Black Hawk Clowns vs. Andy Kerr

In case you missed it last year (like I did), the city of Black Hawk, Colorado, banned cycling through the city. They just banned it.

No Bikes in Black Hawk, ColoradoCyclists apparently got between Black Hawk’s casinos and motorists. And just like when you come between a mother bear and her cubs, the mother bear picks up a phone and calls city hall.

[W]ith the city's economy based entirely upon the casinos, it doesn't take long to figure out who calls the shots in Black Hawk.

Remarkably, the bicycle ban was enacted despite the fact that not a single crash between a motorist and a cyclist had occurred. Instead, the City Council was concerned about the potential for collisions between motorists and cyclists"”a concern that followed on the heels of a surge in motor vehicle traffic after the city enacted a law raising the maximum betting limit from $5 to $100. With the new higher limits, gamblers flocked to Black Hawk in droves, and suddenly the city's narrow 19th-century streets were clogged with motor vehicles.

Cycling advocates decided to challenge the law. Three cyclists who were issued tickets in Black Hawk went to court and asked to have the tickets dismissed. The judge denied their motion. Festering ensued.

Now we’re caught up on what happened last year.

Yesterday, a reader named Chris left this comment:

Andy Kerr (D) is a reported bike commuter. He is a state representative in Colorado. He's a good guy and he is an avid cyclist and cycling supporter.

I found out that Andy Kerr not only bike commutes to work. It turns out, he is advocating for a legislative solution to the problems created–and the troubling precedent set–by Black Hawk. Kerr is a co-sponsor of “The Open Roads Act” a.k.a. House Bill 1092.

Andy Kerr
Andy Kerr | Screen Shot: KOAA-TV (Sorry, the video wouldn't embed in this page.)

The local news seemed as or more interested in the fact that Kerr decided to lap the capitol building on his bike in crummy weather.

Rep. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) rode around the State Capitol Tuesday as a push for House Bill 1092.

It’s a response to Black Hawk’s decision last year to ban bicycling on city streets. The bill would require communities that ban bicycling to provide a nearby alternate route for bikes.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Update 2/11/11: Kerr’s bill has been sent to the Judiciary Committee–to die.

On Wednesday, HB 1092 was sent to the Judiciary Committee at the request of its chair, Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs. Kerr fought against the request, stating the bill would meet almost certain demise in that committee. Kerr acknowledged the bill needed further work and asked that it go to the Local Government Committee, but in the end the vote was to send it to Judiciary, on a 32-30 vote. Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, voted with the Democrats, but three Democrats were also absent. Kerr grumbled later that the votes from the missing Democrats would have kept his bill alive.

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