2021 Colorado Code
Title 42 - Vehicles and Traffic
Article 4 - Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic
Part 10 - Driving - Overtaking - Passing
§ 42-4-1002. Passing Oncoming Vehicles

Universal Citation: CO Code § 42-4-1002 (2021)
  1. Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and, upon roadways having width for not more than one lane of traffic in each direction, each driver shall give to the other at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.
  2. A driver shall not pass a bicyclist moving in the same direction and in the same lane when there is oncoming traffic unless the driver can simultaneously:
    1. Allow oncoming vehicles at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; and
    2. Allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver's vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.
  3. Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.

History. Source: L. 94: Entire title amended with relocations, p. 2358, § 1, effective January 1, 1995. L. 2009: Entire section amended, (SB 09-148), ch. 239, p. 1087, § 1, effective August 5.


Editor's note:

This section is similar to former § 42-4-902 as it existed prior to 1994, and the former § 42-4-1002 was relocated to § 42-4-1102 .

ANNOTATION

Annotator's note. Since § 42-4-1002 is similar to § 42-4-902 as it existed prior to the 1994 amending of title 42 as enacted by SB 94-1, relevant cases construing that provision have been included with the annotations to this section.

This section contemplates two lines of traffic, and a main traveled roadway sufficient in width for their accommodation. The statute by its terms clearly requires the yielding, as nearly as possible, by each of two vehicles approaching each other, of at least one-half of the main traveled portion of the roadway. So far as the statute is explicit, the main traveled portion may be in the center, or on either side of the roadway. One-half of such traveled portion is exacted of each traveler, if it is possible to be given; if not, then as nearly as possible. Parrish v. Smith, 102 Colo. 250 , 78 P.2d 629 ; Parrish v. Smith, 108 Colo. 256 , 115 P.2d 647 (1941).

A situation might arise in which a strict compliance with these statutory requirements would be impossible. The reasonable provisions are indicated for roadways, and of course no fixed application thereof could be made to parts of a road under construction, where changing conditions would not permit orderly travel under established rules. Parrish v. Smith, 102 Colo. 250 , 78 P.2d 629 (1938); Parrish v. Smith, 108 Colo. 256 , 115 P.2d 647 (1941); Orth v. Bauer, 163 Colo. 136 , 429 P.2d 279 (1967).

In a case in which strict compliance with these statutory requirements would be impossible, then the ordinary rules are suspended. An ordinarily prudent traveler with any warning at all, in approaching a place of construction is bound to know that all rules of the road are suspended, and upon entering such an area be prepared — for his own safety and that of others — to submit to, and be governed by, conditions as he finds them. In such circumstances he cannot rely upon written traffic rules. Parrish v. Smith, 102 Colo. 250 , 78 P.2d 629 (1938); Parrish v. Smith, 108 Colo. 256 , 115 P.2d 647 (1941).

Suspension of rules is question for jury. The question as to whether the physical condition of the roadway and its width were sufficient to permit a truck to yield one-half of the roadway to an automobile, as required by this section, is properly submitted to the jury. Parrish v. Smith, 108 Colo. 256 , 115 P.2d 647 (1941).

Violation of section not negligence per se. Violation of this section requiring drivers to yield at least half of the roadway is not negligence per se. Sanchez v. Staats, 34 Colo. App. 243, 526 P.2d 672 (1974), aff'd, 189 Colo. 228 , 539 P.2d 1233 (1975).

The rule that driving on the wrong side of the road is presumptive evidence of negligence, must be applied on a case by case basis and cannot apply to every fact situation. Orth v. Bauer, 163 Colo. 136 , 429 P.2d 279 (1967).


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