
  • Expect the unexpected; your first responsibility is to be safe

Multi-Use Trails

While Colorado has no statewide statues regulating multi-use trails, here is a list of suggested practices. Please be sure to obey any local regulations when using a multi-use trail.

  • Please use common sense and courtesy on the trail
  • Always ride, walk, and skate on the right side of the trail
  • Obey traffic control signs and markings on trail
  • Pass on the left, when the trail is clear of traffic
  • Give audible warning before overtaking other trail users
    • Ring your bike bell
    • Loudly and clearly call out "Passing"
  • Listen up! Headphones prevent you from hearing warnings
  • Use hand signals to indicate turns and stops
  • Do not stop on the trail, blocking other users
  • Ride single file so that other user may pass safely
  • Look for traffic before entering trail
  • Watch for the unexpected, especially with kids or dogs
  • Slow down when the trail is crowded, and travel at speeds that are safe and appropriate to trail conditions

IMBA's Rules of the Trail

The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport's access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

Ride On Open Trails Only.

Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

Leave No Trace.

Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trailbed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

Control Your Bicycle!

Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

Always Yield Trail.

Let your fellow trail users know you're coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.

Never Scare Animals.

All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

Plan Ahead.

Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding — and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.