When careless drivers severely injure pedestrians, bicyclists, police officers and other vulnerable road users, they will no longer drive away from the scene of a crash with a light penalty. Under Senate Bill 19-175, which Gov. Jared Polis signed into law this morning at the Denver Bicycle Cafe, Colorado became the 10th state to enact legislation that defines vulnerable road users and sharpens the punishment for careless drivers who hurt them.
Before it took effect today, drivers could severely injure someone in a crash and receive just a four-point penalty on their license. If the driver had a clean record, they could have caused injuries in three more crashes before having their license revoked under the state’s 12-point system. Now, such an offense is a class-one traffic misdemeanor that could result in a license suspension, paying restitution to the victim and other penalties.
I was at the bill signing event, and my hope is that we can celebrate a similar win next year when (fingers crossed) the Colorado legislature signs into law a distracted driving bill. (We lost this year, but we’ll be back next year!)
Bike Denver and Bicycle Colorado Merge
The other exciting biking news is that Bike Denver and Bicycle Colorado have merged, creating a bigger, more focused advocacy organization for safe biking in our state. I was a Founding Member of Bike Denver and I was at the event on May 13, when the organizations announced their merger.
As Bicycle Colorado Executive Director Pete Piccolo said, “Our ultimate goal as an organization remains unchanged: to make Colorado the undisputed number one state in the nation to ride a bicycle.”
Through The O’Sullivan Law Firm, I will continue to support this organization’s efforts. Not only do I love bicycling myself, I think our state needs to foster a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly culture to reduce the congestion we face with ongoing population growth.