According to the Fort Collins Traffic Code, there are three times when a person must dismount their bicycle:
1) If you’re in the dismount zone downtown.
2) If you’re in the dismount zone on campus.
3) If you’re anywhere else in town and there’s a sign indicating that cyclists should dismount. (This only happens very occasionally.)
Crosswalks are not dismount zones in the city of Fort Collins. The only rule you need to know when riding your bicycle through a crosswalk anywhere in town, is that “A person riding a bicycle in a crosswalk shall do so in a manner that is safe for pedestrians.” — from 2106(2)(a) in the Traffic Code.
And of course, any time you’re passing a pedestrian, no matter whether you’re on a trail, on a sidewalk, or in a crosswalk, it’s always a good idea (and it’s in the Traffic Code) to ring your bell or call out before passing. No one likes to be startled by someone zipping past unannounced.
Downtown dismount zone as shown on the Fort Collins bike map (in yellow highlight).
Although downtown has a pretty extensive dismount zone, meaning that you’re not allowed to bike or board on the sidewalk there, it is legal to bicycle along any of the streets (including College Avenue) and in the alleyways.
Dismount zone on the Colorado State University campus.
The dismount zone at CSU is date and time specific. As you can see in the photo in the above slideshow, the dismount zone is only in effect Monday through Friday from 7:30am until 5:00pm.
As is often the case with transportation issues, there’s a certain amount of common sense that’s required. If you decide to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk that happens to be full of people and you end up running someone over or causing mayhem, then you can be ticketed for “reckless and careless riding” under section 2102 of the Traffic Code. So while it’s theoretically legal for you to be riding on the sidewalk in that case, it’s probably not a good idea.
To read the code directly, go to the section on bicycles and look specifically at Part 2106.
So glad you had this post to reference! Now that the weather is nicer, we’ve been going on more family rides. I used to make the kids dismount at crosswalks because I thought it was safer/the law if you were riding as a pedestrian on the sidewalk. I started wondering if it was something I did because they were small and needed safer ways to cross, or if it really was the law, and hopped on the site to find the truth.
Now that they are more confident riders, I’ll start letting them stay on!
Step two is teaching them how to ride safely in the street (both with and without bike lanes). It’s no easy task. My kids still struggle with streets where there are no bike lanes despite me talking them through it for years now.
And if Safe Routes comes to the boys’ school, have them teach you what they learn. It’ll help reinforce the lessons and you might learn something new. 🙂