New road signs designed to improve bicyclist safety

BOULDER COUNTY - Drivers and cyclists may notice some new road signs around Boulder County. Officials say they're testing out the signs with the hope of improving safety.

"We selected roads where motorists will be needing to pass cyclists by moving into the oncoming lane of traffic because there's not adequate room to pass in the same lane," said Alex Hyde-Wright, transportation planner for Boulder County.

One sign says "State Law 3 Feet Minimum." It's a reminder that drivers are required to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing. Drivers who don't give that space could be fined.

"You need to leave at least 3 feet between the widest protrusion of your vehicle and the furthest extension of the cyclist. So usually that means either between your mirrors or trailer and the handlebars of the bike," said Hyde-Wright.

A second sign lets drivers know they can cross a single yellow line in order to pass a cyclist safely even if they're not allowed by law to pass another vehicle.

"The laws aren't exactly new but what we've discovered over a lot of conversations and interacting with the public is that there's not universal awareness about the law and so they are intended to be primarily an educational component to educate people about existing state laws relating to how you should pass bicyclists and when its safe to do so," said Hyde-Wright.

They'll be placed on 5 or 6 county roads in between Boulder and Lyons and Hygiene and are expected to remain in place for about a year as part of the pilot program.

"If feedback is positive and they are having the intended effect and increasing awareness of these existing laws, we would look at expanding them to other roads," said Hyde-Wright. "If we're not seeing that sort of response, if the message is coming across as vague or confusing or it's not being helpful then we would look at taking them down."

Driver and cyclists are encouraged to send  those comments to transportation@bouldercounty.org or call 303-441-3900. They can also complete an online survey.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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