Bicyclists Banned From Riding Through Black Hawk
Help Keep Roads
The Colorado Supreme Court held a hearing on Nov. 8 for oral arguments related to the city of Black Hawk's ban on bicycle riding.
Lawyers for both sides received 30 minutes to present reasons in support of their respective positions.
Attorney Paul Schwartz from Shoemaker Ghiselli + Schwartz presented on behalf of the three people ticketed for riding bicycles in Black Hawk.
The case is now officially "submitted for decision," and the court typically issues rulings between three months to a year.
March 1, 2012-In December, the Colorado Supreme Court announced that it would consider the arguments raised by parties regarding the Black Hawk bike ban. The date of the hearing has not yet been set, but an opening brief was filed with the court on behalf of the three ticketed cyclists. The brief details the cyclists' argument as to why the City of Black Hawk is not following Colorado law by banning bicycling traffic without an providing an alternative route. The City of Black Hawk just recently filed its brief as well. The cyclists have also filed their reply brief. Bicycle Colorado is closely following this case and will keep you updated with the latest information as it becomes available.
Dec. 2011-The Colorado Supreme Court announced that it has agreed to consider the arguments raised by parties regarding the Black Hawk bike ban. According to the Colorado Supreme Court website, the Court grants a hearing on an average of one out of fourteen certiorari petitions. The date of the hearing has not yet been set.
From the Court's documents, they will hear arguments of the following:
We will keep you updated with the latest information as it becomes available.
August 2, 2011-The Black Hawk bike ban case has been presented to the Colorado Supreme Court for consideration by the justices to hear the case following a district court ruling against the three cyclists originally ticketed for riding their bicycles through the town. The Colorado Supreme Court requires that all cases be presented for consideration and review prior to case selection. A decision on whether or not the case will go before the court is expected in the next several months.
To view the full press release, please click here.
To view the Colorado Supreme Court application (1 of 2), please click here.
To view the Colorado Supreme Court application appendix (2 of 2), please click here.
(Please contact us for a high res version of the application documents.)
April 2011-The three
bicyclists who were ticketed last summer for riding in the town of
Black Hawk are now appealing their citations in the Gilpin County
District Court, after Black Hawk's Municipal Judge denied their Motion
to Dismiss the tickets. An appeal brief has been filed by the
defendants' lawyers, Shoemaker Ghiselli + Schwartz LLC. The brief
explains why Black Hawk's bicycle ban contradicts state law and is not a
reasonable exercise of police power. The City of Black Hawk recently filed an answer brief in response to the appeal.
Black Hawk’s Municipal Judge denied bicyclists’ Motion to Dismiss tickets received for riding their bicycles through the town this summer.
Bicycle Colorado thanks Andrew Shoemaker and Paul Schwartz at Shoemaker Ghiselli + Schwartz LLC for their pro-bono representation of the defendants in this case. In addition Brad Tucker at ColoBikeLaw.com, Rudy Verner at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, and Duke law student Gael Hagen also have contributed volunteer resources and expertise.
We also thank the three participating bicyclists, Jamie Webb, Jeff Hermanson, and Mickey Jeronimus, who decided to pursue this matter rather than simply pay the fine. They are currently considering whether to appeal the decision to a higher court to determine whether Black Hawk’s (and its Municipal Court’s) reading of the law is consistent with Colorado state law.
Bicycle Colorado has taken the situation with Black Hawk seriously from the beginning, and we are considering a variety of strategic options based on this most recent ruling.
Things to do:
1.Please sign up for our eNews to stay informed on the issues and be ready to act!
2. Here is one basic reason why Bicycle Colorado exists-countering the threat of bike bans. If you want to see this ban overturned and prevent bans from spreading to other Colorado roads, please add your name to the list of people working to protect bicyclists’ rights.
Wednesday, October 20- Attorneys presented arguments concerning the motion to dismiss the tickets given to bicyclists. The Judge heard from both sides and requested additional briefs to be submitted in ten days.
On Wednesday, August 18, three bicyclists that received tickets for riding their bikes in Black Hawk appeared in court for arraignment and pled not guilty based on an invalid ordinance. This initiates the legal process to determine the validity of the bike ban.
