Bicycle Colorado will be staging a rally on the steps of the state capitol this evening to bring attention to the complete ban on cycling in Black Hawk, a small town 45 minutes west of Denver. According to Maggie Thompson of Bicycle Colorado, "Black Hawk is the only community in the country that has enforced a complete ban on bicycling."
Riding your bicycle through the streets of Black Hawk will get you a $68 citation. Black Hawk, a historical mining town in the foothills of the Rockies has a population of only 118 people. For many years, the town was stagnate with few jobs in the historical mining area. However, with the passage of a new gambling law in 1991, five mountain towns were allowed to develop small scale casinos.
In 2008, voters in Colorado passed a citizens initiative entitled Amendment 50, which extended hours, approved additional games and increased the bet limit. This has now allowed for further expansion of parking areas, hotels, and casinos.
This amendment provided the incentive for the expansion of casinos in this small mountain town. The town now has 20 casinos which works out to one casino for every six town residents.
Now what does that have to do with cyclists? Well in a way it is similar to a recent Santa Clara County Ordinance ("Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors sends ordinance back for modification") on special events where the intent is to restrict cyclists on local roadways by overriding state vehicle codes. Colorado allows for municipalities to follow the "home rule" structure which allows for self-governance under the Colorado Constitution. So the town's Aldermen have decided to make cycling illegal, allowing tour buses and RV unchallenged access to the roadways.
The Adventure Cycling Association has issued a alert along their "Great Parks South" route suggesting that cyclists walk their loaded touring bike through town or avoid the town completely.
According to Bette Cottrell of the Black Hawk's Public Works Department, the town is expecting 50 to 70 thousand people in town for the 4th of July weekend, for gaming and fireworks. With that many people in town a bicycle will definitely be the quickest way to get around town.
Photo credit:Kevin Oliver via Flickr.com