Avoiding Denver Bicycle-to-Car Accidents.
June 22, 2016
Denver is gaining more and more bicyclists as people become more environmentally and health conscious and realize the benefits of bicycling. Denver is ranked in the Silver category of the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle-Friendly status. This means that Denver, as a city, has applied to and met the League's rigorous (silver level) standards for being a bike-friendly city.
This means there are more and more bikes on the streets of Denver – with riders of all ages. And as Denver personal injury attorneys know, it also means there is more potential for car-to-bike accidents.
By Colorado law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, and drivers are supposed to share the road. However, over the last few years, the trend in Colorado bicycle accidents has not been encouraging. The Vail Daily reported earlier this year that, from 2002 to 2012, there was a 44 percent rise in bicycle fatalities. From 2011 to 2012 alone, bike accident fatalities increased by 63 percent.
The best way to avoid car-to-bike accidents is for everyone to be educated on biking rights and laws.
Colorado law sets up a safe passing distance for bikes, saying there must be three feet between any vehicle and the bike(s) they are passing. This means that a motorist must maintain at least three feet between the side of their vehicle facing the bike when passing, to include all mirrors and any other projections from their vehicle.
Biking laws in Colorado also state that it is a class 2 misdemeanor to knowingly project or throw any object or substance at or against a bicyclist or to drive unnecessarily close to, toward or near a bicyclist. If the motorist’s careless driving results in a serious injury or death, then it is considered to be a class 1 misdemeanor.
When it comes to knowing where to ride, Colorado has some of the most specific laws in the nation. The bicyclist gets to determine if the bike lane and/or right-most part of the rode/lane is safe for biking. This means that a biker is not expected to navigate the bike lane or right-most lane if it contains hazards such as debris, fixed or moving objects/vehicles, animals, surface hazards, narrow lanes, etc.
A bicyclist may use a lane other than the right-hand lane or bike lane when they are getting in the left-hand turn lane, overtaking a slower vehicle, or when they need to go around hazards or road conditions that make it unsafe to be in the right lane/bike lane. Additionally, Colorado bicycles are considered to be “vehicles” just as motorized vehicles are, with all of the rights, duties, and responsibilities thereof.
Get Legal Assistance if You Are a Victim of A Car-To-Bike Accident
Please don't wait if you have been hit by a car while riding your bicycle. Contacting an attorney right away is critical to preserving and documenting time-sensitive evidence.
If you or someone you know is injured in a bicycle-to-car accident, contact Mark A. Simon as soon as possible. You can also call in Denver today.