Bicycle Colorado presented the Black Hawk bike ban case to the Colorado Supreme Court in an effort to ensure freedom to travel on Colorado roads.
In January 2010, the casino town of Black Hawk, CO banned bicycles from the main roads through town because of “safety concerns.” After a trio of cyclists passing through town were ticketed, they took the tickets to the small town city judge with the help of Bicycle Colorado and several attorneys and law students who provided free help for the case. Judge Ronald W. Carlson heard the case and rejected the consitutional arguments, affirming the tickets and fines. The Black Hawk city council, incidentally, hires and fires their city judges.
The cyclists and attorneys have now presented the case to the state Supreme Court. Attorneys Paul Schwartz and Andrew Shoemaker of Shoemaker Ghiselli & Schwartz LLC argue that Black Hawk overstepped its rights as a local authority in ignoring state laws by not providing an alternative access route for bicyclists to follow. The bicycle ban prohibits bicycle travel on most Black Hawk roads and cuts any paved bicycle connection between Central City and the Peak to Peak Highway. The ban also severs a national cycling route, with the nearest detour increasing the distance by approximately 27 miles.
“Bicycling contributes over $1 billion annually in economic revenue to the state of Colorado,” said Dan Grunig, Executive Director of Bicycle Colorado, the statewide cycling advocacy group challenging the ban. “This case has garnered a significant amount of negative media attention and is really a black eye for tourism in our state.”
“With the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge soon being broadcast nationally and around the world—showcasing Colorado as a tourist destination—a ‘no bikes’ sign is not the impression we want to leave with potential visitors,” added Grunig.
The Colorado Supreme Court requires that all cases be presented for consideration and review prior to case selection. A decision on whether or not the case will go before the court is expected in the next several months.
Bicycle Colorado has more background and information on the Black Hawk bike ban here.