A small casino town in Colorado is cracking the whip when it comes to “pedaling.” Black Hawk, population 100, recently outlawed a popular activity for “health and safety” reasons. And believe it or not, the crackdown isn’t on gambling, drinking or smoking. It’s bicycling… the reason – casinos complain that cyclists get in the way of buses used to bring gamblers in and out of town.
Cyclists may still pass through town, though they are now required to walk their bicycles. The town’s Board of Alderman approved the ordinance banning biking on nearly every street and only paved thoroughfare in town. With casino buses and trucks whizzing by, many of the narrow streets do not have shoulders. According to the City of Black Hawk Ordinances 2009-20 and 2010-3 “bicycles are prohibited within the City on certain streets.” The ordinances are available online. If you plan on bucking Black Hawk’s ban, be prepared to pay a hefty $68 fine as police are already issuing tickets.
Due to an increase in traffic, the city has taken a proactive approach, according to City Manager Mike Copp. The new ordinance, enacted in January, ”is best for its citizens, for its businesses, which in this case are casinos, and its visitors.” According to the Denver Post, Copp said they have received positive feedback and the new law will not be revisited.
Dismount Black Hawk
While casino customers are welcome in Black Hawk, the same can’t be said for bicycle enthusiasts. In fact, some are encouraging a boycott of the town and its local businesses until the ban is lifted. Bumper stickers and t-shirts are being sold as part of the Dismount Black Hawk grassroots effort. All proceeds from the sales of the items will help pay legal expenses to challenge the law.
Rally to End Bike Bans Call to Action
Bicycle Colorado is hosting a Rally to End Bike Bans at the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver to protest the ban. The anti-ban rally takes place Tuesday, June 29th, at 5:30 P.M. on the west steps of the Capitol.
While bicycling not only provides an alternative mode of transportation, cycling is also a healthy way to get in a little exercise, see the sights and breathe a little fresh air. Be sure to follow the Bicyclists and Tourists Boycott Black Hawk Colorado Facebook page.