02

Blog

Mesa County Bicycle Alliance

Colorado Enforcement of Safe Passing Law

Recently, I/Brian spoke at the Mesa County Bicycling Alliance Meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado.  At the meeting, I had a chance to talk with Colorado State Patrol (CSP) Captain Matthew Ozanic.  Captain Ozanic was very friendly, down to earth, and also practical about the enforcement of cycling laws in Colorado.   I had some time before the meeting started, so I asked him some questions. I have to tell you that I was really happy with his candid responses about the enforcement of the laws that affect bicyclist in Mesa County and in Summit County, Colorado, where he previously worked for the Colorado State Patrol office in Frisco, Colorado.  

First, CSP Captain Ozanic told me to simply call him Matt, and after I got to know him, I took a picture of him with my son Ben.  As a bicycle accident lawyer, I knew that Colorado law prohibits riding a bicycle when you are intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. My question to Matt was, how often is this enforced and what was his experience.  Matt told me that he has observed people riding a bicycle while intoxicated by alcohol, and he was glad they were not operating a motor vehicle and just made sure they got home safely and did not issue a citation for bicycle while under the influence of alcohol.  The sentiment was that riding a bicycle is less likely to hurt other people so that was responsible and not a major risk to the public safety.

Next, I wanted to ask Matt about his experience enforcing the three (3) foot passing law.  Of course, I get lots of complaints and videos of bike riders getting buzzed by cars less than 1 foot away, and lots of complaints from riders that nothing is done about it.  Several law enforcement officers from Denver and Aurora have told me that the 3 foot passing law is difficult to enforce and they do not address complaints unless there is an actual crash.  

So, it was a breath of fresh air to hear Matt say that he gives out about 20 citations per year to drivers of motor vehicles that violate the 3 foot passing rule when passing a bicyclist even when they do not hit the bike riders.  We also discussed the CSP video of the 3 foot passing rule and showed it to the group.

Thanks to CSP Captain Ozanic, thanks to Matt, for protecting bicyclists on the road.  

Comments

Ghost bike in New Orleans
Charlie Thomas Nov 26, 2019

Recently, I was in a spirited discussion about whether Louisiana needs a law to act as a middle ground between serious criminal charges and petty traffic tickets when a bicyclist is hit or killed. Someone asked whether Louisiana law should hold a driver, who didn’t have the “intent” to hurt someone, criminally accountable. This led […]

Read More
Bike Law Ambassador
Bruce Hagen Nov 18, 2019

Trena, as her friends and family call her, is also Joshua’s mom, she works in accounting, a born and raised Atlantan and perhaps the most enthusiastic daily user of the controversial Atlanta Streetcar.  What was at first just a weight loss goal quickly turned into an unexpected journey of self-discovery, transformation and purpose. Today Trena […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 17, 2019

Today, we at Bike Law join the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (“FEVR”) in commemorating the 2019 World Day of Remembrance, honoring and remembering the many millions of people killed, injured and impacted by traffic crashes, and recognizing that “life is not a car part.”    We ask you to watch and pass along this […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Nov 11, 2019

A federal government agency is making a controversial recommendation to all 50 states that all bicyclists be required to wear helmets.   Mandatory bicycle helmet laws are a terrible idea.  Cycling as a form of recreation and transportation offers a myriad of benefits to the individual and the community as a whole.  An adult or child […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 07, 2019

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, the family of Kathleen (“Kate”) Kirsch placed a ghost bike in her honor near the site of the tragic September 13, 2019 motor vehicle operator versus bicyclist collision that ultimately led to the loss of her life. Ghost bikes are public memorials parked on public ways near fatal crash sites […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Nov 01, 2019

November 1, 2019: Daylight Savings ends this Sunday, November 3rd, and we are counting down to fewer day time hours and the most dangerous time of year to ride a bike in the U.S. With approximately 65% of all crashes occurring in low light conditions, and the number of fatal crashes at a 30 year […]

Read More
Load More