Colorado Supreme Court Strikes Down Black Hawk Bike Ban

Cycling advocates won an important victory today in the Colorado Supreme Court, where justices struck down the notorious bike ban in the town of Black Hawk.

Colorado's highest court today struck down the ban on bicycling in the tiny town of Black Hawk. Image: Denver Post

This casino town of just 118 banned cycling altogether in 2010 out of supposed concerns about “safety.” Three cyclists who were ticketed for violating the ban — Jamie Webb, Jeff Hermanson, and Mickey Jeronimus — have since been pursuing the case through the state’s court system. They had pro-bono representation from some local attorneys and the support of Bicycle Colorado.

In 2010, bike lawyer Bob Mionske wrote in Bicycling Magazine that the city was “flagrantly flouting state law.” And the Colorado Supreme Court concurred, saying that cycling is a “mixed state and local concern.” Cycling Utah carried this excerpt from the court transcript:

Black Hawk’s ordinance banning bicycles on city streets is in conflict with state statute, section 42-4-109(11), C.R.S. (2012), which requires any municipal bike prohibition to have an available alternate path within 450 feet.

They added:

[The city] may not promulgate regulations that conflict with state statute.

Moinske wrote back in 2010 that “the right to travel is an ancient right, now recognized as one of our constitutional rights, and the roads are the commons, open to all for travel and other uses.” This court decision helps protect that principle for cyclists across the country.