Why street sweepers are immune to damage claims from vehicle owners

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Denver street sweeper

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DENVER -- Street sweeping in Denver runs from April through November. Not moving a vehicle can result in a $50 ticket.

Unlike with snow plows and other vehicles that service roadways, there is no recourse against street sweepers in the case of damages.

The Denver city attorney office said the city diligently investigates claims and complaints made by citizens regarding city-owned motor vehicles, but street sweepers are protected under Colorado's Governmental Immunity Act.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled a street sweeper is considered mobile “machinery,” not a motor vehicle.

Leighton Best said he didn’t mind having to pay the ticket he received for parking on the street during posted street sweeping dates.

But Best was surprised to learn there is nothing he can do except have his insurance company address the cost for the repair of his bumper, which he said was dented by a street sweeper.

RTD said “any driver involved in a collision with an RTD vehicle should contact local authorities as they would in any accident and file a police report."

It’s important to know the rules, cooperate with city laws and ordinances, and keep auto insurance current to stay fully protected.


The Denver City Attorney’s Office outlines the procedure on how to file a claim on Denver’s website.

RTD has a customer feedback and complaint page.

For questions about auto insurance coverage, contact the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association.

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