Colorado, famous as a centre for cycle sport in the USA, is now also famous for having one of its towns make cycling illegal – to “promote safety”.
This is, Black Hawk, population 100, founded in the 1850s Gold Rush is one of several towns in Gregories Gulch.
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The bizarre law applies to the old part of the town, not the residential streets. It is considered to be the first such law in the US and it has outraged the cycling community.
Anyone caught cycling faces a fine of $68. Since the ban came into effect on June 5 eight people had been fined.
The restricted area is the old quarter of 19th century streets deemed too narrow to accommodate both motor vehicles and cycles. So the bikes have had to go.
Although there are no records of fatalities or bike/motor vehicle collisions, health and safety reasons were cited as a reason for the ban. That and the Board of Aldermen’s perception that visitors heading for the town’s many casinos will be more at risk from cyclists than cars allowed access to this area.
Cyclists’ lobbies are gearing up to challenge the law, which they say is illegal.
“The danger here is the precedent,” Dan Grunig of Bicycle Colorado, an advocacy group, in Guardian Online. “We don’t believe it’s right or legal and we want to make sure it’s addressed before it’s spread any further.”
An outright ban on being able to ride a bicycle through a community is unheard of, according to Charlie Zeeger, director of the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Centre at the University of North Carolina.