Colorado Supreme Court overturns Black Hawk bike ban

You might recall the city of Black Hawk, Colorado, which banned bikes from the state highway that runs through town.

A trio of touring cyclists were ticketed on June 4, 2010 for violating the ordinance. Local and district courts affirmed the citations, so Jamie Webb, Jeffrey Hermanson, and Michaleen Jeronimus took it to the Colorado Supreme Court, which reversed the district court decision by deciding that local law which contradicts state is pre-empted.

From the decision printed by the Colorado Supreme Court this morning:


The supreme court reverses the ruling of the district court, holding that Black Hawk’s ordinance banning bicycles is a matter of mixed state and local concern and conflicts with and is preempted by state law.

Black Hawk may enact traffic regulations that cover the same subject matter as the model traffic code, but it may not promulgate regulations that conflict with state statute. Black Hawk’s ordinance banning bicycles on city streets is in conflict with state statute, section 42-4-109(11), C.R.S. (2012), which requires any municipal bike prohibition to have an available alternate path within 450 feet. Because Black Hawk’s ordinance conflicts with a specific statutory provision in a matter of mixed state and local concern, it is preempted.

The full decision written by Justice Gregory Hobbs is a fascinating read on the court’s view of cycling rights and bicycle history in the state of Colorado and gives some insight into Hobbs’ own (quite favorable) views on cycling.

Bike lawyer Steve Magas in Ohio looks at this Colorado decision in more detail and speculates on how Ohio cyclists might fight similar bike bans in the Buckeye state.

H/T Andy.