Colorado Safety Stop
In April 2022, Governor Polis signed the Colorado Safety Stop into law. The Safety Stop gives people on bikes and other “low speed conveyances” the legal option to ride slowly through stop signs without stopping first, as long as they are yielding right of way to pedestrians and other road users who have the right-of-way. Bicyclists and users of low-speed conveyances may also proceed at red lights after coming to a complete stop, if there is no oncoming traffic. Bicyclists and low-speed conveyance users can approach intersections at a reasonable speed and choose to apply the Safety Stop or continue to perform a traditional stop at both stop signs and red lights. Only bicyclists ages 15 and over may perform the Safety Stop. Younger riders may do so when they are with a parent or legal guardian.
To learn more about the Colorado Safety Stop, visit CDOT's Safety Stop Pamphlet.
Commuting by Bike
Sharing the Road
One of the most common reasons people do not commute by bike is the perceived danger and fear of riding in traffic. By following the suggestions below, you will minimize your risks and learn that it is not as hard or scary as it seems.
- Ride on the right with the flow of traffic. Never ride against traffic on the road, in a bike lane, or on a sidewalk. You do not have to hug the curb or the edge of the road, but leave enough room for motorists to get around you safely.
- Use hand signals to show your intentions and ride in a predictable fashion. Hand signals tell motorists what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, courtesy and self-protection.
- Obey traffic laws. Bicyclists are considered vehicles on the road.
- Take the lane when appropriate. A bicyclist may ride in the lane if the lane is not wide enough for both a car and bike to safely share, moving at the same speed of traffic, preparing for a left turn or taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards or road conditions.
- Be a defensive bike 'driver.' Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Make eye contact with drivers and be sure to get their attention. Be prepared to react.
- Ride single file. Play it safe by providing more room for other bicyclists and motorist to pass within the three-foot clearance rule. You can ride two abreast if you are not impeding the normal flow of traffic, or if you are on a road or trail exclusive to bicycles.
- Ride in a straight line. Be predictable and consistent. Do not weave in and out of parked cars. If possible, ride about a car door's width from parked cars.
- Choose the best way to turn left. Like a motorist: Look over your shoulder, signal and move into the left lane. Like a pedestrian: Go to the far side of the intersection and use the crosswalk.
- Avoid or go slow on sidewalks. You are allowed to ride your bike on a sidewalk UNLESS it is prohibited. Please note that it is prohibited to ride your bike on the sidewalk in Durango's Downtown Business District.
E-bikes in Durango
Navigating the Green Bike Features in Durango
The Colorado Department of Transportation, in coordination with the City of Durango's Multimodal Division, has incorporated new safety features for cyclists as part of its US 160/US 550 Continuous Flow Intersection project (which includes many cycling, pedestrian and vehicle safety features through 9th Street).
Colored Bike Lane
Motorists are expected to yield right of way to bicyclists at these locations. The dashed colored bike lanes are placed at areas of potential conflict, such as the start of right-turn lanes, right turns at signalized intersections from a through lane, and where right turns cross a bike lane. Motorists and cyclists should travel with added caution through the dashed areas.
A bike box is a designated area at the head of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that provides bicyclists with a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase. Bicyclists will have better left-turn positioning at intersections during the red signal phase and within the box, bicyclists are grouped together so they can clear an intersection quickly, minimizing the impediment to motorized traffic. As shown, motorists are instructed to WAIT HERE in advance of the bike box.
2-Stage Bike Box
Two-stage turn queue boxes offer bicyclists a safe way make left turns at multi-lane signalized intersections from a right side bike lane. The two-stage boxes also improve safety by separating turning bicyclists from through bicyclists (note the box is positioned adjacent to the through bike lane).
Both types of Bike Boxes have multi-radar cyclist detection that turns the signal green for cyclists regardless of waiting motorized traffic. The same traffic detector is also used to turn the light green for motorists waiting in their respective lanes.
Sharing the Path
Off-road riding is often done on a shared-use path. Shared-use paths are used by bicyclists of all ages, abilities, walkers, strollers, joggers, runners, rollerbladers and for organized events. Even though shared-use paths tend to feel safe, because they are off-road and wider, many incidents may occur due to the crowding and users travelling at different speeds. While riding on an off-road trail here are some basic rules to follow:
- Obey the 10 mph speed limit.
- Stay to the right except when passing.
- Travel at a reasonable speed in a consistent and predictable manner.
- Always look ahead and behind before passing.
- Pass slower traffic on the left; yield to oncoming traffic when passing.
- Give a clear warning signal before passing (ring a bell and say "on your left").
