Bicycles are considered vehicles under Chapter 54 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code. As such, bicyclists have the same rights and should follow the same rules that apply to motorized vehicles while they are on the road. Bicycles are allowed on almost all Denver streets.
As a vehicle, bicycles must obey all posted signs and traffic signals. Cyclists have the same privileges and duties as other traffic. Not obeying signs and signals can put you in danger.
Watch for cars and establish eye contact with motorists to confirm that you are seen. Many motorists underestimate the speed of bicyclists, or don't see them at all, both of which can result in accidents. Pay particular attention at intersections and around parked cars.
In wet or cold weather, watch road conditions closely and avoid standing water, patches of ice, or obstructions. (See more tips for riding in inclement weather)
Outfit your bicycle with a headlight, rear light, and reflectors. At night, bicycles should be equipped with a front white light visible to 500 feet and a rear red reflector visible when illuminated by headlights to 600 feet. A rear red light is also recommended but not required by law.
Use the Appropriate Lane: On streets with a dedicated bike lane or sharrows, ride within the designated lane until turning or arriving at your destination. Otherwise, ride to the right of traffic. Always signal your movements and intentions, and watch for cars at driveways and near parking lanes.
Turning: Bicycles may use the left-turn lane as a vehicle, waiting for appropriate signals, or they may use crosswalks while walking bikes as a pedestrian. Bicycles may also use designated turn queue boxes for two-stage turns at certain intersections.
When proceeding straight through intersections, bicyclists should avoid using the far right turn-only lane and should move to the left of turning vehicles.
Sidewalks: Bicyclists are prohibited from using sidewalks unless the sidewalk is part of a designated bike route, if they are delivering a paper, or when they are within one block of preparing to mount/ dismount at parking (speed limit 6 MPH). Bicycles must always yield to pedestrians.
Near transit: Be aware that RTD buses may need to move into or cross bike lanes to load and unload passengers. Use care when crossing light rail tracks to be sure bike tires do not get caught or slip in the grooves. Do not ride in light rail lanes.
Protected bikeways: There are three protected bikeways in the downtown Denver area — on 15th Street from Cleveland to Larimer, and on Lawrence and Arapahoe streets from Speer to 24th St. These bikeways include bike turn signals at some intersections, “mixing zones” for safer turning, and special lane markings and signage.
In winter, The City will be experimenting with different snow-clearing strategies along these paths, requiring the use of a smaller vehicle and plow.
Restricted areas: Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall Monday through Friday. Bicycles and bike parking are permitted on the mall on weekends only.
On mixed use trails, pedestrians always have the right-of-way. Yield to pedestrians and pass on the left when it is safe to do so. Where specific sections of trail exist, use the appropriate trail as posted (bikes and skaters on one trail, walkers and runners on the other).
All trail users must keep to the right except when passing or turning left. Move off the trail to the right when stopping.
When posted, cyclists must dismount and walk across roadways or other areas.
Do not disturb or feed wildlife. Keep to well established trails to protect habitat. Do not collect plant or animal material.