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OK, WHAT is going on in Larimer County?

So this AM I read some chatter from team mates...then I was linked in to other stories of cyclists riding the roads up in Larimer this weekend about frequent pull-overs by Sherrif Department personnel who proceed to question riders on where they are from and why they are riding Larimer County roads. When riders said they were from Boulder (County), citations were threatened but if the riders returned to Boulder, they would be overlooked.

Huh? What century is this? This is not the Wild West where local badges can just lob out a "Y'all just git on outta this here town, y'hear?".

Further, the cyclists were wrongly informed by the Sherrifs about single-file riding (it *is* legal in the correct conditions). The following is the official statement on single file riding:

Colorado Statutes : 42-4-1412
(6)(a) Persons operating bicycles on roadways shall ride single file; except that riding no more than two abreast is permitted in the following circumstances:
(i)When riding two abreast will not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic; or
(ii)When riding on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
(b) Persons riding two abreast shall ride within a single lane.
Your incident and the outcomes (good or bad) may help us reach out to Larimer County and other law enforcement agencies. Please think about if you would be willing to let us use this story in our share the road campaign? You don't have to decide now, but I can give my ideas on how we might be able to use it for education. My guess is that there are other bicyclists out there with similar stories and I would like to collect those too.

Anyways, if you have similar stories, it is advised that you contact Bicycle Colorado for guidance and to ensure the collective voice is heard:

Bicycle Colorado
1525 Market Street, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80202

Reader Comments (15)

It's apparently still the wild west out there. I noticed your Bicycle Colorado link is broken.

May 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter-p

Link fixed! Thanks man!

May 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

I'd have to say it would be a good idea to get an ID on any Sheriff would tells you where to ride your bike and file a harrassment charge. I have a hard time believing this story.

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I can appreciate that (e.g you not believing the story) but indeed all the reports corroborated the same Sherrif's name. I did not think it was right for me in this forum to post that and personally feel that it should be handled by those directly involved in the incident(s) and the Sherrif's department itself along with Bicycle Colorado. I did feel, however, it was worth noting on the blog given the swirl of threads coming in to me about it.

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

The comment line for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office is 970-498-5187. Anyone with comments about any contact with the Sheriff's office should call and share their feedback. Without any facts, the assertion of harrassment is weak at best.

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm a long time member of Bicycle Colorado and my local club and think want the Larimer County Sheriff did is wrong, but we need to clean up our act first. I was just driving back to my house when I saw one of your teammates Greg blow through the red light going north on 75th at Nelson Rd in front of my 40mph Honda Pilot. That's not good odds for the cyclist. Two of three riders stopped the third I'm hoping got pulled over by the Boulder County Sheriff that was follow me. I didn't circle back to find out. The bottom line is we as cyclist have to follow the law if we expect to maintain our rights to the roads.
Ron D

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Cool. Thanks for sharing that number. And there has also been some progress as well on this with the (well receptive) Larimer Sherrif's office. Sherrif Alderden was relayed the story and was shocked and will certainly raise the issue. That said, there have been a number of residential complaints Larimer Sherrifs have been receiving of cyclists all over the road and not being copacetic (even hostile) with drivers. So clearly there's an issue going on but it looks like it is being well managed between cyclists and the Sherrif's Department.

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Ron D, that's huge. Obviously I'll be sending this thread back to the team as we truthfully do constantly re-enforce what the expected 'behavior' is when you are on the road...most especially when you are wearing a sponsor's name on it. So I totally appreciate the feedback. That's weak to hear. Behavior like that weakens any advocacy we strive for, for sure.

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

There are a lot of us (you have to admit) that are pretty cavalier about obeying the rules of the road, I wonder if this contact was just a result of pent-up frustrations.

99% of us are law abiding citizens and follow all the rules; the only problem is that makes us invisible, especially to cops. That remaining 1% are the ones that all the other drivers, especially cops, tend to see.

You know the ones I mean - the ones that don't stop for red lights, ride in dismount zones on campus, etc. It pisses me off because they shine a bad light on all of us.

If a cop stopped you for riding 2-up and you think you were not breaking a law, it should be no different than any other traffic stop - arguing with the cop is always a bad idea. Be polite, take what he gives you, and if you have to you make your case in court.

As for the cop in this case going on about Boulder, well, I would love to know who this guy is and where exactly his beat is. On Saturday, I can rig my camera to my bike head up there (from Boulder), and see what he'd say to me. Maybe if I can catch something good on tape...

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterunlikely

Does 6.b say that on any road, bicycles can ride two abreast so long as they only take one lane, even if there's only one lane for cars?

Is it saying, in a nutshell, that we can ride two abreast and stop traffic wherever there's a road?


Off to go get honked at. :-D

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlaramie

Laramie - You're reading it wrong. And I hope you're not serious about going out "to get honked at" - if so, you're about to be exactly the kind of rider that makes the rest of us look bad.

Read the rule carefully:
6)(a) Ride single file unless (i)it won't impede traffic or (ii)you're on a bike path.

6)(b) When you're 2-up, it has to be just one lane.

(b) does not negate A, it comes after a. When you're the 2-up mentioned in (b) it still has to be a legal 2-up as described in (a).

If you go out and block traffic, expect a ticket. Especially if you go tromping on this particular cop's beat.

Please don't be THAT rider, the one that runs lights or makes it hard for cars on purpose. Even if you can do it without breaking any laws (unlikely), you're making it harder for me to get to school and work every day by planting that image in every driver's mind.

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterunlikely

I ride 1000's of miles a year, and live near carter lake, and I am all for the Sheriff cracking down on those riding more than two abreast or behaving poorly.

It sounds to me like the deputy could have been more tactful, and the gal who wrote this is all butt-hurt because she got busted breaking the law and copping an attitude.

May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Ron said, "The bottom line is we as cyclist have to follow the law if we expect to maintain our rights to the roads."

I disagree Ron. What one cyclists does should not effect my right to the road. Just as rolling through stop signs, accelerating through red lights, parking in bike paths, and speeding by drivers does not effect the rights of drivers to the road.

May 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I agree with you saying that what others do on their bikes doesn't change my rights. The problem is it's not one cyclist running lights, etc. If enough people, make enough people mad enough, those people may go and change the law. I don't think that will happen for a lot of reasons, but if am a sponsor or deciding on a event permit I may decide that cycling on the Front Range isn't worth the hassle.

Just because we ride the right way and follow all the laws doesn't mean the Cops won't hassle us and drivers won't run you over. All the friends I've lost cycling were riding in a legal safe way.


May 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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