Bicycle ban in Colorado town is fought by campaigners

One-horse town, but no bikes if politicians get their way

by Simon_MacMichael   June 11, 2010  

Black Hawk, Colorado (picture credit Matthew trump, Wikimedia Commons).jpg

A small town in Colorado is facing a mounting campaign from bicycle advocacy groups in the state after banning cyclists from most of its streets in a move apparently designed to improve road safety.

The law, which took effect in January this year, includes the only paved street in the historic mining town of Black Hawk – population 118, according to the 2000 U.S.census – which connects the Peak to Peak Highway, popular with local cyclists, with Central City Parkway.

Local cycling campaign group Bicycle Colorado reports that police are now issuing fines to anyone found riding through the town, which in recent years has been revived through the introduction of relaxed gambling laws in the state.

At a council meeting earlier this week, the cyclists’ organisation made a formal request that the ban be lifted, but said that the “council made it clear that they had no intention of changing their ordinance. Now we need the help of the Colorado bicycling community to get their attention,” and it is now looking to enlist the help of cycling groups throughout the state in an effort to get the law overturned.

Bicycle Colorado says that according to City Manager Mike Copp, no cyclists or cycling organisations were consulted prior to the ban, and added that the local police chief, there had been no fatalities of cyclists ahead of it being implemented.
It added that neither the police chief nor the city manager could remember and collisions between cars and bicycles, despite the latter claiming that the law had been enacted “to promote safety.”

The campaign group adds that it had no idea why the town had singled out cyclists to be banned on streets where it says “there is a wide mix of many modes of traffic,” nor why other measures such as traffic calming weren’t considered ahead of a total ban.

It also says that one of the things that concerns it most is that if the ban is not fought successfully and removed, it may create a precedent for other communities in the state to introduce similar legislation.

The organisation is now looking to raise funds to enable it to fight the ban through the courts, and is also providing updates regarding the situation through its Facebook page.

According to the website, the politician behind the move, the town’s mayor, David Spellman, has what might charitably be termed a colourful past. In 2006, he received a conviction for felony assault after pistol-whipping his wife while drunk, and in 2008, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations ruled that he had personally benefited from more than $1 million in state funds designated to preserve the town’s historical character after the town used those funds to buy land from him.

In an episode that appropriately enough seems to come straight out of a Western movie, last year, after being criticised in a local newspaper, he promptly bought the publication and sacked the editor. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he regularly features at the top of lists of Colorado’s most corrupt public officials.


7 user comments

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The mayor sounds like a charmer.


posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
11th June 2010 - 14:06

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utterly bonkers. and how does that spellman guy manage to stay in power??

posted by james-o [178 posts]
11th June 2010 - 16:42

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"Aye can doo what Aye like, aye own this town bwoy!"

posted by Joel [17 posts]
11th June 2010 - 16:56

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Joel wrote:
"Aye can doo what Aye like, aye own this town bwoy!"

Blimey those geordies get everywhere

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
11th June 2010 - 17:05

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boycott blackhawk's picture

posted by boycott blackhawk [1 posts]
11th June 2010 - 18:42

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How does he stay in the position of mayor given his corruption?


posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
12th June 2010 - 13:08

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Sounds like this "charmer" wants to avoid spending money on advertising his neighbourhood by creating controversy!

Offend Cyclists and get world wide recognition !

Unlucky if you live there but who would visit NOW!

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [372 posts]
14th June 2010 - 10:07

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