School is back in session and Fort Collins is once again flooded with 32,000+ CSU students. Of these, several thousand are new to our city and may be unfamiliar with the bicycling culture and rules of the road here in the Fort. That’s why the CSU Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program (BEEP) puts out a handy bike regulation guide to help make sure everyone’s on the same page.
For the most part, the Safe Cycling booklet simply states many of the rules of the road that are part of the Colorado Revised Statutes (which is the name for Colorado’s traffic law). The booklet spells out that bicyclists are held to many of the same rules of the road as motorists, such as obeying traffic signals and not riding under the influence of intoxicants. It also explains some of the rules that are different than what motorists need to think about, such as not using your bike or skateboard to perform tricks on benches, stairs, etc., and have a light on the front of your bike that’s visible for 500 feet before you and a reflector in back that’s visible from 600 feet.
The booklet also includes definitions, so that readers are clear on what they’re reading, a list of fines, so readers know what it’ll cost if they don’t follow the rules in the booklet, and helpful tips, so that everyone stays safe.
What even the non-CSU-students should know
Even if you’re not a student or staff member at the University, you may still pedal through campus now and again to get from one part of town to another. So it’s a good idea to know what the campus rules are that are different than the rest of the city/state. There’s not many.
Dismount in the dismount zones… when you need to.
CSU has three main dismount zone areas. The largest is through the north-south spine of campus, roughly equivalent to where Sherwood St/Centre Ave would be if they went through campus. The second largest is through the center of Academic Village. And the third is just to the southwest of Moby Arena. (There may also be a dismount zone in the new Laurel Village area, but it’s not on the map in the Safe Cycling guide, which could use a little updating given how much CSU has changed in just the past couple of years.)
Unlike in downtown Fort Collins, where the dismount zone is always in force, the main dismount zone on campus that runs through the spine of the University is OK to bicycle through on Saturdays, Sundays, and during off hours during the week (before 7:30am and after 5pm).
Don’t ride on the sidewalks when there’s a street right there
Here’s a rule that’s quite different than what you’ll find out in the rest of Fort Collins — if there’s a sidewalk that runs right along a street, you’re not allowed to bike on it. If there’s a sidewalk that runs between two buildings and there’s no street around, that’s an entirely different scenario and you’re welcome to ride there.
So stay off the sidewalks that are right next to streets. Those are for pedestrians. … and skateboarders and rollerbladers, who are not allowed to be on the street (because in the eyes of the state, they’re toys, not methods of transportation).
If you have a new student that’s at CSU, you might encourage them to take a quick read through the safety guide.
And for those just pedaling through, enjoy the large expanses of car-free riding. Hopefully we’ll begin to see more and more car-free paradises like this in the future.