Essential tips for riding a bike safely in Aspen
Know the rules of the road in this bicycle-friendly town
By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by the Aspen Police Department
In a town as small as Aspen, it’s essential that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists work together on the roads and trails to ensure everyone’s safety.
Summertime road-trippers experiencing Independence Pass put a great deal of stress on Aspen’s roads and parking capacity each year. That’s why riding a bike through town is one of the best — and often quickest — modes of transportation.
“Riding a bike in Aspen is a fabulous way to experience the city,” said Aspen Police Sgt. Rick Magnuson. “You can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells more easily on a bike. Plus, free parking!”
Thanks to Aspen’s many bike lanes and sharrows, which are marked shared lanes, cyclists can ride around safely amongst the cars. And with many miles of dedicated trails and paths, cyclists can often get around without using many public roadways at all.
Magnuson points to some added bonuses of cycling, too: It’s great for releasing exercise-induced endorphins, plus it’s great for the environment by reducing Aspen’s carbon footprint.
Rules of the road
Sharing the roadways with cyclists is a common way of life in Colorado, but if you break some commonly known rules as a cyclists, you risk putting yourself in greater danger. Magnuson said some of the most common laws that cyclists break in Aspen are not stopping at lights and stop signs, riding on sidewalks or pedestrian malls, riding that causes an obstruction to traffic and not using proper lighting at night.
For Highway 82 and side streets that intersect it, cyclists must stop at all stop signs, but stop signs away from Highway 82 are exempt. Cyclists must slow down as they approach all other stop signs, though, and they must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, cars and other cyclists if any are present. This law is commonly known as Stop as Yield – it does not give cyclist the right to ignore stop signs!
Elected officials are in the process of creating a cohesive plan for electric bikes on city and county trails. For more information about the latest updates, visit http://www.ebikesroaringforkvalley.com. For the state of Colorado’s bicycle laws, visit colobikelaw.com.
The December 2020 sabotage of three gas lines that put 3,500 households and businesses in Aspen without heat was partly due to a utility provider’s failure to “adequately secure its gas service lines from unauthorized tampering and damage,” according to allegations made in an insurer’s complaint against Black Hills Energy.