Call

Blog

Law
02

Blog

Tickets Dismissed for “Bike Riding on Sidewalk” in Denver

Bicycle commuters in Denver seem to be disproportionately targeted by the Denver Police for riding on the sidewalk when they are unable to give their side of the story.

The Denver Municipal Code in Section 54-576 prohibits riding on sidewalks with 4 exceptions and none of these applied to either of our cases. While I agree in general that riding on the sidewalk is not usually a good idea and is illegal in Denver, I encourage the law enforcement community to take all reasonable efforts to talk to all the witnesses (including the cyclist) and look at all circumstances before issuing a citation.

I was at the Denver Traffic Court recently representing two bicycle commuters that ended up having their tickets for “Riding on Sidewalks” dismissed. In both scenarios, the cyclists were not given the opportunity to explain what happened. We were able to obtain video from a loading dock that showed that they cyclist was riding in a protected bicycle lane until a car started to ride in his path.

Denver Bicycle Riding on Sidewalk Ticket

My office was able to easily obtain this video. The investigating police officer made no effort to get available video while he was on the crash scene. In addition, the investigating police officer made no effort to talk to the cyclist who was struck by the car. Since there are always two or more sides to a story it makes sense to talk to all parties involved and all witnesses.

In the second case, the bike commuter was riding on the right side of Lowell Blvd. headed South when the car driver accused him of riding his bicycle on the sidewalk. The motorist admitted not seeing the cyclist until she hit him but claimed that he had to be on the sidewalk based on where he ended up after impact. That seems to be the common theme in these cases. Motorists are blaming victims when they do not see them. Cyclists generally ride on the road where it is safe to do so and makes for a better ride. Cyclists, given the chance, take all opportunities to get out of the way of motorists, and it may seem that they veer to the right or towards a sidewalk but that does not automatically mean that they were biking on the sidewalk.

Lauri and I discussed the basic premise of victim blaming in a recent video you can watch here.

Denver Municipal Code Prohibiting Bike Riding on Sidewalks

The Denver Municipal Code in Section 54-576 prohibits riding on sidewalks with 4 exceptions and none of these applied to either of our cases. Here’s the statute:

Sec. 54-576. – Riding on sidewalks.
(a)
Riding bicycles or electrical assisted bicycles upon or along sidewalks, whether on public property or private property opened for use by the general public, shall be unlawful except:
(1)
When the operator or rider thereof is a uniformed city employee or uniformed state employee or uniformed federal employee, which are working as part of their official duties and are riding a bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle or a police officer riding a bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle that is a marked or unmarked official police bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle or while engaged in the discharge of his or her official duties; or
(2)
When the operator or rider of a bicycle thereof is engaged in the delivery of newspapers;
(3)
Where the sidewalk is part of a designated bicycle route; or
(4)
When the operator or rider thereof is preparing to dismount and park the bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle at a location on the block on which the bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle is being operated, or the operator has just mounted and has not yet crossed a street or alley.
(b)
Bicyclists shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on the sidewalk.
(c)
Riding electrical assisted bicycles upon or along sidewalks shall be unlawful, except as provided for in this section above.

Comments

Is It Illegal to Ride Your Bike on the Sidewalk bikelaw
Peter Wilborn Aug 01, 2022

The laws dictating whether you can ride your bike on the sidewalk differ depending where you live. Different states have different laws on this matter, and local ordinances also vary. Let’s take a look at the legal framework behind various state laws related to cycling on sidewalks. The laws of sidewalk-riding can be very complicated […]

Read More
Ebike crash
Bruce Hagen Apr 26, 2022

DRIVER ON METH KILLS 17 YEAR OLD BICYCLIST, BARROW COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY REFUSES TO CHARGE DRIVER WITH FELONY.   On August 23, 2020, at approximately 8:40pm, 17-year old Obianuju Osuegbu was on her way home from her summer job working at a grocery store. She had earned enough money that summer to buy herself a […]

Read More
Stop as Yield
Brian Weiss Apr 25, 2022

Finally, “Stop As Yield” (the much sought after common sense traffic law for bicyclists) is coming to Colorado in 2022, likely July 1st.   Stop as Yield, aka the “Safety Stop” After the Governor Polis signs the law and the Safety Stop becomes effective, anyone who rides a bicycle or scooter on public roads will […]

Read More
Contributory Negligence
Ann Groninger Apr 25, 2022

It took losing at trial and a long appellate process, but it ended in a blow to contributory negligence in North Carolina. We just won an appeal on a bicycle crash case that happened in 2016 and came to us in 2018. The case went to trial during the spring of 2021. Our client was […]

Read More
Bike accident on sidewalk
Ann Groninger Mar 03, 2022

At Bike Law North Carolina, we’ve seen our share of collisions between bicyclists and motorists at sidewalk intersections. Two recent cases, one which we tried and lost and the other, which settled favorably to our client, highlight the challenges, especially in North Carolina and other pure contributory negligence states (Alabama, Virginia and Maryland).   The […]

Read More
WALLER CRASH
Rachael Maney Nov 08, 2021

WALLER 6 UPDATE: November 20, 2021 The teenage son of Jason and Jennifer Arnold, who, with their permission, was operating his parents’ F-250 diesel truck when he plowed into our 6 clients while they were riding their bicycles on September 25th, 2021 in Waller, Texas, was released to his parents on Thursday afternoon (11/18/21) after […]

Read More
Atlanta Bike Crash
Peter Wilborn Oct 25, 2021

Many of you have heard about the horrific multi-victim crash from October 7, 2021, in which a Chattanooga driver brutally plowed her car into a group of 5 pedestrians as they were crossing a street, causing catastrophic and life changing injuries. In the chaotic aftermath of running a red light and almost killing an entire […]

Read More
Waller Bike Crash Carnage
Rachael Maney Oct 02, 2021

PRESS RELEASE FROM BIKE LAW’S NATIONAL DIRECTOR RACHAEL MANEY In light of the recent Waller Bike Crash in Texas, and in an effort to help untangle and unpack some of the emotionally-charged comments, questions, and inaccurate assumptions being made, we want to update you on the parts that we can share. I hope that this […]

Read More
Brother James
Peter Wilborn Sep 29, 2021

23 years ago today, the world lost my brother Jim. He was killed on his bike by an under-aged driver who blew through a red light. While the years don’t really blunt the loss, they foster gratitude for the gifts left behind. My brother blessed me with so much, but 3 things stand out:   […]

Read More
Load More