Bicycling is a popular recreational activity and an eco-friendly mode of transportation, especially in beautiful Colorado. However, with the increasing number of cyclists and drivers on our roads, bicycle accidents have become a more common occurrence. As a leading personal injury attorney in Colorado, I’ve witnessed firsthand the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of these accidents on victims and their families. This blog post aims to shed light on the vital aspects of bicycle accidents in Colorado, from understanding the common causes to knowing your rights if you’ve been a victim.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
- Distracted Driving: Whether it’s texting, talking, or just not paying attention, distracted drivers are a significant threat to cyclists.
- Dooring: This happens when a parked vehicle’s door is opened without checking for an approaching cyclist.
- Right-of-Way Violations: Drivers often misjudge a cyclist’s speed or simply fail to yield the right of way at intersections.
- Impaired Driving: Drunk or drug-impaired drivers pose a serious risk to everyone on the road, including cyclists.
- Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, debris, and a lack of proper bike lanes can lead to dangerous situations for cyclists.
Colorado Bicycle Laws: Staying Safe and Legal
Understanding Colorado’s bicycle laws is crucial for both cyclists and motorists:
- Helmet Laws: Colorado doesn’t have a statewide helmet law for cyclists over 18. However, many municipalities encourage or require helmets for younger riders.
- Right to the Road: Cyclists in Colorado have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists on the road. Cyclist must obey all traffic signals and yield to pedestrians.
- Sidewalks and Crosswalks: Bicyclists riding on the sidewalk have a duty to do so safely and give an audible signal when overtaking and passing pedestrians. When crossing a crosswalk, they have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians.
Know Your Rights After a Bicycle Accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it’s essential to know your rights:
- Right to Compensation: If the accident was caused due to someone else’s negligence, you are likely entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages.
- Statute of Limitations: In Colorado, if the bike accident resulted from a car crash, you have three years to file a lawsuit. If no automobile was involved, you need to file a lawsuit within two years.
- Comparative Negligence: Colorado follows the comparative negligence rule. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you could still recover damages, reduced by your percentage of fault.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health should be your top priority. Even if you feel fine, it’s essential to get checked, as some injuries may not manifest immediately.
- Document the Scene: If possible, take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damages to your bicycle.
- Gather Witness Information: Collect names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Report the Accident: Notify the police and provide an accurate account of the incident.
- Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected and to guide you through the legal process.
Riding a bicycle in Colorado offers an unparalleled experience, given our state’s scenic beauty and climate. However, as the number of cyclists and drivers increase, so does the potential for accidents. By being well-informed, both cyclists and drivers can contribute to safer roads for everyone.
Remember, if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident due to another’s negligence, you have rights. As a dedicated personal injury attorney in Colorado, I’m here to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Stay safe, and happy cycling!