Play It Safe: These are the Laws on Hitchhiking in Colorado
A common sighting along Colorado roads and highways? Folks looking for a ride.
They say ignorance of the law isn't an excuse for breaking it, so we've decided to investigate whether it is legal to hitchhike in the state of Colorado.
Hitchhikers, Hitchhikers Everywhere in Colorado
When traveling in Colorado it isn't uncommon to see people on the side of the road with a thumb out looking for a passerby to stop and give them a ride.
People in Colorado hitchhike for a variety of reasons and oftentimes you can find lots of people looking for rides to mountain towns and resorts.
Colorado Carpool Services
There are actually two rideshare programs in Colorado endorsed by the Colorado Department of Transportation that offer a safe alternative to hitchhiking and are easier on your wallet than booking through places like Lyft or Uber.
Treadshare is the first rideshare program and allows you to travel to different Colorado destinations while sharing the cost of a trip and decreasing traffic on the highways.
The second rideshare program is Caravan, which is, "an app that connects Denver riders and drivers with others looking to carpool to high country mountain resorts."
Colorado Laws on Hitchhiking
In order to understand the laws on hitchhiking in Colorado, we turned to the Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42-4-805: Pedestrians walking or traveling in a wheelchair on highways.
The statute states:
No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any private vehicle. For the purposes of this subsection (2), roadway means that portion of the road normally used by moving motor vehicle traffic.
Most hitchhikers know better than to actually stand on the road, so if you're a safe distance away from the roadway then you should be clear.
The statute goes on to say:
No person shall solicit a ride on any highway included in the interstate system, as defined in section 43-2-101 (2), C.R.S., except at an entrance to or exit from such highway or at places specifically designated by the department of transportation; or, in an emergency affecting a vehicle or its operation, a driver or passenger of a disabled vehicle may solicit a ride on any highway.
If you ask the Greeley Police Department, they'll tell you that picking up hitchhikers in Colorado is completely illegal.
However, C.R.S. actually states:
Pedestrians shall only be picked up where there is adequate road space for vehicles to pull off and not endanger and impede the flow of traffic.
Keep in mind that Colorado cities and towns can set their own ordinances, so be sure to look at posted guidelines for your specific location.