At the hearing, the defense attorneys moved to dismiss the charges and submitted a legal brief arguing that bike ban violates state law and is unconstitutional. Primary among the arguments are that the bike ban ordinance violates state law because it prohibits cycling on the access road connecting Black Hawk to other communities, and that it is unconstitutional because it treats Black Hawk citizens differently from visitors.
The city’s attorney has filed a brief in response. The defendants have now filed their reply brief and a hearing is set for October 20.
Special appreciation goes to Andrew Shoemaker and Paul Schwartz at Shoemaker Ghiselli + Schwartz LLC for their pro-bono representation of the defendants in this case. In addition Brad Tucker at ColoBikeLaw.com, Rudy Verner at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, and Duke law student Gael Hagen also have contributed volunteer resources and expertise.
Rally to End Bike Bans a Success!
Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support for bicycling on all public roads in Colorado at the State Capitol.
National Route Impacted
Our friends at Adventure Cycling have updated their route alert for riders using their Great Parks Route. The Black Hawk Bike Ban severs the route and the nearest detour is over Berthoud Pass.
To all the riders coming to Colorado to ride this route: we are working as fast as we can to lift the ban. Please check back before your trip.
Q: Did Black Hawk leaders talk with any bicyclists before the blanket ban?
A: Bicycle Colorado's Dan Grunig attended the June 9 Black Hawk Board of Aldermen meeting and requested the ban be reconsidered so that the bicycle community may have an opportunity to provide input. Prior to the meeting, City Manager Mike Copp said that no bicyclists or bicycle organizations were consulted in advance of the ban.
The Board did not reconsider the ban during the meeting nor designate a time for bicyclist input. Mayor Spellman concluded that they considered the matter settled.
Q: I read that city leaders said the ban was for safety reasons. Was there a rise in crashes?
A: Black Hawk Police Chief Cole confirmed to Bicycle Colorado that there were no bicycle fatalities that preceded the ban. In fact neither the City Manager nor Police Chief could recall any car/bike crashes. Yet in a media interview, the Manager said that the ban was put in place "...to promote safety."
Q: What safety changes did city leaders try before the ban?
A: Like many Colorado mountain towns, Black Hawk streets are narrow with low speed limits. There is a wide mix of many modes of traffic. We don't know why the Board selected the most extreme option of a blanket bicycle ban before trying any proven traffic calming tools first. Bicycle Colorado has extended an open invitation to the Board to help with road safety alternatives instead of a ban.
Q: If the Black Hawk ban stays, what city will do it next?
A: One of the big reasons Bicycle Colorado is so concerned with this ban is that it sets a very dangerous precedent. If this ban is not struck down, it opens the door for any other Colorado city to flaunt state statute and ban bicycle access without addressing actual car/bike safety improvements.
Q: Our Club plans rides to and through Black Hawk. What can we do?
A: Currently Black Hawk Police are issuing tickets to bicyclist riding in town. You may want to plan a different route or dismount from your bike anytime within city limits. Please make your entire club aware of this website and ask them to pitch in to overturn the ban.
Q: Can Black Hawk leaders ban bikes if they use federal money to build the roads?
A: The Federal Highways Administration says that public roads should accommodate bicyclists but they don't withhold funding if their guidance is not followed. That is why our state and local laws protecting bicyclists are so important. Bicycle advocacy groups across the country are working on a tying future federal Complete Streets requirement to funding.
Q: Why would Black Hawk want to alienate tourists, visitors, and gamblers that ride bikes even if they don't ride while they are in Black Hawk?
A: In this economy we think businesses would want to embrace every potential customer. It doesn't make sense to us either.
Q: My map shows Gregory Street as a state highway. Doesn't Black Hawk need approval from CDOT to make changes to a state highway?
A: Yes, Black Hawk would need approval for changes on a state highway but Gregory Street is no longer a state highway. Bicycle Colorado confirmed with the Colorado Department of Transportation that Gregory Street was previously State Highway 279 but was formally abandoned by CDOT about ten years ago. Since that time Black Hawk adopted it as a local street.
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