- Move off the trail when stopped to allow others room to pass.
- When riding on trails at dusk and dawn, use a strong white headlight and a red taillight, or red rear reflectors.
- Yield to other users when entering and crossing the trail.
- Stop for traffic where the trail crosses a roadway.
Bike Maintenance Tips
You love your bicycle and want to see it live a long, adventurous life! Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure that this happens. Maintenance isn't just one tune-up a year. You should inspect your bike every time you take it out for a ride. Listed below are a few quick checks to perform before heading out. (You can also refer to the League of American Bicyclists bike maintenance page.)
Inflate tires to the rate pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire. Use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure. Look for any damage to the tire such as cuts, bulges, or tears. Remove small bits of glass, nails, etc. Replace the tire if it is damaged.
Check your brake pads for wear. Many new bikes have ridged brake pads that should be replaced when the ridges are entirely worn down. Check that your brake pad adjustments hit the rim and don't rub against the tire or dive into the spokes. Check that your hand brakes travel at least 1 inch between the bar and lever when applied.
Cranks and Chain
Your crank bolts should be tight. Check your chain for signs of wear. Grease your chain. With your bike upside down, take hold of your chain with a cloth. Then pedal and run the cloth lightly over the chain to remove dirt. Keep pedaling and apply a thin layer of chain grease. Excess grease will attract more dirt. If your chain skips on your cassette you might need an adjustment.
Your hubs should be tight in the frame and the quick release should engage at 90 degrees. Your hub quick release should point back to insure that nothing catches on it. Inspect your brake quick releases to insure that they have been re-engaged if you have removed your wheel.
Take It Out For a Ride
Check to make sure the brakes and gears are working properly. If your bike won't stay in gear or can't shift to a low or high gear, get it checked out. Inspect your bike for any loose or broken parts, replace or fix them. You might even try picking your bike up and shaking it to see if anything sounds loose.
Winter Bike Care
- Rims- When wet, brake pads grip aluminum rims better than they do steel.
- Tires- Fat tires have better traction. Tires less than 1 1/4 inch wide work better on wet streets when under-inflated. Use tires with a deep tread pattern.
- Salt Damage- With lots of winter riding, occasionally wipe your frame, rims, spokes, and derailleurs, and lube your chain.
- Fenders- Invest in fenders because they are your best bet to keep you nice and dry on wet pavement.
- Bearing Damage- After biking in wet weather, put your bike indoors so bearings can dry.
- Brakes- Grime builds up on brake pads, making them squeak or scratch your rims. Run a rag between each pad and the rim, like shining a shoe. Occasionally remove the wheel and check pads for wear.
Note: If the bike vocabulary used here leaves you scratching your head, just visit one of the many qualified local bike shops here in Durango. They'll be happy to show you the ropes and get you rolling!
Benefits of Commuting by Bike
|Type of Benefit||Benefits||5 Miles||10 Miles|
|Environmental||Carbon emissions saved||4.85 pounds||9.70 pounds|
|Cost for one new parking space||$2,200.00||$2,200.00|
|Fuel saved in a year||53.8 gallons||107.6 gallons|
|Health||Average gym membership savings (annual)||$828.00||$828.00|
|Commuter miles biked in a year||1,345 miles||2,690 miles|
|Economic||Average $4.00 parking savings (annual)||$1,076.00||$1,076.00|
|Average $18.00 parking savings (annual)||$4,842.00||$4,842.00|
|Average car insurance savings (annual)||$819.00||$819.00|
|Average car maintenance savings (annual)||$662.00||$662.00|
|Average gas savings (annual)||$134.50||$269.00|
|Average public transit savings (annual)||$941.50||$941.50|
Bike Parking Corrals
In an effort to improve pedestrian access in the Central Business District and in response to demand from local businesses along Main Avenue, the City of Durango deploys on-street bike parking corrals in the summer months. This program is coordinated with the bump-out program and locations are based on business requests and bump-outs.
Business Bike Parking
Businesses and organizations interested in providing bike parking for their employees or customers, should reference the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals' Essentials of Bike Parking for appropriate bicycle racks and best practices. Additionally, the Rotary Club of Durango Daybreak has a program to help businesses and organizations navigate bicycle parking and offer installations services. To learn more about Durango Daybreak's program, email RotaryRacks@bike-durango.org.
- La Plata County Bike Map (PDF) (hard copies available at the Transit Center and other locations around town)
- Durango Area Public Trails Map
- Parks and Recreation Trail Maps
For more information, please email Multimodal Transit or call (970) 375-4955.