42-4-1001. Drive on right side - exceptions.
(1) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:
(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;
(b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; but any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;
(c) Upon a roadway divided into three lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or
(d) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic as indicated by official traffic control devices.
(2) Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(3) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes or except as permitted under subsection (1)(b) of this section. However, this subsection (3) does not prohibit the crossing of the center line in making a left turn into or from an alley, private road, or driveway when such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with, impeding, or endangering other traffic lawfully using the highway.
(4) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.
Source: L. 94: Entire title amended with relocations, p. 2357, 1, effective January 1, 1995.
Editor's note: This section is similar to former 42-4-901 as it existed prior to 1994, and the former 42-4-1001 was relocated to 42-4-1101.
Annotator's note. Since 42-4-1001 is similar to 42-4-901 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.
Driving on the left side of the road is presumptive evidence of negligence. Globe Cereal Mills v. Scrivener, 240 F.2d 330 (10th Cir. 1956).
Driving to the left of center may give rise to a presumption of negligence. Sanchez v. Staats, 34 Colo. App. 243, 526 P.2d 672 (1974), aff'd, 189 Colo. 228, 539 P.2d 1233 (1975).
Violation of a statute or ordinance regulating the use of highways is negligence as a matter of law. Ankeny v. Talbot, 126 Colo. 313, 250 P.2d 1019 (1952).
But the presumption of negligence may be rebutted by evidence showing that the conduct was reasonable under the circumstances. Sanchez v. Staats, 34 Colo. App. 243, 526 P.2d 672 (1974), aff'd, 189 Colo. 228, 539 P.2d 1233 (1975).
Issues of fact. Whether conduct in driving left of the center line was reasonable under the circumstances and, if not, whether that conduct was a proximate cause of the accident are clearly issues of fact which should be left to the jury to determine. Sanchez v. Staats, 34 Colo. App. 243, 526 P.2d 672 (1974), aff'd, 189 Colo. 228, 539 P.2d 1233 (1975).
Last clear chance doctrine applicable. If violation of this section is the proximate cause of an accident, such negligent person cannot recover unless the doctrine of last clear chance is applicable. Ankeny v. Talbot, 126 Colo. 313, 250 P.2d 1019 (1952).
One of the essential conditions to application of the doctrine of last clear chance is that the person relying on the doctrine is unable to extricate himself from a position of peril. Ankeny v. Talbot, 126 Colo. 313, 250 P.2d 1019 (1952).