Adventures in life and photography out West

Archive for August 2, 2012

Your bike and the law

I received an email this morning about riding one of my favorite stretches; Hwy. 7 south of Estes Park. It’s a notoriously narrow stretch of highway, especially before the Wind River Pass just above Aspen Lodge. It’s not unusual to see cyclists on this stretch. It’s also not unusual for cyclists to get buzzed by motorists along this stretch. So, let’s review the law.
Cyclists are covered under the state statutes covering “Human-powered vehicles.” Before I get started, let me say, cyclists need to pay attention, as well. Cyclists are regarded as the same as motor vehicles. We are required to obey all traffic laws as when we drive. No blowing through stop signs, no blowing through red lights. When we come to a red light, we should take our spot in line. Don’t pass all the traffic on the right to get up to the light. It’s against the law, it’s dangerous and it makes the rest of us law-abiding riders look bad.

According to state statute 42-4-1412, we as cyclists can ride as far to the right as we deem safe. We can move to the left if A) we are preparing to turn left, B) we are overtaking a vehicle, or C) Taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards or road conditions.

We don’t have to be all the way right if there is a dedicated right-hand turn lane and we don’t plan to turn right. In that case we can be on the far left side of that turn lane.

We are not expected, or required, to ride over or through hazards at the edge of the road, including but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bikes, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or narrow lanes or ride without a reasonable safety margin on the right-hand side of the road.

All this also applies to the far left if traveling on a one-way street with more than one marked lane.

We may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of the road set aside just for cyclists. If we do ride two abreast, we may not impede the normal flow of traffic and on a laned road, may only take up one lane.

We are expected to signal our turns. I know, drivers don’t on a regular basis, but we are in charge of our selves, not them. When push come to shove, the cyclist will lose if we don’t let the cars know what we are doing. It doesn’t matter if we are in the right-of-way. When it comes to an argument between a cyclist and several thousand pounds of steel, the cyclist will surely lose.

Now the part that my morning emailer was concerned with is in state statute 42-4-100, section 1, paragraph b) “The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall allow the cyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver’s vehicle, including mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.

That’s it. Look it up if you’d like, either in the state driving statutes or at

Now for more fun matters: Shimano has announced an 11-speed top-end groupo. The 2013 Dura Ace will be 11-speed and come in a wide-ranging 11-28 cog set to cover most riding conditions. The cranks are reported to be stiff enough that they will have only a four-arm spider. The real fun in this is that no matter what chain ring combination you wish to run, the spider will be 110 mm. This also means, if you have the cash, you can buy the first set in whateve size you want. I will go with 53-39, for example. If I want to head up Independence Pass or Mount Evans, I can slap on the 50-34 compact set for better climbing. Both sets fit the same spider. This will come in both the traditional mechanical group and the new Di2 electronic group. I’ve ridden the 10-speed version and it’s a pleasure. In theory, an 11-speed cog would make it even smoother, as ther would be less drastic spacing between gears.

Don’t expect either version to be cheap. Expect it to come in around $4,000 for the electronic version, possibly just under $3,000 for the mechanical group.

Not to be outdone, Campagnolo has announced that their more affordable Athena group, which is already 11-speed, will be available in electronic form this fall. All indications are that it is butter-smooth and about the same weight as the comparable Shimano Di2. The venerable Italian manufacturer has not released a price but have said they want it to be competitive with Shimano’s Ultegra electronic group, about $1,400.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding . . . and saving my pennies.