Ban on Bicycling in Black Hawk, Colorado Impacts Route

June 11, 2010

We are puzzled by some news we read earlier this week on Biking Bis and the U.S. Bicycle Route System Facebook page. Black Hawk, Colorado (pop. 118) has banned bicycles from most roads in their city. This includes roads we direct bicycle travelers to on our Great Parks South (GPS), Section 1.

As of this time, cyclists traveling our Great Parks South route have two options to avoid a $68 ticket for riding through Black Hawk:

  1. Walk your loaded touring bike the 1.5 miles through town (on State Hwy 279/Gregory Street) before remounting your bike for refreshment in either Central City or Rollinsville.
  2. Detour around the area entirely by using the Berthoud Pass Alternate bypassing not only Black Hawk but Rocky Mountain National Park.

In the bigger picture, there are other things you can do to let Black Hawk, a town that prides itself on having a tourism-based economy, know how you feel about its decision. Some of our suggestions are:

As a town that depends on tourism dollars to support its population, we're surprised that powers that be in Black Hawk seem unaware of the Bicycling and Walking in Colorado survey the state Department of Transportation did in 2000. It is very favorable to the idea that making cyclists welcome is a way to impact your economy positively. A more recently released study, The Economic Impact of Bicycling in Wisconsin (pdf), also shows cyclists and tourism in a favorable light.

We'd like to invite Black Hawk to revisit their decision. A good place to start is our web page, Building Bike Tourism, or Bicyclists Bring Business (pdf), a joint publication of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Parks & Trails New York, and the New York State Canal Corporation. They might also want to note the number of communities eager to be a part of U.S. Bicycle Route 20 in Michigan as highlighted in a recent article in The Saginaw News. These local governments see the benefits of tourism dollars created by bicycle travelers and have opened their arms wide to receive them.

GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, an Adventure Cycling cartographer, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.


Ginny Sullivan July 12, 2010, 9:42 PM

Anonymous, the city has jurisdiction of the roads, that's why it's come to this point. If it was a state highway through town, it probably wouldn't have gotten this far. GS

Anonymous July 12, 2010, 4:57 PM

Doesn't Colorado law permit the use of bicycles on public roads as it does the use of automobiles and trucks? If so, how does a city council get to deprive cyclists of their right under state law?

Trevor de Koekkoek June 15, 2010, 1:25 AM

truly astonishing. I can't believe some of the people on that site supporting the ban. I would say they are living in the 19th century, but then they would have liked bikes. I'm just speechless...

Paul Souders June 14, 2010, 8:37 PM


"Dismount Black Hawk" -- Brilliant!

Khal June 14, 2010, 2:24 PM

Good luck to them. Seems there should be more for Black Hawk to gain by finding a suitable work-around than for them to lose through nationwide ignominy.

Jenn, Cartographer June 14, 2010, 2:09 PM


Bicycle Colorado is working on the legal and legislative remedy to the situation:

Khal June 14, 2010, 2:00 PM

The kind of tourism to which BlackHawk caters has little to do with health or bicycling. Picture thousands of people in pickup trucks, cars, and SUVs descending on Black Hawk to watch their paychecks circle the bowl via the One-Armed Bandits and other methods in the gambling halls. That is not a crowd that would probably give a rat's ass about bicycling.

I suspect we will have to use sterner measures than gentle persuasion with Black Hawk. As in "bring on the lawyers." Has anyone spoken to a good lawyer or the Governor? After all, BlackHawk has blocked a state highway.

ben June 14, 2010, 2:22 AM

Don't just boycott, organize rides, dismount n walk thru town! They'll hate it!

ben June 14, 2010, 2:21 AM

This post has been removed by the author.

ReadHeadedCyclist June 11, 2010, 11:12 PM

Email the "Leaders" of this "Great" town EACH AND EVERYDAY!!!,,,

VisitBHCC Bureau ,,,

Jason June 11, 2010, 4:58 PM

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